Updating your telephonyIf you have a business that relies on the good old fashioned phone call, you might benefit from updating your telephony systems. Initially, it is tempting to think if it’s not broken don’t fix it – telephones work perfectly well. However, for many businesses a Voice Over IP (VOIP) system can make huge improvements. VOIP calls are cheaper, so if you find yourself running up a big phone bill making sales calls, it could be a good alternative. In addition, VOIP providers can enable more flexibility as you can take a call from different devices, such as a smartphone or laptop, and work on the go.
Bring your own devicesAnother new scheme that has been gaining popularity is Bring your own device, or BYOD. This allows employees to bring their own devices in, such as laptops, smartphones, or tablets. There is evidence to suggest this improves employee morale, and it also ensures they are always within reach of their emails and can work on the go – whether they’re away at a meeting or a conference, they can complete their work seamlessly.
Up in the cloudStoring something in the cloud essentially means storing it on the internet rather than on your own servers, and is a simple way to digitise your data. For example, if you have an email account with Google or Hotmail, this is a cloud service – your emails are not stored on your server, but over the internet. There are a great many cloud applications available for businesses of all sizes, but typically the advantages of cloud services include scalability, price, and improved disaster recovery.
Web and video conferencingTypically, a web conference would be a seminar – one person speaking, and displayed as a video to an audience that could be scattered around the globe. Further evidence that it pays to digitise! A video conference on the other hand is usually a more collaborative affair, with everyone being able to chip in to the conversation rather than it being a one-way stream. The advantages of these services include increased flexibility, and reduced costs as participants would not have to commute to a meeting room.
Staying secureOf course, as much as these new ways of working can bring great advantages, they should be approached with caution. For example, some older conferencing systems don’t support encryption, which could potentially lead to a data leak if someone taps in to an important meeting. If you’re going to share sensitive data over a video conference, make sure you are using one of the latest, more secure systems. Furthermore, according to Cisco, around 52 per cent of smartphone users report using unsecured WiFi networks with their devices, which can leave data open to theft by cyber criminals. It is critical to ensure that your staff are trained on cybersecurity and use only secure networks and devices, and that all software is kept up to date and patched to prevent cyber attacks. Deciding to digitise processes offers smaller businesses the opportunity to compete with large corporations on a more level playing field. As long as the proper measures are taken to protect your business, there’s a world full of customers up for grabs, and going digital could take your business to the next level.
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