Virtual Office Featured Article

Questions to Ask a VoIP Service Provider

September 26, 2019
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Virtual Office Resource Contributor

Many smaller businesses have already discovered the benefits of hosted voice over IP (VoIP). In fact, according to a Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) survey conducted five years ago, nearly seven out of 10 hosted VoIP customers were businesses with fewer than 50 employees. VoIP seems heaven-sent for small businesses: it’s less expensive, it’s more flexible, and it’s managed by someone else. Increasingly, larger companies are also discovering that it simply doesn’t make sense to operate two networks -- one for voice and one for data – and they’re eagerly embracing enterprise VoIP solutions. It’s not just about cost savings: it’s also about supporting remote workers and offices, mobility, “bring your own device,” or BYOD, and the need for seamless integration with other enterprise apps.

Regardless of the size of your business, there are many options to choose from, and it’s important that you pick a solution that’s a good fit for your organization. It can be hard to know where to start. Experts recommend that you watch out for any company that quotes you a long installation period.

“If a VoIP provider can’t get you going with VoIP within minutes, they’re doing it wrong,” according to a recent blog post by Phone (News - Alert).com. “Many can even get you started instantly. You don’t need any special equipment to use VoIP. All you need is an internet connection and a cell phone (or even just a computer). So if they tell you it’ll take a while, move on.”

Other things to ask the provider:

How robust is your customer support? Ask for references, and call them. A company that doesn’t pick up when you need them is going to damage your business. If it’s important that the customer support be dedicated and located in the U.S., don’t assume that’s the case. With some companies, support is highly generic and located off-shore, which means it may not be available when you need it.

Is your product suited for a business of our size? If your business is small, you don’t want to wind up with lots of extra features you’ll pay for but never use that were added for the benefit of larger companies. If most of the company’s customers are businesses very unlike yours, it may be time to look for another provider.

What’s your product’s security? Some cheaper solutions are cheap because they skimp on security. Because VoIP is carried over the internet, it faces risks traditional phone service does not.

“The service provider you choose needs to be fully secure, via encryption, replay attack protection, and message authentication and integrity,” according to the (News - Alert) blog post. “This suite of security features exists under an umbrella called Secure VoIP, which should always be the default setting of your service.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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