General Telephony

VirtualPBX Thanksgiving – We’re Grateful for Humble Beginnings

humble thanksgivingYou’ve probably heard the story before about a couple of visionaries getting together somewhere in a basement or garage in Silicon Valley to start something big. We have, too, but mostly from the people who founded VirtualPBX. We are proud to be the industry leader in advanced business phone system design, but we’re equally proud of the fact that we didn’t start that way. Being as closely tied to our own small business heritage as we are has defined how we’ve run our business, designed our products, and given back to the business community. At this time when people often reflect on all that has been good in their lives, we’re grateful for, among many things, our humble beginnings.

Built From A Small Business, To Help Small Business

Admittedly, it may be hard to envision where we have come from now that we have employees all over the world and an ever-growing, dynamic core group in our San Jose headquarters. But because we have remained steadfast in our quest to help businesses boost their appearance, and thereby their revenue, with enterprise grade phone systems for startup prices, we’ve retained much of the identity and focus of a smaller organization. Now, with thousands of small businesses all relying on our products and services to level the playing field between themselves and their competitors, our devotion to small businesses is more impactful than ever. It’s with that in mind that we’d like to encourage you all to focus on two things this Thanksgiving weekend.

Small Business Saturday

First, we’d like to remind you all that this Saturday, November 26, 2016, is Small Business Saturday. This is a time for you to not only save on all of your best holiday shopping for the season but also to support the millions of men and women in local retail who are the backbone of our economy. The next thing we’d encourage you to remember this Thanksgiving is that, while we may not always agree on everything as a country or even a family, we are a nation founded on the most ambitious and admirable of all possible philosophies. And it is with that in mind that we recognize what we’re most grateful for; we were born in and remain piloted from the only place where a couple of techie guys can MacGyver their own electrical power grid one day and build it into an international company committed to helping entrepreneurs realize their own dreams. That’s a true privilege, and we’re grateful for you being a part of it.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at VirtualPBX!

Why Use VoIP for Business?

why use VoIP for businessBy now you should have heard about people and companies using VoIP for business. Certainly, if you’re reading this and it’s new to you, then I have really not been doing my job! But joking aside, 70% of businesses are expected to transition to a hosted telephone system in the next two years , there are still those who are on the fence. And that’s okay, because it raises this question, and provides and opportunity for us to discuss why you should use VoIP for business.

You Play to Win The Game

Football fans may recognize this as the quote made famous by then New York Jets coach, Herm Edwards, following a devastating loss. Bot for businesses that have already converted to a hosted telephone option, it likely makes them smile. Business is, of course, competitive, and for industries with higher degrees of competition, it may actually be a zero sum game in that winning one sale means that sale is lost for all others. This narrow margin for error makes operational discipline more important than ever before, and a hosted telephone system saves upwards of 80% over a traditional telephone system. Those types of bottom line impacts are tough to turn up, and just one of the reasons why you should use VoIP for business.

Work The Way You Live

Gone are the halcyon days of the predictable 9-5, two cars in the garage, and owning one home right out of school for rest of your life. Sure, those are a lot of competing topics in there, but the point is that the very nature of our daily lives, from work to play, has changed to irrevocably. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but rather it means that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to overlay a traditional understanding of work on top of a modern life. VoIP plans with features like Follow Me Calling and nearly universal device compatibility enable employees to be connected to work when they need to be, even when they have to be working from home or on the road. The ability of fitting your work into your life, and not the other way around, is another reason why you should use VoIP for business.

Get More From Your Effort

The old adage of working smarter not harder has never been more easily executed in a real life scenario than it is with VoIP. If you’re recruiting for a technically skilled position and aren’t finding the right fit or can’t afford the talent in your area, VoIP systems allow for seamless work between distributed teams. Additionally, you can duplicate your efforts during growth periods using VoIP in a very similar way. Because the nature of VoIP requires no cumbersome, expensive, on-site hardware to maintain, changes can be made to it in a flash. Specifically, adding local, toll-free, or international telephone numbers to your phone system can immediately multiply your audiences as far as you’re ready to take them. Making the world a much smaller place is one of the best impacts that technology has had in our lives, and a powerful reason why you should use VoIP for business.

Looking for More Info on VoIP for Business?

Look no further! There is a cadre of resources available for you while you consider the best office telephone system options for your business. Comparing traditional telephone systems and hosted VoIP systems is easy with this comprehensive PBX comparison. Plus, if you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll receive a steady stream of the latest updates on telecom, technology, and business communications in general. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? No problem! Just reach out on either of those platforms or contact our live and local Support Team for more and we’d be happy to help.

Presidential Election Day, Cubs Win, & Office Politics

presidential electionIf you’re anything like I am, you can’t be any happier that today is it – Election Day! During an unprecedented political season that has taken a turn for the surreal and then even further to the absurd, many Americans are eager to see the backside of Tuesday, November the 8th. This election cycle has been so outlandish that political satirists have actually struggled, not for lack of material, but for the challenge of making farcical recreations of what often times has not even seemed to be real life. But, yes, America, we have made it, and now we need to begin trying to make sense of how we got here, and more importantly, where we’ll go from now.

Why You Don’t Need to Move to Canada, According to Sports

If there’s anything that should be clear following the historic break of the 108-year drought of the Chicago Cubs in the (most incredibly thrilling) World Series, it’s that anything can happen. In fact, I was in Chicago for the Championship Parade and also that weekend at Solider Field, the Irish National Rugby Team beat the reigning champion from New Zealand for the first time in 111 years, as well. If Illinois was a swing state, this would complete my analogy nicely, but the point I’m making is that nothing is ever, ever over. Plus, in case the rhetoric of either candidate is getting you anxious, we have a pretty rock-solid system of checks and balances that is infallible where our major party nominations may not be. So go ahead and put away those Vancouver real estate brochures and wait it out a little bit longer.

We Know How to Run a Tough Campaign

While we’d be quick to clarify that we don’t go in for the rancor and divisiveness that has been the hallmark of this presidential election, we do know what it means to make a strong case for something. Time and time again, we’ve been honored by our peers in a selection for various industry awards, and those are some of our proudest achievements. Being selected by the people you serve is, after all, very similar to the entire purpose of campaigning towards the presidential Election Day. Our opponents, however, weren’t colleagues from across the aisle. We’re singularly focused on serving our customers, so our greatest competition is always going to be ourselves and in trying to outdo our past performances.

Win or Lose, It’s How You Play the Game

Another thing to remember that, once the day has ended, we regular folks will all have to go on to work and play with each other. That should be reason enough to take another cue from the sports world about winning gracefully and losing with dignity. In fact, I’d say that politics are even more important for us to be tempered and prudent in our reactions because, unlike two sports clubs that retreat to their respective communities following a decisive game, we are all intertwined with people who are ideological opposite to ourselves. Not just in workplaces and schools and on our commute, but this election has even seen divisions within individual families themselves. All the more reason, in my humble opinion, to think about the lasting impact of our words and actions when we feel like maligning or boasting about the outcome of today’s presidential election. And if you must discuss the big day’s events at work, we recommend that you talk about politics in the best way possible. Because, seriously, we all want to have a job to come to tomorrow morning, too.

So how do you feel? Are you ready? Have you voted already or will you go later? Share your voting stories with us and pictures of your “I Voted” stickers with us on Twitter and Facebook. We’d love to see you doing your civic duty and are here for you if you need it!

Looking Back on a Month of Halloween at VirtualPBX

Month of Halloween at VirtualPBXAbout this time you might be coming to after a gnarly sugar-fueled candy bender, wondering where it all went wrong. Or, if you’re like me, you’re giving that pounding sugar headache a bit of the hair of the dog and unwrapping another peanut butter cup. Different strokes for different folks, am I right? No matter the circumstances, this month of Halloween has been more fun than most for us here at VirtualPBX. That’s why we thought we’d take a minute to look back at all of the neat things we did to make it special.

What’s October? It’s the Month of Halloween!

After looking at all of the ways we made Halloween all month a real thing, it almost is like the whole “October” thing kind of passed us by. I, for one, am completely fine with this. Here are just some of the highlights from 31 days of awesome, ghoulish fun.

  • Obviously decorating was the first step, so check out this killer .GIF of our decorated Frankenfrige.
  • Nothing brings people together quite like a good meal, or in this case, a good selection of snacks from ghastly cupcakes to spooky slimy coolers.
  • Nothing says Halloween quite like costumes, and because we had a month of Halloween we had not one but two costume contests. Here’s one of some of our contestants including our winner, the Mad Hatter.
  • And for our zombie lovers out there we even, ahem, unearthed (get it?) our Zombie Preparedness Hotline.

Not All Fun and Games

Just because we had a month of Halloween doesn’t mean that we weren’t also out there getting the job done. In fact, we had a lot going on from an important update to the VirtualPBX Softphone App to another sponsorship of the best KazooCon event to date. What we tried to accomplish with a month of Halloween, though, is to remind ourselves that work is something we all have to do, but there are also ways to make it fun. We know we all had a blast during our month of Halloween, and we hope you did, too!

What did your company do for Halloween? Tell us about it on Twitter and Facebook, because we’d love to see how you do it in your neck of the woods!

DDoS Attack Makes the Biggest Internet Players Stumble

ddos attackThe very foundation of the internet was rattled on Friday as a result of a DDoS attack on Dyn, one of the most pivotal service providers for some of the biggest websites out there. Dyn is a cloud-based internet management company that helps monitor, optimize, and control internet infrastructure for large clients. There’s probably a lot to clarify here for some of you, but before we get into that, I want to stress how the interconnectivity of the security of your own personal computer and the overall health of the internet are connected. Yes, you read that right, DDoS attacks and your own personal computing habits are more linked than you probably thought. Buckle up, here we go…

And DDoS Attacks are What, Exactly?

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are widespread disruptive attacks on targets that result in temporary shutdowns. Pronounced as either “D-Dos” or “D-D-Oh-S,” these are deceptively much more harmful than is commonly understood. First, they are distributed in the sense that it is essentially the overwhelming of a system with a massive amount of queries. The denial of service then results from the subsequent shutting down of a system overwhelmed by the sheer volume of traffic that it encounters. Now, with some familiarity on what a DDoS attack is, considering that Dyn was the target of the attack, that’s why sites like Amazon, Spotify, CNN, GitHub, Twitter and so many others all experienced downtime. But other than impacting your ability to see what was trending or go shopping for a while, what does that really have to do with you? The answer may be a bit disturbing.

That Sounds Terrible, I’d Like to Prevent It

We have told you before about updating the software and firmware on all of your devices but this DDoS attack is just more evidence why it’s so important. During a DDoS attack, the forces behind it will simulate millions of users trying to access a system to bring it to its capacity. As it turns out, some of the simulated access points may have been coming from personal computers that had previously accessed any of the affected sites but that also haven’t been updated to the latest security patches on their operating systems. And considering how many huge websites were affected, this could be virtually almost every single device out there. Additionally, some of the access points may have come from hardware with faulty firmware, though that is more difficult to protect against.

It’s a Delicate Web

The point is that barring the use of a bit of compromised hardware that, thankfully, is a problem few and far between, we all need to consider ourselves responsible for the overall health and safety of the internet. Sure, that’s a big responsibility, but one that isn’t too dissimilar to that of voting or driving on the right side of the road. In many ways, this is just the next logical step that we all need to take in doing our part to make sure our common areas are kept in good working order. Because, just like the neighborhood park, if everyone leaves one piece of trash behind it doesn’t take long for the whole block to look terrible.

Businesses Are More Vulnerable

Besides being responsible stewards of our own personal internet footprint, we have even more to consider with our professional internet use. Professional services that optimize your business network connections do more than boost your speed and efficiency. Higher-touch web monitoring and maintenance services like VirtualPBX Network Monitoring ensure that your network is in top shape while also keeping you up to date on all of the pertinent security patches your business needs to stay safe. And when something like this DDoS attack does occur upstream that you can’t defend against, at least knowing your system is fortified against anything will keep you and your customers prepared to weather the storm.

For more ways to protect yourself in this increasingly connected world, make sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Until we have more tips for you, though, make sure to go search for updates on your device!

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