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Ooma Helps Stop Burglars in their Tracks

Consumers are adopting smart home solutions at a faster pace than previously estimated, with 62 percent of consumers in a Lowe’s survey ranking security and home monitoring as the most beneficial reason to own a smart home. Home security should to be easy to install, easy to manage and portable, so homeowners and renters can protect their homes and the valuables that are in them, and easily move the system to the next home.

Ooma’s unique hybrid cloud platform is built to enable new innovative services that bring value and peace of mind to customers. This is why in addition to the recently announced Ooma Internet Security, powered by Zscaler, Ooma is unveiling Ooma Home Monitoring, a comprehensive do-it-yourself home monitoring solution that alerts users of events within their homes and makes it easy to contact local emergency 911 dispatchers in the case of a disturbance or problem, even if the homeowner is out of town, out of state or out of the country.

Designed to work with the Ooma smart home phone service – the Ooma Telo – the system includes motion, water, door and window sensors that can be managed and monitored using an app on an iOS or Android device. Notifications include phone call, text, in-app notifications and alerts from the Telo itself using the on-board speaker, giving consumers even greater security and convenience.

Ooma Home Monitoring is the only do-it-yourself home monitoring solution to give users the option to dial 911 and speak directly with emergency dispatchers if the situation is an emergency, sending local emergency response services to the exact address, avoiding wasting precious time. In fact, the FCC estimates 10,000 people each year would be saved by a one-minute reduction in emergency response times.

Ooma Home Monitoring supports up to 100 connected sensors using the latest version of the Ooma Telo. All Ooma customers will receive the Ooma Home Monitoring service free for the first sensor (door/window, motion or water). To add additional sensors, Ooma Basic service customers can subscribe to Ooma Home Monitoring for $5.99 per month. Ooma Premier service customers can add as many sensors as needed at no additional cost as a part of their Premier service plan.

Learn more about Ooma Telo here: http://www.ooma.com/telo/

Learn more about Ooma Home Monitoring here: http://www.ooma.com/home-monitoring/

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Sources:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cost-confidence-and-convenience-lowes-survey-reveals-americans-attitudes-on-the-smart-home-272853581.html

http://www.ooma.com/ooma-introduces-internet-security-make-home-networks-safer-secure/

What If Santa Went Virtual?

Santa Claus has been around as long as we can remember, and yet his magical annual toy operation has not yet been modernized. In total, 526 million kids in the world send letters to Santa each year, and on Christmas Eve, Santa delivers presents to 22 million kids an hour. That’s 365,000 kids a minute or about 6,100 kids a second.

While the throwback to snail mail, the sleigh ride delivery method and a little magic may be charming, we were curious about what it would take to modernize his massive operation.

What If Santa Went Virtual

Communications

Mobile apps allow businesses to foster better engagement with clients and customers. In fact, the majority of companies now have apps. 52% have a fully implemented mobile app strategy and 37% have a partially implemented one. These apps have had good results, with 74% of companies reporting a positive outcome after creating an app.
Instead of snail mail, a modern-day North Pole would upgrade to the custom Santa App. Children can log toy requests within the app, and their information is then funnelled into a central database system.

The app’s video feature can be used to send personal messages. For example, children can catch up with the Big Red himself through a little chit-chat, or kids can express how much they really, really, really want a certain toy. A video can also be used to explain any incriminating incidents from the past year that might have landed you on the Naughty List rather than the Nice one.

Parental control features can add to or amend a child’s request to help Santa bring just the right gift. Plus, elves can directly message a child to clarify requests.

The biggest U.S. call centers have about 5,000 workers. American Express in Phoenix, Arizona, has 5,200 employees, while Fidelity Investments in Westlake, Texas, has 4,400 employees. Santa would need a significantly larger staff of 30,000 elves working on his customer service team.

Processing

He’s making the list and checking it twice. But what if Santa’s project management software could sync with the database of toys and children. Software features allow for itemizing toy requests (telescope, iPad, etc.), noting any preferences (likes the color green and zebra prints), tracking each child’s gift history (received a cowboy-themed gift last year) and calculating the annual Naughty/Nice scale (plus 2 points for cleaning his room, minus 1 point for not always being nice to his sister).

68% of businesses already use a cloud-based database. Of these companies, 88% report that using the cloud lowered their expenses, and 56% saw an increase in profits. If cloud computing has been so effective for corporations, maybe Santa ought to give it a try.

Toys

Santa’s software analytics would show trends in toy requests and adjust the toy supplies to the fluctuating demand.

No longer do elves need to labor endlessly at the North Pole workshop. Thanks to remote manufacturing, toys can be made anywhere in the world using automation. Elves can manage the all-digital North Pole command center. Increased automation saves companies, on average, 16% to 22% on labor costs. In some factories, 90% of humans have been replaced by robots.

With all of the info in the cloud, Mr. and Mrs. Claus can get a break from the cold and snow. Santa himself can telecommute into the office. The only thing needed is a fast Internet connection. Companies that have already integrated telecommuting see a 35% to 40% increase in productivity by those working remotely. In addition, remote workers report a 7% increase in happiness.

Who wouldn’t want to see an even jollier version of “Jolly Old St. Nick” after he starts telecommuting?

Delivery

Parents can track real-time package delivery status on the phone app.

Reindeer drones fly across the sky to deliver special Christmas packages, and children can peer through their windows to look for that glowing red “nose.”

Each day, Amazon ships 1.67 million boxes. For Santa’s Christmas gifts, he would be preparing 159 times that number of boxes.

UPS delivers 16 million boxes each day, so Santa would need a delivery capacity of 33 UPS fleets.

Going Virtual

Santa is not alone in the daunting task of modernizing operations. 72% of Fortune 500 CEOs say that rapidly changing technology is their biggest challenge but also opportunity!

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Sources:
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/12/santas-christmas-eve-workload-calculated/249844/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus
http://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Best-Quotes-From-Elf-12426124?stream_view=1#photo-38817779
https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/u-s-manufacturing-may-depend-on-automation-to-survive-and-prosper/
http://mentalfloss.com/uk/trivia/42290/working-remotely-makes-you-happier-and-more-productive
http://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/resources/costs-benefits
http://www.techrepublic.com/article/chinese-factory-replaces-90-of-humans-with-robots-production-soars/
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/02/10/robots-could-cut-international-labor-costs-16-percent-by-2025-consulting-group-says
http://technologyadvice.com/blog/marketing/4-ways-cloud-computing-can-save-money/
https://www.tesora.com/press-releases/survey-finds-database-in-the-cloud-taking-over-in-enterprises/
https://www.redhat.com/files/resources/mo-red-hat-mobile-survey-012016.pdf
http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9049-small-business-app-benefits.html
http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/Call+Center+Statistics

https://info.siteselectiongroup.com/blog/largest-call-centers_0514

https://www.quora.com/How-many-boxes-does-Amazon-ship-every-day
https://www.wired.com/2013/06/ups-astronomical-math/

Ooma Celebrates the Holidays with Free Calls to Santa

Ooma_S2_CallSanta_FINALThis Christmas instead of writing a letter to Santa, why don’t you just give him a call? Ooma is spreading holiday cheer by offering free calls to the North Pole, direct to Santa’s line! Now through Christmas, Ooma customers can call Santa and leave a message by dialing 1-844-544-OOMA. You’ll hear a jolly greeting from Santa and then have the chance to let him know what gifts you would like to find under the tree or in your stocking Christmas morning.Kids have already been busy calling Santa, listen to one Christmas wish list here:

Santa listens to all his messages, so if you’ve been good this year and leave a message for Santa, you could be surprised with a special gift from the big man himself.

Happy Holidays!

Importance of Having a Landline Phone

Nearly half of all homes in America don’t have landlines. For the younger generation, even more are foregoing antiquated landlines — 71% of people age 24 to 34 use only their cell phones. With the trend toward more Americans cutting the cord on their landline, we are seeing a corresponding increase in the safety risk.

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When a 911 call is made from a cell phone, emergency dispatchers are not as consistently able to determine your location. In fact, their ability to geo-locate cell phone calls can be as low as 10% in some areas of the country. Specifically, the failure rate of a 911 dispatcher to determine the accurate location of a cell phone call is 90% in Washington D.C., 71% in Virginia, 67% in Texas, 63% in California and 42% in Colorado.

While landline calls are linked to an address in emergency response systems, the outdated technology of many 911 service providers means cell phones do not offer the rapid location data of a landline call.

As John Oliver, the popular host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO, described on his show recently about the emergency response infrastructure, your cell phone location services are more effective with apps like Dominos Pizza Delivery or Uber than when calling 911 from your mobile phone.

During an emergency, time is critical. According to the FCC, more than 10,000 lives would be saved each year if police officers, ambulance crew and firefighters could reach callers just one minute faster. And time is being lost when emergency response personnel are struggling to identify the location of cell phone calls, especially when callers either don’t know the address where they’re calling from or cannot speak to tell the dispatcher their location.

Additionally, the GPS services on cell phones are better suited to the open highway than multi-story buildings. About 58% of 911 calls are made indoors, causing difficulty in finding the site of the emergency. While landline calls placed in multi-story apartments or office buildings have a number that provides information about the story and suite number the call is originating from, emergency calls from cell phones often do not have this detailed geospatial data, making it harder for injured people to get help.

What You Can Do About It

To address this problem in a more comprehensive way, the issue will need to make its way through Congress, through phone carrier policies and through each city’s and state’s emergency response technology infrastructure. No doubt this complex problem will not be resolved any time soon.

Meanwhile, there are actions you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of an emergency. VoIP technologies like Ooma offer a landline alternative that integrate your cell phone and your home phone into a single communications solution. Using the available emergency settings, Ooma will share your address with emergency service providers so they can easily find you or your loved ones in the event of an emergency.

The settings on Ooma’s E911 service, or “Enhanced 911,” automatically transmit your address and phone number to the emergency operator when you make a call. To confirm or change your information, visitMy Ooma and navigate to “Account,” then to “Service Address.” You can then validate your system by calling the non-emergency number, requesting permission to make a test call and confirming the address after taking the test call.

Automated Alerts to Family or Friends

In addition, when a 911 call is made from an Ooma smart home phone system, the technology delivers real-time text and email alerts to family members or friends as designated by the Ooma account holder. When leaving children home with a babysitter or having an elderly loved one at home, these 911 notifications can offer both protection for your family and peace of mind for you when you are away. Ooma users have reported that these notifications are so fast that they have been able to arrive at the scene of an emergency even before the police, fire department or ambulance.

To set up these alerts, start at the My Ooma page, navigate to “Preferences” and then “911 Alerts.” To test the functionality of these alerts, dial 6-1-1 from your Ooma phone, and a recorded message will confirm the system test. Then check your text messages or email inbox for the alert messages. Confirm that the address included in the message is accurate.

A custom message can also be configured for your email and text alerts. Users can add up to 256 characters of information specifying important details about your loved ones, including names, ages, medical conditions or medications.

Smart Home Integrations

Many of the most useful smart home products and services integrate with the Ooma Telo to provide additional safety and security for family and loved ones.

For example:

Combine Ooma and Nest to automatically turn on call forwarding when you leave the home and receive a text notification (and an option to dial 911) when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected. 

Combine Ooma and Phillips Hue, LIFX or WeMo to get alerted of incoming phone calls or voicemails visually with lights.

Combine Ooma and your iPhone or Apple Watch to be notified on your device of an incoming call or voicemail when away from home.

Combine Ooma and Amazon Echo to make hands-free calls and playback voicemail simply by interacting with Alexa.

Saving Money

Not only does switching to Ooma provide you more safety in case of an emergency, it also saves your bank account from an added expense. Each month, you would save an average of$30 per month by using Ooma for access to its enhanced emergency services and for making unlimited, nationwide phone calls over the Internet.

Consumers want a landline in the home for safety, convenience and peace of mind. They simply don’t want to pay too much for it on a monthly basis. Ooma provides unmatched value with smart home phone services that give families the protection and security they seek.

Learn more about Ooma Telo here:http://www.ooma.com/shop/

Source List -

https://www.engadget.com/2015/12/01/cdc-nearly-half-of-american-homes-no-longer-have-landlines/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/22/cellphone-911-lack-location-data/23570499/

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/05/john-oliver-explains-why-our-911-system-needs-a-major-upgrade

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/29/why-a-cellphone-lobby-win-on-911-calls-means-more-people-will-die.html

http://www.ooma.com/blog/cutting-cord-beyond-cable/

http://www.ooma.com/blog/cutting-the-cord-in-the-workplace-cord-cutting-tips-for-small-businesses/

http://www.ooma.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9650

http://support.ooma.com/home/911-services

The Most Addictive Apps Throughout the Years

People are spending a lot of time and money on smartphone apps, and the numbers may surprise you. Did you know that 85% of smartphone usage is spent on apps? Did you realize that U.S. smartphone users access 26.7 apps per month?

Here’s a breakdown of what was downloaded, how it was used and how much money was spent.

most addictive apps

Time Spent

App usage has been increasing steadily each year. In 2012, users spent on average 23 hours and 2 minutes using apps each month. This increased to 30 hours and 15 minutes in 2013, 37 hours and 28 minutes in 2014, and then jumped to 68 hours and 12 minutes in 2015.

And this time was concentrated around just a few apps. Users spend almost 4 out of every 5 app minutes within their top 3 apps.
The most popular app categories based on usage are:social networking (29%), radio (15%), games (11%), multimedia (6%), chat (6%), music (4%), retail (3%) and news/information (3%); all others amount to 23% combined.

Just a few apps gain significant market penetration as well. 70% percent of all usage is concentrated in the top 200 apps available to consumers.

Downloads

In 2015, there were 50 billion apps downloaded on the Android platform and 25 billion downloaded on iOS.

The most popular apps of 2015 were Facebook (127 million unique users), YouTube (98 million), Facebook Messenger (96 million), Google Search (95 million), Google Play (90 million), Google Maps (88 million), Gmail (75 million), Instagram (55 million), Apple Music (54.5 million) and Apple Maps (46 million).

Notably, 3 of the top 10 apps are owned by Facebook and 5 are owned by Google.

In 2014, the most popular apps were Facebook (118 million unique users), Google Search (91 million), YouTube (88 million), Google Play (85 million), Google Maps (79 million), Gmail (72 million), Facebook Messenger (54 million), Google+ (78 million), Instagram (44 million) and Music, including iTunes Radio and iCloud (43 million).

In 2013, the most popular apps were Facebook (103 million unique users), Google Search (76 million), Google Play (74 million), YouTube (72 million), Google Maps (69 million), Gmail (64 million), Instagram (32 million), Apple Maps (32 million), Stocks (31 million) and Twitter (31 million).

You may be surprised that Candy Crush and other games are not included in these lists of the most popular apps. While gaming represents 11% of time spent, the category is fragmented by many popular games. Therefore, no gaming apps appear in the annual top 10 lists.

Money

In just 2 years, app spending doubled. In 2013, spending was $10 billion, and in 2015, it spiked to $20 billion.

The average iPhone user spent $35 on apps in 2015 (including downloaded apps and in-app purchases). Gaming apps accounted for 71% of all spending. Music-related app purchases clocked in at only 10% of spending. Social networking was just 5% of spending, and entertainment was 3% of spending.

While social networking tops the charts for both downloads and time spent using apps, games are where people are spending money. The top-grossing games are: Game of War: Fire Age, Clash of Clans, Mobile Strike, Candy Crush Saga, Clash Royale, Pokémon GO, Fate/Grand Order, Candy Crush Soda Saga and DoubleDown Slots & Casino.

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Sources:

http://www.nielsen.com
https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2015/The-2015-US-Mobile-App-Report
http://www.businessofapps.com/app-usage-statistics-2015/
http://qz.com/481245/these-are-the-25-most-popular-2015-mobile-apps-in-america/
http://time.com/4169153/apple-app-store-stats-2015/
https://sensortower.com/blog/revenue-per-iphone-2015
https://thinkgaming.com/

Use Phone Blacklisting to Stop Telemarketers and Spammers

The majority of Americans have been frustrated by unwanted phone calls. 72% of Americans registered for the National Do Not Call Registry, but the list doesn’t always keep up with the ever-changing ways telemarketers are bypassing the restrictions to deliver their spam and robocalls to customers.

With robocalls and international dialing making it easy for lobbyists, marketers, salespeople and scammers to blanket-dial phone numbers, there is a growing assault happening via our telephones. It may seem like a dream to stop the calls from bots and spammers, but it has now become a reality.

Eric Stang, CEO of Ooma, says: “With our expanded call blocking options, we’ve given consumers even greater control over who reaches them at home, halting intruders before the first ring while safely routing allowed numbers through.”

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Ooma’s smart home phone service has blocked over 36 million unwanted calls. That’s 36 million times the phone hasn’t rung and disturbed people while eating dinner, helping their kids with homework or watching a film.

Customers cite the call blocking services as one of their favorite Ooma phone features, second only to savings.

How It Works

Ooma’s robust calling blocking service includes a myriad of ways that help customers block and direct calls. More importantly, these features are continually being enhanced as new threats arise. The Expanded blacklist includes numbers from a third-party database of confirmed telemarketers, robocallers and phone spammers. These 800,000 numbers are known sources of spam. The Personal blacklist is a customizable list of numbers unique to you that blocks any number you add. The Community blacklist is a crowdsourced list of numbers built by the Ooma community. Because invasive callers are nimble, easily switching their numbers, the Community list can quickly respond to new spammers and protect everyone from these calls.

For each category, you can configure how incoming calls are treated. You can send calls to voicemail, play a disconnected message, have an infinite ring or issue a call-blocked message.

And because each household faces a different set of phone spam challenges, personal blacklists have a capacity of more than 1,000 numbers. This includes the ability to use wildcard characters to block a range of incoming phone numbers or an entire area code. In your personal blacklist, you can also block incoming calls by keyword. Perhaps you’re targeted by a political party that you don’t wish to hear from; adding keywords will prevent those calls from getting through.

Ooma Premier members can access their settings from the MyOoma page by navigating to Call Blocking under the Preferences tab. 

After your call blocking settings have been established, you’ll be able to review a list of calls that have been blocked. You’ll also be able to add or subtract numbers from your Personal blacklist.

Benefits with so many phone scams preying on the elderly, an effective call blocking service will protect your loved ones from becoming victims. Families with young children also benefit from strict enforcement of customizable call blocking features that also give customers more visibility into the calls being blocked in case adjustments need to be made. And for anyone who is seeking a greater sense of peacefulness and mindfulness in their days, preventing unwanted phone calls is a big step towards limiting distractions and creating a calm space.

Taking control of one’s own phone line and preventing unwanted calls has become a matter of personal responsibility. As telemarketers advance their technology to make more calls to more people, so too must the public advance its technology to prevent the onslaught. 

Learn more about Ooma Telo here: http://www.ooma.com/telo/.

Sources:

 http://support.ooma.com/home/personal-expanded-and-community-blacklists   https://docs.google.com/document/d/18CmQ3ovfIYT5yW6SabtmcsawEmaEHqvY2IhS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Do_Not_Call_Registry  

OOMA Telo: Your Hub for Smart Home Devices

Ooma Telo is a centralized communication hub powered by a broadband Internet connection. With Ooma you can create and enjoy a fully customized communications experience that is tailored to your specific needs based on the products and services you choose to integrate with your Ooma Telo.

ooma_home_automation

Let’s break down the features and services:

 

Home phone: With unlimited domestic calling and voicemail, this VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) service routes your calls over the Internet using either your existing phone number or a new phone number.

Accessories to the Ooma Telo include:

  • Handset (Ooma HD2): Just like the cordless handset of a typical landline phone, but this one can be placed anywhere in the house and will connect wirelessly to the Ooma Telo and features color picture ID.
  • Remote phone jack (Ooma Linx): When you don’t have the wiring in the room where you want the phone (and you don’t have an Ooma HD2 handset), all you need is an electric outlet.
  • Wi-Fi + Bluetooth adapter: Install the Ooma Telo anywhere in your home without the need for a hardwired connection into your router.

Use your cellphone (Ooma Mobile HD App): The app lets you avoid using cell phone minutes by connecting calls using Wi-Fi or a data connection.

 

Smarthome Integrations Include:
Call notifications on your cell phone (Apple iOS and Android): Did the contractor call your home line instead of your cell? Keep tabs on all phone lines at once by setting up iPhone or Android devices to notify you when your phone rings at your house or when a voicemail message is left on that line. Notifications can also be sent to Apple Watch or Android Wear devices.
Voice-activated dialing: Ooma seamlessly integrates with Amazon Echo’s voice-activated assistant, Alexa. The Echo typically provides information, music, news or weather by voice command. And now a voice command can be used to call your mom or check your voicemail.

 

Smart home integration with Nest: By integrating with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect, you can stay connected to what’s happening at your home while you’re away.

  • If your Nest Protect is triggered by a smoke alarm, you will receive a call or text on your cell phone and have the option to call 911 from your home phone so emergency responders can easily record your address.
  • If you are expecting someone to be at your house while you’re not there, the service can call your cell phone to alert you if they did not arrive on schedule.
  • While you’re away and the Nest Thermostat is in ‘Away’ mode, you can automatically receive any calls made to your home phone, directly to your cell phone so you never miss a connection. Ooma will service automatically switch back when the Nest Thermostat detects you’re in ‘Home’ mode again.

 

Google integration: Use Google’s services to manage your communications; receive notifications of incoming calls via Gmail messages, archive your voicemail messages in Google Drive and log your phone calls in Google Sheets.

 

Customize call notifications: The WeMo suite of devices lets you customize call notifications using connected home electronics.

 

Go soundless: Rather than a phone ring, your lighting can be programmed to notify you of calls or voicemails through integration with the IFTTT app and either Philips Hue light bulbs or LIFX light bulbs.

 

Voicemail backup: Never again will you lose that message with voicemails that are automatically backed up to cloud storage on Dropbox. You can archive old messages and scroll through new messages.

 

Ooma’s comprehensive integration offerings let you work with whatever smart home technology you want or already have in place.

Never fret about the call from the soccer coach you missed while you were stuck in traffic. Never again worry if you left that tea kettle on. Go hands-free with voice-activated dialing. Support communications for a growing business with plans that include up to 20 users.

Whether your communications are for personal or business use, technology integrations help you stay connected no matter where your life takes you.

5 Smart Ways for Businesses to Protect Data

Did you know that cyber attacks can cost companies millions of dollars? In fact, Business Insider found that the average cyber threat cost U.S. businesses $6.53 million. And with the “frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks” at an all-time high, don’t expect those costs to drop anytime soon.

However, you can protect your business’s data if you take these five smart steps.

Security concept

1. Know What You’re Up Against

Protecting your data starts with understanding all the external and internal risks that could affect your business. These include being aware of any vulnerabilities in your security system, understanding the motives of hackers and knowing the most common threats and schemes.

These common cyber fraud schemes and threats include:

  • Phishing and spoofing, where hackers obtain usernames and passwords through fraudulent emails and websites.
  • Hacking, where unauthorized access is granted through any accounts connected to an email or website domain.
  • Identity theft, when someone steals your name or information like your Social Security number or credit card account number.
  • Social engineering, where an attacker uses social interaction to gain information.
  • Malware threats or malicious software, which are software created by hackers to steal data.
  • Keyloggers, which will track each and every keystroke you type.

Knowing what you’re up against gives you a chance to prepare for any possible threats and have a plan in place to address them.

2. Follow the Best Security Practices

This may sound obvious, but protecting your business’s data involves following the security practices recommended by leading security experts. Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, recommends taking the following steps:

  • Updating and patching your operating systems, system software and web browsers.
  • Installing a firewall and antivirus software.
  • Encrypting your wireless network, drives, folders and files.
  • Restricting software and setting up administrative rights so nothing can be installed without your knowledge.
  • Using filtering that controls access to data.
  • Blocking access to restricted websites.
  • Implementing a strict password policy.

3. Train Employees

“Many breaches (including the Target breach in 2014) occur because employees unintentionally and unknowingly hand over sensitive business information to a hacker presenting themselves as a reputable person in need of information, or because they click on malicious links sent to them via email,” writes Kelly Spors on the American Express OPEN Forum.

“Supply your employees with best practices — such as using strong password protections and secure networks when working remotely — whenever they use personal devices such as smartphones or laptops for work,” Spors recommends. “Training employees on how to look for — and avoid — such breaches can protect a business from being the next victim.”

4. Minimize the Amount of Information You Store

The more data you store online, the more opportunities hackers have to steal data. Because of that, only store the most essential information online, specifically in the cloud. For example, when you store the names of your customers, don’t include each and every piece of information you have about them, such as their birth dates or Social Security numbers. If possible, limit the information to only their name and contact information.

5. Disconnect

A 2014 study from Ericsson found that the average American home has more than five machines connected to the Internet. Now, just imagine how many devices a business is running and the task of keeping track of which devices are online and which are offline.

In fact, Verizon discovered that “a quarter of the breaches were the result of hackers getting in through a machine that didn’t need to be online.” Mike Denning, vice president of global security at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, tells The Wall Street Journal that you should only have the necessary machines online.

How have you been able to protect your business’s data?

Sources:
http://www.businessinsider.com/cyber-attacks-are-costing-companies-millions-of-dollars-heres-how-they-can-mitigate-those-costs-2016-2
https://www.connectonebank.com/GeneralInfo/AboutConnectOneBank/CyberSecurity/Understanding.aspx
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238369
https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/3-key-ways-to-protect-your-business-from-hackers/
http://www.wsj.com/articles/five-simple-steps-to-protect-corporate-data-1429499477

Recent Interview with Ooma Office Customer: BabyWit

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 12.43.32 PMOoma recently partnered with Ebong Eka (www.ebongeka.com) to interview Rosalee Rester, the marketing and production manager for Baby Wit (www.babywit.com), on Facebook Live and Periscope to learn how Baby Wit markets their business. Through the interview we concluded that entrepreneurs face the following two big challenges:

The first challenge – Reasons for starting a business.

There are many reasons for starting a business. One of the most common reasons is to solve a problem the entrepreneur currently has. Whether you hear this story on Shark Tank, Entrepreneur Magazine or at your local Small Business Administration Office, the story remains the same:

“I had a problem and couldn’t find the solution in a store – so I created it myself!”-Rosalee Rester- BabyWit

BabyWit.com was started back in 2003. Babywit.com creates quirky, eclectic T-shirts that show the world your baby has serious style. They have the largest collection of comic infant and toddler T-shirts on the Internet. Babywit.com was founded by a stay-at-home mom with a sense of humor who refused to resign herself to dressing her daughter in bland T-shirts covered in bears or other equally uninteresting creatures.

The second challenge: How do you market to your customers so they buy from you? BabyWit.com solves a problem mothers and fathers had but how do they let people know they exist?

Here are some of Rosalee’s best marketing tips for your small business to tackle the second challenge listed above:

1. “Mom – Co-ops”: Find people who love your product or service to become advocates for your business through superior customer service. Improve the experience of your current customers and they will become your greatest marketing team.

2. Your phone system can be one of your biggest customer service aids. BabyWit loves Ooma Office’s “Virtual Receptionist” feature to field customer calls like a large company would have.

3. Be receptive to trends by using social media and newsletters to reach your customers!

Overcoming those two challenges has helped BabyWit.com become a household name in the toddler e-tailer space.

Cutting the Cord in the Workplace – 5 Essential Cord-Cutting Tips for Small Businesses

Digital D-Day

Homeowners aren’t the only customers contemplating whether or not to cut the cord. Small business owners are also ditching their landlines and going wireless thanks to new wireless gadgets and mobile devices.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not it’s time to cut the cord in the workplace, here are five essential tips to go over before making an impulse decision.

 

 

1. Review the pros and cons.

Before you make the decision to cut the cord, you should first weigh the pros and cons of cutting your landline service.

Pro: Your business will save money.

No surprise here. A landline with basic features can cost you between $15 and $30 per month. And that’s just for basic service.

Even if you bundle your phone service with your cable or Internet, you’re still looking at an expensive bill that costs around $165 a month.

There are a number of free services that allow you to make calls to anyone in the world. However, there are also VoIP services like Ooma that come equipped with features specifically designed for the small business owner. These features include everything from a virtual receptionist to conferencing, extension dialing and music-on-hold for just $19.95 a month.

Con: Quality and emergencies.

Business owners who rely solely on mobile devices have claimed that they sometimes experience sound quality that isn’t as clear as a landline. There’s also the possibility that calls can get dropped. And what if the power goes out? Your wireless device is useless — and so is your smartphone once the battery is dead.

While this is definitely a concern, VoIP companies are working on improving their sound quality. Ooma offers its patented PureVoice HD technology to deliver crystal-clear calls through your high-speed Internet. Ooma also syncs with your mobile device, so you’ll always have access to a phone no matter the circumstances.

Pro: You increase mobility.

We’ll dive more into the topic later, but when you cut the cord, you are able to increase your mobility. This doesn’t just mean having phone access when you’re out of your office, but also within your home.

Instead of having to work in a location that isn’t the most productive, you can now select a better spot for your office. This is especially true if you work from home and only have a landline in your kitchen or living room. Katie Mazzocco, founder of Full Spectrum Productivity, suggests you select “a quiet, low-traffic area of the house,” as well as “a room with a door.” Mazzocco adds, “You get extra bonus points if the space inspires and uplifts you. A sunlit room also gets extra bonus points.”

Cutting the cord gives you this opportunity.

Con: Landlines are susceptible to spam.

Even if you’re on the Do Not Call Registry, telemarketers have been able to get around this. When you’re trying to prevent distractions, constantly receiving calls from telemarketers is a nuisance.

Unlike landline providers, online phone companies and VoIP services have robust blacklisting capabilities that prevent spammers and robocallers from interrupting your workday.

2. Make sure you have the right “broadband” speed.

For you to effectively cut the cord, you need to have the proper broadband speed. The FCC suggests that this is around 25 Mbps/3 Mbps.

This probably isn’t a concern for offices located in more populated areas, but rural business owners may not have access to these broadband speeds. In fact, 55 million Americans, or about 17% of the population, lack access to advanced broadband.

If you do have access to this speed but haven’t changed your plan, make sure you do so as soon as possible.

3. Select the right services.

Do your homework when selecting services that can help your business cut the cord.

The first service to investigate is your Internet provider. Compare prices and the broadband speed that each provider offers. Don’t settle on the first offer. And crunch the numbers if you’re offered a bundle “deal.” It may sound inexpensive initially, but as mentioned earlier, it can end up costing you more in the long run.

The second service you have to consider is for your mobile devices. Again, compare limited in the features they offer, as well as sound quality. Remember, free doesn’t always mean it’s better.

4. Create a wireless office.

Michael Mehlberg, co-founder focused on technology and business development for Modern da Vinci, recommends that your office has everything in reach. “Pens, paper, computer, printer, files, research books and anything else you need to get your job done. Even the smallest hurdle can cause hours of procrastination.”

Thankfully, there are more than enough gadgets to make sure you have everything in reach, as well as keep your office organized.

These gadgets include:

5. Go mobile.

As previously mentioned, one of the greatest advantages of cutting the cord is the ability to be mobile. This means you can make or receive calls no matter where you are.

Ooma, for example, offers a mobile app you can install on your smartphone so you’ll never miss an important business call when you’re not in the office.

Have you cut the cord in your workplace? If so, share your experience with us in the comment section below.

Source List -

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/10/08/is-it-finally-time-to-get-rid-of-your-landline

http://www.ooma.com/

http://support.ooma.com/home/personal-expanded-and-community-blacklists

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2476015,00.asp

 

 

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