Category Archives: General

Phone.com’s Response to the Shellshock Flaw

by Jeremy Watkin

shellshock2A serious vulnerability in the Unix Bash shell used on Linux systems, Apple OS X machines, routers and older connected (IoT) devices was announced yesterday.

As with the Heartbleed virus earlier this year, our infrastructure team has applied security patches to all Phone.com systems that use Bash, thereby preventing unauthorized access to our service and your data.

For more information on protecting your own systems, see US-CERT’s alert on Shellshock.

What Do You Need in a VOIP Phone Service?

by Sue Walsh

As a small business owner, are you satisfied with your phone service? Wonder where to find the reliability you need or how to scale your phone system to serve your growing enterprise?

You’re not alone. A recent report from Software Advice, a Texas-based service that matches businesses with best-in-class software solutions, suggests that nearly 60 percent of companies currently looking to upgrade their phone systems are looking for a sophisticated VOIP service, one that is both reliable and scalable.

Top Reasons for Considering VOIP

Reasons for choosing VOIP

The report highlights the top features, pain points and reasons that business owners are looking to VoIP.

What Do Smaller Businesses Need?

  • 77 percent are looking for a web-based, hosted PBX solution
  • Of the nearly 60 percent of respondents considering VoIP, one third were still using traditional landlines in their businesses
  • Only six percent of those who took the survey were IT specialists, which suggests that good technical support, easy setup, and service reliability will be key to buyers
  • 32 percent identified reliability and scalability as their top reasons for wanting to purchase a new VoIP system

Features were also key! Flexible voicemail options, caller ID, number portability and many others:

Top Requested Phone-Service Features

Top VOIP features

With a shift towards hosted, VOIP-based services, it becomes easier for small businesses to access sophisticated call, conferencing, voicemail and other services, using platforms that were once only available to larger enterprises. VOIP allows your five-person startup to function like an established player!

Getting the Whole Package

To wrap up, it’s clear that small businesses are making the shift from landline to VoIP solutions. Buyers are interested in solutions that are not only reliable, but can scale, allowing them to add users easily and economically as they grow. Also, small businesses may not have IT expertise in house, so they place great importance on easy setup, reliability and effective technical support.

What are you looking for in a phone system and can we help? Phone.com offers one of the most flexible, people-friendly, economical VOIP services available. Take a look!

presets

How to Save Time Managing Your Phone.com Account with Presets

by Derrick Lewis

As a small business owner, time is one of your greatest assets, and also something that seems to be in a constantly short supply. The last thing you need to be doing is tinkering with your phone system, which is why Phone.com has some great preset features that will save you some valuable time. Presets allow you to:

  • Save your settings in templates. These templates can then be quickly applied elsewhere on your account without having to set them up manually repeatedly.
  • Edit your call forwarding in one location. When you save your call forwarding as presets, you can manage all of these templates in one location. A unified approach to call management.
  • Let your employees manage their own call forwarding. Because presets can be saved on an extension specific level, your employees can manage their own call forwarding.

Want to learn more about presets? Then join us for a free 30 minute webinar where we’ll be covering all of the methods for setting up presets on your account.

We’ll teach you how to add presets, save your existing call forwarding as presets, and how to activate these templates in your number forwarding. 

When

Thursday, September 25th 10:30am – 11:00am PST.

How

Register Now

iphone-app

Upgrade Your Phone and Communication Abilities with Our iPhone App

by Derrick Lewis

Apple recently unveiled their new iPhone 6 and it’s bigger and better than ever. If you’re considering upgrading, or perhaps this is your first iPhone, then why not take advantage of our iPhone app with that new phone of yours? 

As a business owner, staying connected with your clients while outside of the office is critical. With our iPhone app, you can fulfill most of your business’s communication needs without being at your desk, including:

  • Placing calls with your Phone.com number. No need for a desk phone to accomplish this. Our app allows you to use your Phone.com number as your outbound caller ID on all calls.
  • Sending faxes directly from your cell phone. Got a last minute fax you forgot to send from the office? Use our app and send it directly from your phone.
  • Managing your inbox. Check your voicemails, sms text messages, and faxes directly from the app. No need to log in to your account from a computer.

Got your new iPhone and want to learn more about our app for your business?

How can I learn more?

Join us for a free 30 minutes webinar where we’ll show you how to set up your Phone.com iPhone app. 

In addition, we’ll also cover all of the great features of the app including placing calls with your Phone.com number, managing your inbox, changing your voicemail greeting, sending faxes, and more!

When

Thursday, September 18th 10:30am – 11:00am PST.

How

Register Now

net-neutrality

The Net Neutrality Debate, or Is It a Net Neutrality Debacle?

by Ari Rabban

I wrote about the FCC’s Net Neutrality proposal a few months ago and the debate is heating up again.

Perhaps comedian John Oliver explained it best back in June: At issue is the creation of a two-tier system, or rather an HOV lane for those services that can pay more — players like Netflix, who recently signed service agreements with the largest cable provider Comcast.

Some time back, the FCC asked the public to comment on Net Neutrality and now those comments are being published. A report summarizes more than a million of the comments received, the gist of the feedback indicating that less than one percent of those commenting oppose Net Neutrality.

Is this surprising? No—of course the average person favors Net Neutrality because it means equality, paying less and getting better service. The bottom line, though, is that we are still in a messy situation and, sadly, I can only anticipate that further lobbying will win the day for the big players. The term Net Neutrality can be confusing, even though there is nothing unclear or neutral about implementing a fast lane.

I agree that broadband providers building out multi-billion-dollar networks only to see large customers like Netflix or Google or Facebook reap the rewards at no cost is a problem. Just as big of an issue, though, would be those same providers—ATT, Verizon, Comcast and the other big cable companies who connect most US homes to the Internet—selling their own content to consumers in competition with smaller services that have to use their networks to reach our homes.

Treating Broadband as a Utility … Read On!

It is my opinion that broadband should be viewed as a utility and delivered as a utility. Consumers should be able to select and pay for the level of broadband they want, choosing the content and add-on services they want too, even if that content is provided by a smaller competitor of, say, Netflix that can’t afford the fast-lane rate. Content from a smaller provider should be available to consumers at the same speed as Netflix content, and not at a higher price either.

Furthermore, broadband providers should not have the ability to slow the delivery of another service, be it movie streaming or telephony, just because it competes with their own service. In our case, Phone.com may use broadband to deliver phone service, and having Comcast or AT&T block or slow our delivery because they too offer phone service should not be allowed.

Keeping It Commercial!

Google is trying to roll out its own broadband network so that it won’t need to rely on Verizon or AT&T. The Internet giant has started offering broadband in Austin, Texas, for example. Perhaps Microsoft has the power to do this too, but no one else comes close. Even Apple relies on either residential broadband or 3G/4G networks to support their devices.

Small service providers have no choice but to rely on large broadband providers, which is why I believe broadband should be delivered as a commercial utility, as opposed to a public one. I live in New Jersey, and after Hurricane Sandy I can tell you that no one here needs a reminder of the quality of public utilities. The Internet must evolve to meet the challenges of scale technology and scale that lie before us, so we need whoever provides broadband to be continually upgrading their networks.

To be fair, if a particular service (and again, Netflix is often the example given) appropriates much of the bandwidth and slows the delivery speed of other services on the network, is that a desired result of Net Neutrality? Is it fair to Verizon? Verizon’s Fiber Optic Service (FiOS) customers will complain that service is slow and Verizon’s billions will be going to benefit Netflix while others (including Verizon) will suffer.

Bringing It All Together

If providers were to offer broadband as a commercial utility in a just and equitable way, they would charge consumers the appropriate price for the level of broadband service they choose. They could also put measures in place to regulate general Internet traffic speed, based on need, without allowing larger players to sideline competitors. As regulated commercial broadband utility suppliers, they would also not favor their own content in the market at the expense of other content and service providers.

I don’t see Verizon (and AT&T and Comcast) offering services like phone service, TV and their own Internet services, while at the same time controlling the broadband that other competitive content providers need in order to reach the consumer. That for me is the Bell System breakup of the 21st Century. Before the Bell breakup, we had one big AT&T controlling all phone services nationwide and also, through Bell Labs and its product arm, controlling all the switches and other phone network infrastructure that was needed to provide service. This monopoly broke up in several phases over 20 years and it began when competitive phone companies started popping up.

So to summarize, the US needs a different kind of broadband-provider model—one that offers multiple, competing sources (fiber optic, coax and wireless broadband, for example), provided by companies prepared to focus on developing infrastructure NOT on providing content over those networks. And the markets are sure to figure out the right pricing model that, with the help of positive regulation, will prevent incumbents’ advantage and foster innovation.