7 Best Practices for Implementing a VoIP System
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A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system replaces traditional telephones with digital phones that use the internet to transfer audio data, rather than telephone wires or cell towers. The expansion of remote work has led to new VoIP trends in business, as companies harness the power of CRM integration and powerful analytics to improve their calls.
Here are 7 best practices companies can follow for a better VoIP rollout.
Validate the ISP and Company Network
Not all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to provide the amount of bandwidth needed to maintain a reliable network for VoIP services. Although VoIP calls are optimized to require as little data as possible for high fidelity audio, without adequate bandwidth there can be issues with static, lag, and dropped calls.
It is also important to rule out compatibility issues with both hardware and software. Not all VoIP software and network hardware will integrate seamlessly with the ISP. If there is a conflict, sometimes the only solution is to replace hardware and software so that all of the moving parts work together.
A redundant, backup ISP can ensure that even in the event of an unforeseen interruption in service, business activities continue as usual.
Implement Quality of Service (QoS)
Networks don't really "know" which pieces of data are most important unless they are told specifically. A Quality of Service (QoS) protocol tells the network to prioritize certain kinds of data over others - in this case, VoIP data over other data operations like surfing the internet or downloading files.
This is important because, without QoS, VoIP data is in direct competition with every other type of data for bandwidth. That means that VoIP call quality could suffer because software is updating in the background, or someone in the office is watching YouTube videos of cats, which is not ideal.
Upgrade Network Management Software
A lot of VoIP business success relies on maintaining a powerful and reliable company network to support business operations, and this requires robust network management software.
Enterprise-level network management software with VoIP integration gives IT teams the tools they need to review key metrics in real time so that they can make changes to reduce system loads and keep call quality where it should be.
Ensure IT is Ready
Implementing a VoIP system might mean training or re-training members of an IT team to use new VoIP and network management software. Although all members of the team should have a core understanding of how the system works, nominating a subject matter expert or experts (SMEs) to be responsible for maintaining the network and VoIP call quality can be effective. When it comes time to handle business-critical issues with the VoIP system, having a team leader to troubleshoot issues can drastically reduce the amount of time required to solve problems.
Protect The Network
VoIP systems have many business advantages, but they also have known security issues. Hackers target VoIP networks to gain access to company systems, hijack these systems to commit telefraud, and use company networks to attack other entities online.
Protecting a VoIP system requires purchasing and using the latest IT security software, and educating the people who use the system to follow security best practices. Intrusion detection software and VoIP-sensitive firewalls can keep the network safe from most hacks. Virtual LAN networks (VLANs) are another option.
However, no amount of digital security can prevent social engineering hacks. One of the most common hacker's tricks is called "phishing": impersonating a secure site or portal and asking for a username and password so that it can be captured and transmitted to a third party. Training the users of a VoIP system to keep secure passwords, protect their screens, and to distrust any suspicious emails or messages can be just as important as digital security.
Successfully Implementing a VoIP system
A VoIP system runs on the company's network, which needs to be strong and well-monitored by a skilled IT team. Maintaining and protecting the VoIP system requires an IT team that understands the network management software and the requirements of the VoIP network.