So Your Company Wants to Adopt VoIP… How Do You Know If Your Network Is Ready to Make the Transition?

Predeployment Network Assessment

So Your Company Wants to Adopt VoIP… How Do You Know If Your Network Is Ready to Make the Transition?

While the cost savings and new applications of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) are rapidly attracting many small to mid-sized companies to this popular communication solution, it may come with a significant price to your network.  Not only must your network carry more traffic, but VoIP traffic demands very high performance and is more sensitive to normal network problems like delays and choppy communication.  Even modest levels of impairment, unnoticed by users of most data applications, will cause significant caller frustration and will not sit well with your customers, business partners, or even your own employees.

Before investing in a large-scale VoIP deployment or even in a small trial, you need to know how well your network infrastructure will handle the additional, quality-sensitive voice traffic.  Many seemingly well-planned trials encounter delay after delay, exceed cost estimates, and are eventually cancelled when the network proves unable to meet the unique requirements VoIP places on it.  However, these business issues can easily be avoided if your telecommunications provider properly assesses your network ahead of time to truly understand the scope and type of work required to ensure a successful transition to VoIP.

Gartner reports that 85% of networks are not ready for VoIP.  What’s even more shocking is that 75% of companies that do not perform a pre-implementation analysis of their network infrastructure will not realize a successful implementation.  These are astonishing statistics because without conducting a network assessment with a quality assessment tool, the potential for wasting time and money is extremely high.  In order to increase the likelihood of a successful VoIP implementation, an evaluation of the network must be properly executed and should include the following four steps.

  1. Pre-Deployment Assessment

The pre-deployment assessment step analyzes the current capabilities of the network, evaluates its ability to support VoIP, identifies potential problems, and determines the requirements needed to handle expected call traffic.  It is strongly recommended that the pre-deployment test is conducted prior to the purchase or installation of any VoIP equipment.  The analysis should include such items as bandwidth, utilization, jitter, throughput and latency.

  1. Post-Deployment Assessment

The purpose of the post-deployment assessment is to gain a complete understanding of VoIP quality and network efficiencies prior to turning it on.  This step determines the level of success and prevents issues with call quality or dropped calls.  Whenever new equipment is introduced to a network the chance for unexpected issues rises; therefore, it is critical that post-deployment assessment is not overlooked.  This assessment should be immediately performed so any changes can be made in a timely manner.

  1. Regular Maintenance Assessment

As you’re probably aware, your network is dynamic and constantly evolves.  New devices such as IP phones, laptops, switches, and routers are added or removed.  Whether it’s a minor change or a major one it will impact your network.  Therefore, it is important to re-evaluate your network regularly to identify any faults so they can be corrected as soon as possible.  Conducting ongoing assessments will help your organization increase quality, optimize system infrastructure, and reduce costs.

  1. Break/Fix Strategy

Unfortunately, unforeseen things may happen to a network that’s not readily identified by your IT department.  The situation may be brought to your company’s attention by a customer, an employee or business partner.  The Yankee Group has reported that some companies’ labor costs grew 30 to 40 percent with VoIP because of dealing with network problems.  Having a network assessment tool in place enables one to take action quickly, diagnose the problem, and resolve it, while minimizing its impact to the system as a whole.

Essentially, these four key steps have illustrated the primary objective and the many benefits of conducting network assessments.  Whether your company is about to take the plunge into VoIP or has already gone down that path, it is critical to deploy a tool that can accurately analyze your network.  Surprisingly, most companies overlook this integral component of the VoIP implementation process and the research clearly shows its negative impact.

As you tap into this relatively new communication solution that’s changing how business gets done, make sure you ask yourself this question.  What is my telecommunications provider doing to create a network environment that enables my company to take full advantage of VoIP? If network assessment is not included in the response then something is definitely wrong.

Security concept: Locks on digital background

Don’t fall prey to these security myths!

As a small business owner, you’re not necessarily worried about data breaches on a day-to-day basis – you’re focused on acquiring new business and keeping the company on its feet. Many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are generally unaware of IT security prevention best practices and easily fall for the common misconception that they have nothing to worry about. However, there are certain myths that can lead these organizations to incorrectly assess the three tenets of cybersecurity:

  1. System Susceptibility – answers the question, “what is the potential risk?”

  2. Threat Accessibility – answers the question, “what is the likelihood that the risk can be exploited?”

  3. Threat Capability – answers the question, “what is the potential impact if the risk is exploited?”

By failing to account for each of these three concerns, you’re endangering the safety of their data and livelihood of your business. Fortunately, you have Prime Telecommunications to help them define and enhance your IT security strategy, as well as navigate the turbulent cybersecurity landscape.

As an MSP,  our mission is to protect our clients with our managed IT services support, education and expertise.

So what are these security myths exactly?

1. Only larger organizations are being targeted.

Why would any hacker want to focus on targeting a small business? This myth originates from the thinking that smaller companies have fewer resources and less money, so they’ll be pushed aside as attackers go after the larger businesses. In fact, as long as a business has a digital idenrally don’t have the resources to fight back. This is why it’s dangerous to assume that cybercriminals will ignore a company simply because of its size. Every business is a potential target, therefore every business needs the proper defenses.

2. I don’t have any important information worth stealing.

It may not always seem like it, but every business has data worth stealing. This could include information about clients, employee records, financial details or more – all of which are useful to cybercriminals in some way. Another Ponemon Institute study sponsored by IBM found that the average cost per lost or stolen rec

Also, it may not be the company’s data that a hacker wants – it could be the computer itself. Any device that can connect to the Internet is an opportunity for hackers, and because of that, automated bots are constantly scouring the Web for vulnerable computers and networks. This proves that it’s not just a matter of protecting a business’ information, but their endpoints as well.

3. Security technology alone will keep me protected.

I’m sure you’ve heard this one many times before: “But I’ve got antivirus, I’m protected!” When businesses rely entirely on a sole security program that’s supposedly bulletproof, they’re placing too much trust in a single line of defense. It’s been found that signature-based antivirus solutions detect on average less than 19 percent of malware threats. While implementing this software is a necessary first step, it clearly isn’t enough, and the best protection is delivered through a multi-layered solution.

Also, it’s important to remember that not all threats are external. Careless employees can fall victim to phishing scams or even bring unsecured devices into the workplace – causing them to pose as much of a threat as cybercriminals. This is why education is a critical component to IT security, and yet another point that illustrates why businesses can’t just rely on software to keep them protected.

Overall, suffering an IT security incident is not a question of if, but when. No matter how extensive a business’ network security is, attackers will get through at some point. The best thing a business can do is to make it as difficult as possible to infiltrate their systems and develop an effective incident plan for responding and recovering after an attack occurs.

Did you know that 79 percent of small businesses do not have an incident response plan? Without one, businesses may never be able to fully recover when a security incident becomes a reality. These types of plans are essential to a robust IT security strategy because they act as specific, step-by-step guides detailing how organizations should respond to a disaster situation or incident. SMBs don’t always have the proper personnel or bandwidth to set up and execute on these plans – but that’s where they can turn to Prime Telecommunications. We provide the complete toolkit of expertise, technology and experience to know exactly what is needed to limit the damage of an attack and reduce the time it takes to recover. We also have the ability to test these plans in a fictional disaster scenario to ensure that there are no hiccups.

Managed IT as a Service

Making the Transformation to IT as a Service

The shift to the cloud over the past several years has been more a transformation of mindset than a simple adoption of new technology. With the widespread proliferation of cloud, IT teams needed to determine how to incorporate it globally throughout a company. IT as a service (ITaaS) was eventually born. This new model would revolutionize the way business IT operates.

Why ITaaS?

In the not-so-distant past, IT departments considered themselves entities that served up applications and performed tasks. The dictum of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) redirected this outdated approach to more of an end-to-end management strategy responsible for high quality solutions and process improvement.

With so many technical solutions now available, companies do not have to use internal resources that cannot fulfill business objectives. Therefore, it is in IT’s best interest to follow the as-a-service model. Flexibility, visibility into performance and organizational metrics, and efficient and practical results are expected on a consistent basis. The ITaaS strategy must incorporate all of these qualities to be successful.

Successful Shifting

One method that has been fruitful for companies making the shift to ITaaS is to employ a service catalog. This “product list” of obtainable services can help establish realistic expectations with the internal customer base. A ticket portal may be used to allow requestors to submit an order and follow it through to delivery. Resources can be effectively allocated to fulfill tickets by urgency and subject matter. The process grows to be more automated and repeatable over time, increasing productivity.


ITaaS ticket portals are also helpful in tracking statistics of frequently requested services and demand by department. IT performance becomes transparent, and leaders can see the length of time that tickets are open, identify gaps in processes and skill sets, or call out compliance issues.
Budgeting is simplified as historical metrics can be used to forecast future business needs. Departments can better understand the burden they place on IT and how it affects the financial performance of the enterprise. The result is more educated decision making.

Creating Transparency and Accountability

The shift to ITaaS places more responsibility on the IT team to be fiscally responsible and show added value to the organization. The team might help minimize spending, avoid it altogether, or shine a light on ineffective consumption within various departments. Greater culpability and visibility are natural results of the transition to ITaaS.

The days of IT simply filling orders for application development and system maintenance are over. This entity is now responsible for helping to decrease tech spending, exposing those who are using resources irresponsibly, and incorporating cloud into the organization in an organized and logical manner. ITaaS is the key to successful IT in the new world.

Cloud Security

National Computer Security Day: Is Your Business Protected?


We all use computers for something in our lives, but for businesses that rely on them, National Computer Security Day is a great reminder to review the security measures you have in place. We’ve discussed in several posts how important it is for your business to keep your security measures up-to-date, but in honor of the holiday,  we are going to focus on the different areas of security that might be at risk and how to best keep them safe.

Your email systems can be at risk for a number of reasons. If the server fails, you might not be able to access important information, and if any emails contain sensitive information, that information could be obtained by hackers.  There is also the age-old scam where people send viruses through email. Having a good email security system in place will make sure that emails containing questionable content will be blocked and quarantined. It will also ensure that your emails are backed up for easy access in case of emergency. You and your employees, with the right protection, are able to enjoy inboxes that are spam-free, contain no unsafe content and are properly backed up.

What are your security objectives? How much of a block do you want between your computer network and the outside world? Having a well-managed firewall lets you call the shots and ensures that your network is constantly being monitored. You can reference web-based reports at any time to identify any erratic behavior and address any issues.

If you have employees or clients who access your network remotely, you need your VPN to be secure. VPN security means that you can have people work from home without worrying, and that any data sent through the network will be encrypted so that it cannot be intercepted and obtained, avoiding any cyber-attacks.

Internet Policy
What types of websites would you like to allow your employees to access from the at-work network? Having a security system that enables internet-use management allows you to put filters on accessible URLs to avoid any legal issues or potential issues for your employees who might access dangerous sites. Some managers also employ internet policy management systems in order to boost workplace productivity.

Data Storage
Storing your business’s critical data in a place that is easily accessible, secure, and backed-up is imperative. Having a good managed security service means that your data will be backed-up on a regular basis, which reduces the amount of time it would take for your business to recover from a potential security threat, as well as the amount of time you’d be exposed to any risk. This is hugely important to have In place to ensure that your sensitive data is monitored and secure 24/7.

What steps is your business taking to avoid security threats? Are you using a managed security service? National Computer Security Day is the perfect time to make sure all of your security management efforts are up-to-date and that you have the right protection in place for your business. Broadview offers a variety of managed security services and is always here to help you get started.