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Can Voice over IP (VoIP) Save Your Company Money?

The economy might technically be out of recession, however businesses are still doing everything in their power to cut costs and save as much as possible without compromising on quality. One avenue for savings is switching from a traditional business phone system and lines to a VoIP plan. VoIP is a technology that has been around for a little over a decade now and allows you to make and receive phone calls over digital internet lines instead of over traditional phone lines. Some common VoIP providers include Skype, Vonage or our own system Novavoice.

VoIP offers a lot of advantages over traditional business phone systems for example the technology is a lot more customisable giving you a huge range of options for how, where, and when you receive calls. A VoIP based phone system will take phone calls on an office phone during business hours and then to transfer them to your private mobile after-hours. They also offer features such as video calling, the ability to run your own internal telephone board exchange (PBX), and to control all of the equipment that handles telephone service in your office. As the telephone system is cloud based and depending on provider many new features can be added or removed giving you much more flexibility to scale up or down depending on your business requirements.

The biggest benefit of VoIP for business though is the cost saving with VoIP systems often being significantly cheaper than similar services offered by traditional commercial telecoms. With the removal of traditional phone lines and moving the phone system to the cloud the reduction in hardware costs alone makes a significant saving. If you have branch offices or remote workers the call costs are free, allowing businesses to scale and improve flexible working and communication.

Of course VoIP services offer some disadvantages too, these need to be weighed carefully before making a decision. Unlike traditional telephone lines VoIP requires both power and internet to be functioning in order to work. Lose either one and you lose your phone lines, however services are increasingly more reliable or contingency can be planned for depending on your business requirement.

To find out more about VoIP telephone systems, see our demonstration suite or request a brochure please contact us.

Martin Completes Kirklees Way Ultra-Marathon for Forget Me Not Children's Hospice

Martin Page, director of P2 Technologies completed the 75 mile Kirklees Way ultra-marathon on 8th July, raising almost £800 for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

Starting at 7:20pm Friday 7th July the competitors had 21 hours to complete the route, setting off in clockwise direction visiting the Upper Colne Valley, Spen Valley, passing Batley and Dewsbury before heading towards Clayton West and the Holme Valley.

The route is 75 miles long and has over 10,000 feet of climb, almost entirely off-road, following footpaths, open fields and moorland. Some of the route is way marked, however some navigational skills were required particularly during the night.

The event was completely unsupported so runners had to be self-sufficient, although with some of the competitors having GPS trackers friends and family could locate runners and did come out on course to support which was very welcomed. Martin completed the race in 16 hours and finished in 1st position, first ever podium of any running race.

Martin said: “I was surprised how well it went and felt positive and in good shape for most of the race. The cool conditions during the evening were perfect for me which meant I could keep a good pace through the night as I was conscious the morning sunshine would make the last part in to the Holme Valley hard work with all the hills and the heat to contend with. At 60 miles I was starting to slow, however after a quick refuel of a bacon sandwich and coffee gave me enough energy to get up the last few hills from Marsden and to the end. I was over the moon to finish this tough challenge and overall on reflection I enjoyed it. I’ve been overwhelmed with messages of support and I’m particularly grateful to my sponsors for supporting me and this great charity”

Martin chose to raise money for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice because of the amazing contribution they make to the local area. P2 Technologies are also proud members of the Forget Me Not 99 Business Club, and make regular donations to the charity.

The charity support children who suffer from life shortening conditions, offering respite and support to both the children and their family members. Without the support of businesses, volunteers and kind donations from supporters, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice is able to provide this crucial service for the people of Huddersfield and the surrounding areas.

There is still chance to support Martin and donate to his Just Giving page here

What Happens after a Hacker Steals Your Password

A security firm posted a fictitious employee's Google Apps credentials on the Dark Web to learn how cybercriminals use stolen passwords. Find out what the 1,400 hackers who viewed the credentials did with the information.

You are probably familiar with how cybercriminals use phishing and other types of attacks to obtain employees' passwords as this is often discussed in the media, but do you know what happens after a hacker steals an employee's password? To answer this question, researchers at the security firm Bitglass conducted an eye-opening experiment.

The Experiment

The researchers built a functional web portal for a fictitious retail bank and a digital identity for an employee who supposedly worked there. Anyone who goes online has a digital identity — a collection of data attributes (e.g., birthdate, gender, search history, passwords, posts, purchases) that is linked to an email address, URL, or domain name.

The bank employee's digital identity was similar to that of a typical Internet user. For instance, the person had social media, Google Apps, personal banking, and other online accounts. Like many Internet users, the employee reused account passwords as well as blurred the line between professional and private life by using the same accounts for both work and pleasure.

The researchers filled the employee's Google Drive with files containing company and personal data. For example, the documents included information about the retail bank's customers and real credit card numbers, there was even an encrypted file. Each file in Google Drive was embedded with a watermark so that the researchers could track what hackers did with it. The researchers monitored all Google Drive activities including logins and downloads.

The Results

Hackers did not waste any time once the research team posted the employee's supposedly phished Google Apps information on the Dark Web. Within 24 hours cybercriminals began using the credentials to log in to Google Drive and the bank web portal. Within 48 hours they started downloading files from Google Drive. Some hackers only downloaded the files with sensitive content (e.g., credit card data, bank customer information), while others downloaded all of them. Several cybercriminals even cracked and viewed the encrypted file.

In all around 1,400 hackers viewed the Google Apps credentials posted on the Dark Web and visited the fictitious bank's web portal. Ten percent of them then attempted to log in to the portal.

In addition 10 percent of the 1,400 cybercriminals signed in to Google Drive using the login information. Almost 95 percent of these Google Drive hackers discovered the employee's other online accounts and attempted to log in to them using the Google Apps username and password. More than 35 percent succeeded in accessing the employee's personal banking account.

How to Protect Your Business's Online Accounts

As these finding show stolen passwords are quickly exploited by numerous cybercriminals who try them on a variety of websites, for this reason it is important that you and your employees:

  • Avoid reusing passwords. A unique, strong password should be used for each online account. If hackers obtain one account password they won't be able to use it to access other accounts.
  • Use two-step verification when available. With two-step verification you need to provide an additional piece of information (e.g., a security code) to log in. Google, Microsoft, and many other cloud service providers now provide this functionality.

For more recommendations on how to protect your business's online accounts as well as its data contact us.

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