All posts by John Hagan

5G Overview

An Overview of 5G Service

What is 5G?

5G is simply the next numbered generation following 4G, which replaced the previous wireless communication technologies. Much like the generations before it, 5G aims to make mobile communication faster and more reliable as more and more devices go online.

Compared to the current 4G technology, 5Gg is an exponentially faster way to deliver internet traffic. For comparison, the average mobile download speed across the U.S. 5G Compareas reported by Speedtest.net in the first half of 2018 was around 27 Mbps — over 3.5 times slower than what’s expected from 5G.

 

The analyst firm Gartner estimates that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices (some even estimate this number to be closer to 100 billion). All of these devices will make up the Internet of Things (IoT), a giant network of connected “things” (including people). This network will be made up of connections between people and people, people and things, and things and things. As billions more devices connect to the web, the supporting infrastructure needs to support faster connections as well as far better handling of simultaneous connections while providing broader coverage for these devices. This is what 5G is all about.

What Will 5G Be Used For?

Contrary to what you would expect, 5G is not just about better mobile phone service. The key benefit of 5G is ultra-fast connections and minimal delays. Of course, 5G will still pave the way for smoother connectivity with our everyday devices, like when gaming, making video calls, streaming movies, downloading files, sharing HD and 4K media, receiving real-time traffic updates, etc.

The great wide open of 5G is around applications such as autonomous cars avoiding sudden collisions and understanding proper turn-by-turn directions, remotely operated hardware, and robotic systems that learn or abide by remote controllers such as surgeries where the doctor and patient are miles apart. These applications require a tremendous amount of bandwidth and need to communicate over the internet as quickly as possible to provide their intended effects. Any latency at all can drastically impact how real things feel in those environments.

Another big benefit of 5G is that it is so fast that it won’t just be available for mobile devices. It has the potential to replace your cable through fixed wireless access. Equipment is still being tested in the labs but engineers are testing customer based receivers that will surpass cable and fiber speeds without pulling any cable or digging any trenches.  

When is it going to arrive?

The timeframe for 5G service availability depends not only on where you live but also which service providers are available in your area. There is a good possibility that North Americans will see 5G networks in test markets pop up as early as 2018, but it won’t take off until 2020. As with any new technology, actual delivery dates, coverage areas and capabilities will change over the next couple of years as we get closer to release. Check in with your provider’s website every so often to watch their roll out plans as they tighten up. Your telecom broker should also be up to date with what will be available in your area and what the providers will be offering.

 

John HaganTeledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Telecom Broker Considerations

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Telecom Broker

Businesses have more options than ever when it comes to choosing a Telecom Broker.  Here are some things to consider when making a decision that can achieve optimal performance and best value for your situation.

Experience:

  • How many years of experience does your Telecom Broker have working withTelecom Broker Service customers and suppliers?
  • With all the rapid changes in Telecom, how does your Telecom Broker stay informed with the latest technology and options available?
  • If your business has multiple locations or international offices, does your Telecom Broker have the resources and experience in working with multi-site companies?

Right Provider – Right Solution – Right Price

  • Can your Telecom Broker offer you real time price comparisons between service providers to make sure you are getting the best price?
  • Is your Telecom Broker able to provide you with bids from multiple vendors that include wholesale options?
  • Does your Telecom Broker have the experience to review telecom service contracts and identify any services that may need changing?

Value

  • Will your Telecom Broker manage telecom installs, and do they have a support or project manager to assist?
  • What type of resources are available from your Telecom Broker to assist your business when a telecom outage happens?
  • As the market place changes, will your Telecom Broker be proactive in updating you of the latest telecom mergers, changes and acquisitions that may affect your business?

There are a lot of Telecom Brokers out there competing for your business. By keeping these considerations in mind, you can be assured that you will be going into your broker selection process with the right questions that will assure you make the right choice.

 

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Moving Your Business

Telecom Considerations Before Moving Your Business

Moving your business to a new location (or opening a new location) can be an exciting experience. Before you make that final commitment, it is important to consider how your telecom services may be impacted. Many leases are signed without realizing the effects this can have on their telecom spend, and the services they will need to support their business.

Before you sign the lease, consider the following:

  • Current internet bandwidth:  Is your current Internet service supporting usage? Before you move, determine your current and future telecom needs.
  • Carrier availability:  Your existing or preferred carrier, service and product of choice may not be available at your new location. We can provide this information quickly to help you make an educated decision.
  • Determine Pricing:  Depending on who the underlying carrier is, costs will vary. A great price or the same price isn’t always guaranteed when moving. Let us assess to provide an accurate cost summary.Moving Your Business
  • Termination and Change Fees:  Not all carriers will move your services without charging ETF’s (early termination fees). Investigating other carriers servicing the area may result in better service at a lower price, negating these costs.
  • Construction Costs:  A construction effort may be required to get the contracted services to your office incurring additional costs, even in areas where services are already available. Make sure you know going in what that could look like.
  • Timeframe: Timeframes to install service can go past 120 days. Make sure you are looking at your options well in advance.
  • Cutover:  Tight planning and coordination with your IT Department, Service Providers and Building managers is critical to a smooth cutover to the new location. Make sure the new systems are thoroughly tested before you go “Live” in the new location. Resolving issues after you go live is exponentially more costly and impactful that before you are relying on them.
  • Disconnects:  Don’t forget to cancel your services and return any leased hardware after your new services are up and running. We can guide you on how to do so.

If you are considering moving, Teledata Select, can provide you with the proper paperwork and help coordinate your move. Reach out to me and let’s weigh your options.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system

Network Security

Securing Your Home Wireless Network

Laptop HackerMany folks spend more and more time working from home which can be a great time saver.  My wife has worked out of our home for many years and finds she is more productive avoiding the time and stress of driving to the office.

The downside of working from home is that the company’s data security is generally at the mercy of the employee’s home network setup.  Everyone should be sure that if anyone in their home is connecting to a company or even a school network, they need to be sure that the security of their home network is robust and up to date.

Jack Marder with Zanacore Technologies here in Atlanta provides a full range of IT support. Below are a few of his pointers on how to begin securing your home network:

  • Be aware of when you are sharing data. If you have any files in a public folder, move them to a more secure location.
  • Use a strong password for all your wireless networks. A string of letters, number and symbols about 14 characters long is best.
  • Use WPA2 security. Make sure your router is set up correctly. If you are using WEP or WPA security, change it as soon as possible.
  • Change your network’s name (SSID). Routers come with a default name and keeping the default tells potential intruders lax security measures may be in place.
  • Assign Static IP Addresses to Devices. Most home networks use a dynamic IP address. This is easy to set up but works to the advantage of the intruder.

In addition to making sure that the network is configured with the tightest safety settings, it also important to keep your home network patched to the latest updates. Visit your router manufacturers website on a regular basis to get the latest patches.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

Business Phone

Business Phone Solutions? VoIP Is The Future.

It was not that long ago that many of us did not know what VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) was all about. Most business phone systems were hidden away in the phone room, a back hall closet or the copier room. The phone system worked but we had to relearn it each time we needed to make changes to voicemail, auto attendant or add a new user. If the company we bought the phone system from was even still in business, were they still supporting it? Or did id just become an unsupported technological drag on our company’s growth.

The popularity and ease of use of VoIP is a driving factor in the evolution of VoIP. According to The VoIP report, VOIP users are expected to break 2 billion and will continue to rise 10% each year through 2021. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of traditional telephone landlines are being canceled each month and replaced with Voice over Internet services. 

If you are struggling with your business phone system or paying someone else a lot of Business Phone Systemmoney to struggle with it, it might be time to see what all this buzz is about get educated about what VoIP can offer you and your company. 

With an understanding of how you use your current business phone system in hand, below are 5 topics to discuss with any prospective service provider?  

  • Their reliability metrics and reputation for service.
  • How often do the rollout new technology upgrades.
  • Have then explain their backup, redundancy & security methods and policies.
  • Understand their SLA offerings and contract terms as they relate to your business model.
  • Ask how they assure billing accuracy and support customer questions after the sale.

In our experience, transitioning from a premise based business Phone System to a VoIP solution can be a very seamless experience. The hardest part really is choosing from the many providers.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

This is Channel Partner’s Week in Las Vegas

It has already been a year since we were last in Las Vegas for the Channel Partner Channel Partner's ExpoConference and Expo. It is always a great opportunity to meet with service providers, manufacturers and resellers. We get to stay up to date on what’s new and what’s coming in the telecom services world…..and maybe take in a show or two. If any of you are out here too, contact us. We would love to see you.

 

 

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides voice, data, mobile and cloud business solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact the TeleData Select team at 404-257-1502 or CONTACT US  for via email for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of upgrading to a new cloud based contact center.

 

 

Customer Service Team

Questions To Ask When Reviewing A Cloud Based Contact Center Solution

In a previous blog article, we stated that it might be a good time to consider moving your Contact Center to the Cloud. This post is going a step further and provide you with a few questions to ask prospective contact center cloud suppliers.

  1. Unified Platform
    Does their contact center solution manage the end-to-end user experience?
    Does it consolidate your infrastructure and connectivity into one.
  2. MultiChannel/Omnichannel
    What communication methods are supported and are they integrated?
    How easily can their system make changes to the call routing setup?
  3. Scalability and Reliability
    Does their platform have a published uptime guarantee?
    What is the fail over and redundancy features, any options for SD-WAN?
  4. Cloud Expertise
    Is their solution 100% cloud-focused?
    How long have they been in business?
  5. Support
    How much experience does their support team have in implementation and best practices?  Do they come on site to train my users on the system?
  6. Maturity
    How many companies have adopted their solution and who are they?
    Can they provide references?
  7. Scalability
    How many agents can you support across all customers?
    How many interactions are supported at a time?

We hope these questions will help you move in the right direction as you decide if a cloud contact center is for you.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides voice, data, mobile and cloud business solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact the TeleData Select team at 404-257-1502 or CONTACT US  for via email for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of upgrading to a new cloud based contact center.

Reasons To Consider A Cloud Based Contact Center

Does your company make outbound calls to customers or receive inbound calls?  How do you manage your sales force, provide customer service, or offer help desk support? Do you employ home based call center agents.  Do you currently have an onsite phone system (more technically known as a PBX) that you manage?    As organizations continue to embrace having their applications, services and phone systems in the Cloud, it may be time for you a cloud Based Contact Center too.

Below are good reasons to consider a cloud based contact center.

  • Improved overall experience for your customers.
  • Easy way to improve and develop more productive sales agents.
  • Expands customer communication channels like email, chat, social media and mobile.
  • Can eliminate the effort around managing your current contact center software.
  • Greater operational visibility into your call center agents’ activity.  i.e. Monitor calls, listen to the conversations.
  • Better call data reporting and analytics.
  • Easy to change and administer with minimal agent training.
  • Cloud based contact centers have a lower cost of ownership.
  • Can be integrated with CRM databases like Salesforce, Zoho or your proprietary customer database.

Today’s customers are very demanding. They want faster service, knowledgeable agents, and new ways to communicate.   Business conditions can change overnight and call volumes go up and down.  Providing the infrastructure, installing and managing the call center tools you need to support your business is an expensive and time consuming effort. A cloud based solution is a good alternative that should be investigated.

Our next blog will talk about what questions to ask your contact center sales person.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides voice, data, mobile and cloud business solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact the Teledata Select team at 404-257-1502 or send us a note via this CONTACT US LINK for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

Cost Cutting Sign

Cost Containment Can Lower Your Telecom Expenses

For too long, we have watched companies scale back critical segments of their businesses.   From employee head counts and marketing budgets to mission critical customer service functions, all have been impacted.   However, as the economy continues to improve, we are seeing more and more companies starting to move back into growth mode. They are reviewing their telecom services as they relate to security, compliance, internet speeds, VoIP phone systems and more. 

 The smart ones are looking at their services with an eye for value and quality. Which ones are worth their cost and which ones are wasting money. They are wise to look for ways to reduce your operating costs, especially costs that are not advancing your business goals.

A good place to start looking for wasted money, is your telecom bill. Let’s face it:  phone and telecom bills are loaded with carrier cost recover fees and no-published fees like FCC, USLC, E911, FLSC charges and who knows what else.  Did you ever wonder what all these fees are for?  Some other items to watch out for are automatic renewals.  

Additionally, if your business has multiple locations with numerous phone lines, faxes, modems, fire and security alarm lines, you may no longer know what exactly you are getting billed for. You might even be able to just cancel some non-necessary telecom lines to reduce your overall telecom costs. 

Your first step to saving money is to perform a Cost Containment Audit. The audit will review all of your telecom bills, looking for overcharges and unused services to uncover wasted dollars. You owe it to your company’s bottom line to look at all expenses. 

Teledata Select offers a complimentary Cost Containment Audit of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses.

Handshake

The Benefits of a Telecom Aggregator

The telecom industry changes rapidly, in both the technology available and the costs to get and use it. It is hard for a small business to stay competitive if it is not keeping up with the technology available to it. That is where a Telecom Aggregator comes in.

Broker HandsTelecom Aggregators have established agreements with the local telecom service providers to resell their services. Typically, Aggregators can offer these services at a discount.

Aggregators are the single point of contact for all the services that they have resold. This allows for a simpler customer service experience when questions arise or services need to be changed.

The benefit becomes most apparent when a company with multiple locations gets bills and communication from multiple service providers.
Some of the benefits that Telecom Aggregators can provide are:

  • A single source for access to the best rates and service offerings for Data, Voice T1, PRI, POTS (Plain Old Telephone Lines), MPLS, Private line and wireless.
  • Provides cost saving alternatives for 800 inbound and International long distance.
  • Takes responsibility for verifying that bills are accurate and meet contractual obligations.
  • Delivers a comprehensive portfolio of service solutions to streamline costs.
  • Assembles, manages and seamlessly integrates multiple network providers into a single customer solution.
  • Provides carrier portfolio and solution expertise to address clients evolving growth initiatives.
  • Customizes telecom expense reporting for multi-locations.
  • Allows invoices to be paid by parent or individual sub-location.
  • Provides on One call for support and trouble resolution.
  • Improves overall support and simplify the customer experience.

In short, Telecom Aggregators shoulder the burden of negotiating with the service providers before the sale, managing the service installation(s) and handling customer service interactions after the sale. A good Telecom Aggregator provides a dedicated team that can handle any and all issues for all voice, data and cloud services.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

SD-WAN Logo

What are SD-WAN Benefits

The number of implementations of SD-WAN is growing by leaps and bounds. According to Gartner, spending on SD-WAN products will rise from the $129 million spent in 2016 to $1.24 billion in 2020. It is really only recently that it has crossed over into a widely accepted solution for WAN management, especially in the small and medium sized business market. We are getting a lot of questions about so I thought I would provide a non technical overview of what it is and why you might want it.

Before we get too far into the benefits, let’s define SD-WAN. Software-Defined WAN is a technology that distributes network traffic across traffic between the main office, branch/home offices and data center sites. It uses networking concepts that have been used to manage Datacenter Traffic to automatically determine the most effective way to route the traffic across Wide Area Networks.

SD-WAN Map

 

The main goal of SD-WAN technology is to deliver a secure reliable WAN connection with as much software-based technology as possible. This can be used to deliver basic WAN connectivity, or it can be used for premium business services such as VPN, WAN optimization, and applications delivery control.

I see four benefits to why a customer might want to implement SD WAN

  1. Lower cost for more bandwidth – If you have an MPLS implementation, you know that you are locked into a single provider for all of your endpoints that have top speed limits. On the other hand, SD-WAN is provider agnostic. It allows for multiple cheaper broadband connections of whatever type is available. The multiple conenctions can be blended to provide higher bandwidth.
  2. Provide backup internet connection in the event the primary internet circuit does down – The World’s Busiest Airport, Hartsfield Jackson, had a major power outage effecting thousands of people during the busiest travel time of the year. The first thing that I thought of was where was their backup power? Didn’t they have emergency generators and power coming from two sources.
    By implementing an SD WAN solution – this would provide an alternative pathway to keep their internet service working in the event of an outage. However, it is important to note that you should consider two diverse carrier or telecom provider pathways. Best practices for reliable uptime state that there should be at least 2 separate internet connections from different providers over separate pathways.
  1. Reduce costs by adding a backup disaster option – Not all that long ago, true QoS (Quality of service) for Voice over Internet telephone service, Telecom providers would recommend using a Managed Network to Network circuit called MPLS to connect your VoIP voice services. However, with the internet getting better and latency being reduced, many carriers are now OK with almost true QoS by using SD-WAN. By using two internet service providers plugged into an SD-WAN device, the voice and data packets are carried over the carrier with the least latency. Kind of like driving down the interstate highway using switching lanes to the least congested lane. By canceling out the managed circuit from a VoIP provider, you could potentially offset the cost of a second internet circuit and implement SD-WAN while still providing QoS.
  1. Peace of mind – Most of us would be OK if we lost our phone service for a while, but not so happy about losing an internet connection. I remember not so long ago, it was worth it to pay the $20.00 a month at a Starbucks to use their internet service. The same with airports and hotels. Luckily, those days are gone but our need to be on a good internet is greater than ever. A redundant internet connection is a core benefit for SD-WAN and removes the uncertainty of the impact of a single provider’s internet service going out.

Although a newer technology, SD-WAN has been living up to its billing as a tool that can provide greater business capabilities at a lower cost. Reviewing how SD-WAN benefits can support your business is worth your time.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

baby NY and Father Time

Looking back on Technology

While walking the aisles of Best Buy the other day, I got to thinking about how far technology has come in my life time. It is said that the cell phone in your pocket has 1000’s of times more computing power than the computer that got the Apollo 11 to the moon and back. I thought it would be fun to see how much 2017 technology used by us consumers has changed over the years.  

Computers:

Dual Floppy Disk Drives were how we shared information before the internet and computer viruses. At 1.44 megabytes, they wouldn’t come close to being able to store a single picture from your phone, a single MP3 song or the average Kindle Book.

Old Desktop PC        Tablet Computer

Phones:

When a phone was just a phone but one of the coolest things you thought you would ever see.

Old Brick Phone               iPhone X    

Cable TV:

Unless you count a younger sibling that you could order around, the first cable box didn’t have a remote and needed a clear channel 2 or 3 to work on.

Old Cable Box       Cable Channel Lineup Screen             

Video Rental:

Remember “Be Kind, Rewind”?

Blockbuster Sign    Netflix Home Screen

Video Gaming:

It would be an interesting test to see how long the original game of pong would keep a gamer’s attention today…..

    Modern Gamer Setup 

Watches:

Its amazing how a smart watch went from Nerd to Hip!

Calculator Watch    Smart Watch        

 

Sure, I still don’t have flying car in my garage but we definitely have come a long way in a very short time. The really impressive thing about these advancements is that with all of these giant step advancements, the prices continues to fall making them available to wider and wider audiences. This pushes demand for more and more technology that makes people’s lives better and look forward to using.

We look forward to updating this post next year to see how the photos above will change and what photos we use that we can’t even imagine now. Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2018.

 

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Keypad

How Do Your Customers Relate To Your Auto Attendant?

It is said that you never get a second chance at a first impression. When your customers call your business, what is their first impression? How many buttons do they need to press to answer the question they are asking? Do they get lost in the key pad maze of voice mail prompts and computerized voices that is all to frequent as companiesAuto Attendant Maze try to offload customer service to the auto attendant? It is very important to pay close attention to what your customers experience when they call your business.

Below are 10 good items to think about when setting up your business incoming call flow and your business auto attendant:

  • How many options are you going to provide in the prompts?
  • Is your auto attendant a backup to calls being answered by a live person when they are busy or otherwise?
  • Does the auto attendant greeting sound professional?
  • If the receptionist is busy, how many rings should a customer have before the auto attendant engages?
  • Do you have an afterhours auto attendant that provides callers a way to reach someone in the office after the receptionist leaves? i.e. Dial by name directory?
  • If you have multiple offices, does your business have a consistent message at each office?
  • Music on hold is a way to let customers know that their call has not been dropped. Are you using the  ‘canned” music that comes with your phone system? How is the sound quality?
  • What do callers experience when calls are forwarded to other users?  Do you provide your callers a warm transfer or does the receptionist just forward calls directly to the extension?
  • Can the receptionist provide the caller options in cases like the called party is on the phone or would you like to leave a message in their voicemail?
  • Have you changed the canned auto attendant greetings? When I call customers and here a greeting, many times I can tell what phone system or voice mail system a customer is using.    Example:  “You have reached our ShoreTel Voice Mail, please leave a message for John Doe”

It pays for every business to spend a little extra time on their their company greeting. Fine tuning your auto attendant, individual voicemails and music on hold will provide a good overall customer experience for inbound callers.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Georgia serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for High speed business internet via fiber, coax, satellite and wi-fi along with custom solutions for a full featured business Voice over IP (VoIP) phone system.   Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services.

Handshake

Cisco’s Broadsoft Acquistion. Good for the customers?

Internet Hardware manufacturer Cisco just announced that they are buying BroadSoft, the technology innovator in cloud PBX, hosted VoIP, unified communications, andCisco Logo contact center solutions for businesses and service providers across 80 countries. The deal, worth $1.9 billion is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

This deal is expected to allow Cisco to further diversify away from its stagnating switch and router business. It would also give Cisco a stronger foothold inBroadsoft Logo selling unified communications software to big telecom firms.

As for Broadsoft, my first reaction is this could be a good thing for their customer base. Cisco has deep pockets to invest in Broadsoft’s software offering. Of course time will tell how the transition goes, but it is in Cisco’s best interest to keep Broadsoft’s over 500 service providers worldwide supporting millions of subscribers.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Crowded Office

Getting To Simple, Aggregating your Telecom Service.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the owners of companies with multiple locations. They were looking for a way to consolidate all of their telecom bills into one easy to manage invoice. By the end of the discussion, I realized that they were really looking for a simpler way to manage their Telecom services; Consolidation of multiple invoices, reduce overall cost, receive better service and support when ordering or downsizing telecom services and have just one company to call that can handle all their needs.

Studies have shown that over 60% of companies with multiple locations are unaware of their exact communication cost. The bills can vary in format depending on vendor and location. Billing ConsolidationSome can contain hundreds of pages. To add further complexity, monthly invoices can have different rates plans, contract terms and details of charges that are very difficult to review.

If it gets done at all, reviewing and insuring that telecom bills are correct is a time consuming task for a company’s IT and Accounts Payable teams.

So what’s the answer? More and more companies are hiring an aggregator service to manage their telecom vendors. An aggregator becomes the single face to a customer to all of their telecom suppliers. They combine invoices, insure their accuracy and manage the resolution of any discrepancy. They’ll manage any service changes that the company has requested.

There are many Aggregating services out there. Before selecting one, ask the following questions:

  1. Can I have one bill for all of my telecom services?
  2. Is your service compatible with my accounting software?
  3. How many telecom carriers can you consolidate onto one invoice?
  4. Do you have a dedicated project manager or one point of contact?
  5. Which vendors do you have experience with and how long have you been in business?
  6. Can you absorb my existing contracts or I do not have to pay early termination for conversion?
  7. Do you have an easy to use invoice and can you show me an example?
  8. When I have an issue or need support, who do I call?

In conclusion, the right aggregator is a good solution for many telecom users, be they companies with multiple locations or even a single location with multiple vendors. The important thing is hiring the right aggregator.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

Austin Mural

We are at the Channel Partners Evolution Conference

Channel Partners Evolution Logo

Hello from the Great State of Texas, Austin in particular. We are here for the 2017 Channel Partners Evolution Conference. The theme this year is about how solution providers must evolve to meet the changing needs of the end customers. There will be presentations of the latest technology offerings, innovative business strategies, speakers from the industry and more. Agents, VARs, MSPs, integrators and consultants will converge to meet vendors with state-of-the-art services and partner programs, network with peers and take in a new slate of educational programming.

It will be a busy couple of days but don’t doubt that we won’t be taking in some of that famous Texas BBQ that we have been hearing so much about.

Follow us on twitter as we update you on the comings and goings.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Broker Hands

9 Top Reasons To Use A Telecom Broker

A Telecom Broker is a person that acts as an agent to a Business, Non-Profit or Government Entity that is looking to change, upgrade or streamline their telecommunications service(s). The following nine items describe what a Telecom Broker can do for you.

  1. Multiple Carrier Options: There are numerous telecom providers out there and they all want your business, whether they deserve it or not. A good Telecom Broker will learn how your business uses telecommunications and represent you to all the vendors that they know can meet your needs. You get to deal with just the broker rather all of the sales people from all the companies that may or may not be able to meet your needs. A good broker will have contacts with many carriers and vendors which means he or she can quickly acquire quotes and information without you having to request it yourself.
  2. More Expertise: A typical telecommunications company can have as much as 50% sales staff turnover each year and end up hiring inexperienced sales people to fill positions. Telecom Brokers have had years of experience working with various telecom companies, they understand technology and are able to compare company A with company B.
  3. Satisfaction: Telecom Brokers long term success is dependent on the ongoing satisfaction of their customers. Each month, Telecom Brokers get paid a small (residual) commission to manage the telecommunication service of their customers. This ensures that Telecom Brokers/Consultants continue to provide clients with exceptional customer service for years.
  4. Vendor Access: The Telecom Broker works with the vendors everyday and has the contacts and back channel communication lines that are built over years of working with them. This knowledge can speed
  5. Industry Knowledge: Some telecom providers provide great pricing, but they take forever to install the services, others have poor billing or are unorganized. Good Telecom Brokers can explain the good and bad of each carrier and what to expect.
  6. No Sales Quotas: Many telecom providers put their sales people under unrealistic sales quotas and end up with pushy unprofessional sales staff and high turnover. Telecom Brokers have a vested interest in a customer’s long term success, helping customers make informed educated decisions without the need of sales quotas.
  7. Single Point of Contact: After the contract is signed, the real work begins; site visits, running cabling, hardware installs, training and vendor coordination all take time, effort and company resources. A good broker will shoulder the overall project management, escalate, troubleshoot or get resolutions resolved much faster than if you were dealing directly with a telecom provider
  8. Consolidation: Many companies with multiple locations and difference providers get multiple bills and need help consolidating services. Good Telecom Brokers understand “Telecom Aggregation” consolidating multiple services on one bill and providing a “one stop shopping” model that saves time and money.
  9. Pricing and Support: In some cases Telecom Brokers have access to better rates than their customers might get by going directly to the telecom company. In fact, many Telecom companies, in an effort to reduce costs, have reduced their sales staffs and only work with “indirect” or Telecom Brokers.

In short, a Broker uses their knowledge and experience of the industry to make sure that the telecom solution selected provides the best possible service at the lowest possible price.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

About TDS

Thinking About Going To VoIP? Here Are Some Considerations

More and more business are moving their telephone service over to the internet. Before you make the decision to switch your service, I wanted you to have a basic understanding on what information you should have to make the right decision.

Features – The best way to know what features you need is to understand how your business works. Having that understanding, you’ll be better able to choose a service that provides the features that you’ll actually use. If you don’t have a receptionist, an auto attendant feature can handle incoming calls. “Hot Desking” is the ability of logging into anyone’s phone and have it appear as your own. This feature works great for medical practices who have rotating staff working the front desk. Voicemails converted to email can speed up your call handling and create easily retrievable call records. If you have a mobile employee base, mobile twinning (sending calls to both a cell phone and desk phone at the same time) will allow for quicker response time. These are just a small sample of features available. More are coming everyday. By understanding how your office flows and what image you want to project to outside callers, you will be better able to choose the right feature set for your phone system.

Equipment – Many VoIP vendors also sell or lease phones with their service. It is best to do your research on the brands offered for quality and reliability. Weigh the benefits of proprietary equipment vs independent brands. Understand the budget impacts of purchasing the equipment versus leasing it. Analyze the phone needs of your employees: Does each user on the system need a fancy phone with lots of features or can they do their job with a just two or three features. A good provider should be able to offer multiple phone options as your business grows and expands.

Call Quality – This is where the rubber meets the road. You can have all the coolest and latest features available but if your callers experience poor VoIP call quality, your business will be negatively impacted. VoIP uses your internet connection to handle phone calls as well as all of your internet traffic. It is important to size your internet service appropriately. Some carriers provide an extra layer of call quality by using a managed router. Make sure you know the difference between managed and unmanaged services, there can be a big difference in call quality.

After the Sale – Before deciding on a vendor, research what other customers experience is with the vendors you are looking at. Make sure you know how long the provider has been in business, how many customers they support as well as the types of customers.

Pricing – Telecom providers can offer confusing pricing schedules and bundles. The best solution to getting the best price is to fully understand what you need. If you buy less or more than you need, you are wasting your money. The other factor in pricing is the length of contract. This is a balancing act between the lower pricing of a long term contract versus being locked into a solution. This is where knowing the reliability of the company after the sale, the quality of the service, and the ability of the contract to support your company’s growth and changes.

 

Summary – This is just an overview to show you that there are a lot of things to consider when start thinking about changing your phone service. Our advice is take the time to understand how your business communicates. You’ll be in a better position to make decisions though the sales process.

 

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Telecom Bill Image

Getting to Know Your Telecom Bill

Teledata Select is expert in reviewing business telecom expenses with an eye for finding inefficiencies, errors and opportunities for cost savings. After all these years of reviewing phone bills, we still shake our head in bemusement at the myriad of fees, taxes and service charges that hide in plain site on a phone bill. By hiding in plain sight, I mean all of those cryptic charges that add up to a big chunk of your bill every month.

For this blog entry, I wanted to take some time to explain what some of these charges are.

There is no standard bill format among the Service Providers. But they all contain federal, state and local regulatory taxes and fees that are  passed along to the consumer.  Additionally there are Telco imposed fees and surcharges that may or may not be passed on to the customer. The latter depends on how your contract is written.

  • A Federal Excise Tax, currently at 3 percent, is charged on your telephone local service charges.
  • Depending on where you live, taxes may be imposed by state, local, and municipal governments on your phone service.
  • Emergency 911 Access is a fee imposed to help pay for the technology needed to help local governments pay for emergency services such as fire and rescue.
  • Local telephone companies are allowed to bill customers for a portion of what it costs to provide access to their local networks. These charges are not a government charge or tax. The maximum allowable access charges per telephone line are set by the FCC, but local telephone companies are free to charge less, or even nothing at all.
  • Access charges for additional lines at the same residence may be higher than charges for the primary line. These charges may be described on your bill as “Federal Access Charge,” “Customer or Subscriber Line Charge,” “Interstate Access Charge,” or the like. State public service commissions regulate access charges for intrastate (within a state) calls. However, the fee is regulated and capped by the FCC. It is not a tax or a fee charged by the government. The money received from the subscriber line charge goes directly to local telephone companies.
  • All telecommunications service providers must contribute to the “Federal Universal Service Fund”, which helps people in rural and high-cost areas, and income-eligible consumers, get access to telecommunications services at reasonable rates. The FCC does not require this charge to be passed on to you, but service providers are allowed to do so.  These charges usually appear as a percentage of your phone bill.
  • A “Federal Universal Service Fee” line item may appear on your telephone bill when your service provider chooses to recover their USF contributions from the customer. Companies cannot collect an amount that exceeds the percentage of their own contributions to the USF.
  • Local Number Portability– For keeping your current local telephone numbers when switching from one service provider to another at the same location. Fees may vary by company; some may not charge any fees. These fees are not taxes.
  • Telecommunications Relay Service– To help pay for relay services that transmit and translate calls for people with hearing or speech disabilities.

These are the most common line items you’ll find on your bill. We would love to know if you are seeing additional fees on your bill.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call me at 404-257-1502 to discuss the SLA’s you have with your service provider. Or send us a note via  Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas.  His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses.  Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services.  The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

SLA’s and You

Recently, I have heard from several customers asking about the SLA’s (Service Level Agreement) available with Business Class Coax Internet services.  I thought that if a few people were asking, many more are probably at least wondering. This week’s post is an overview of SLA’s and how they affect your business.

Let’s start by defining what a Service Level Agreement is.  Wikipedia’s definition is as good as any that I have seen….”an official commitment that prevails between a service provider and a client. Particular aspects of the service – quality, availability, responsibilities – are  agreed between the service provider and the service user”. Internet Service Providers and Telcos will commonly include SLAs within the terms of their business level contracts with customers in order to define the level(s) of service being sold in plain language terms. In the Telecommunication Services world, an SLA will typically have quantifiable levels of service in:

  • Uptime or Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)
  • Scheduled Downtime i.e. Maintenance Windows
  • Unscheduled Downtime or Mean Time To Repair or Mean Time To Recovery (MTTR)
  • Identifying which party is responsible for reporting faults or paying fees
  • Responsibility for various data rates, throughput, jitter; or similar measurable details.

Most Service Providers will provide tiered Service Level Agreements. Designated by terms such as; Good, Better and Best or Bronze, Silver and Gold. The different tiers come at different costs. Your job as customer is to determine what the cost of not meeting an SLA is to your company and choose the related SLA Tier to cover that need.

When it is deemed that an SLA level has not been met, the remediation terms of the contract kick in.  These terms usually include some sort of financial compensation and/or service credit. Sadly, the ease of getting compensation depends on the quality of the Service Provider and the ability to provide clear metrics regarding the service issue.

Your best bet is to choose a reliable carrier, build redundancy and backups into the Telecom Solutions you control and understand the financial impacts of a service outage or degradation.

You can call Teledata Select at 404-257-1502 to discuss the SLA’s you have with your service provider. Or send us a note via  Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

 

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultancy located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas.  His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses.  Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services.  The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system. They also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling.

Why You Should Use A Telecom Billing Consultant

Telecom expenses tend to be quite substantial for some companies, and chances are good that you are being overcharged for telecom services. A telecom billing consultant acts as a liaison between you and your chosen carrier. By using a billing consultant to ferret out billing mistakes and underutilized services and bandwidth, your company can save money, increase your profit margins and also budget for telecom expenses more efficiently. Below are a number of ways that a telecom consultant will help you realize your goal.

Telecom Audit
Simply put, A telecom audit is an examination of the organization’s telecommunication expenses. If you are looking to save money on your expenses, the best place to start is by performing an audit. During the audit, the consultant is looking to see where there are potential savings for your company. The consultants compare your local telephone bills, wireless services, long distance invoices, internet, and the myriad of taxes, fees and surcharges that come with every bill against your contract and government fee schedules. They will also identify cases of phone abuse and billing errors. Their findings allow the company to request bill refunds as well as create a telecom budget based on actual costs.

Telecom Contract Negotiation
It can be a struggle to understand the terms and conditions of a contract when companies are just getting into telecom equipment and services contacts. Contracts can be filled with telecom world jargon that the managers do not understand. This leads to a lack of understanding of how the contracts affect their real monthly expenses. A telecom consultant plays a valuable role in the negotiations by acting as an interpreter helping managers understand the contract and its implications before committing to it.

Telecom Project Manager
When a company is looking to make substantial changes to their telecom services, it is always a wise decision to hire an expert in the field. This is because the decisions that will be made in the transition period will affect the company for years to come. A telecom consultant brings their unique knowledge of the industry, years of expertise and leadership to the table. Armed with these, they can comfortably steer the project in the right direction.

Coming up with a procurement policy
Employees will always want the latest when it comes to technology. With technology always changing and advancements being made within a short span of time, a clear hardware lifecycle plan and procurement policy are necessary. A consultant can help you identify what you really need and avoid flash in the pan technology expenses. They will review your current procurement policy and help you identify any areas for improvement.

For most companies, the bottom line is to make profits, but expenses will always reduce the profit margins. Telecom expenses are quite substantial in all companies today and they need to be controlled. Using a telecom billing consultant is the first step to increasing profits.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to find opportunities for savings. better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling.  Contact us for a detailed discussion of your specific business technology needs.

My Experience with ATT Gig Fiber to my home

As a Telecom Broker and Consultant, I am always looking for better, faster, less expensive options for my customers as it relates to high speed internet, voice and hosted VoIP phone solutions. I remember when one T-1 with 768K of internet and 12 voice lines from XO Communications was $1.169.00 per month for a business customer. Now that same service can be had for around $300 or less per month.

I sometimes forget that I am a customer too. Each month I spend over $440.00 for Cell phone, TV and Internet to my home. When I received my last bill from ATT, I decided to check out ATT’s the NEW Gig Fiber service available in my neighborhood.  Like many of my customers, the thought of Gig fiber speeds was enticing and the price was about the same or slightly less than I am paying today. At my house, we use as much bandwidth as we can get so I was eager to take advantage of the speeds Gig Fiber can offer. I decided to make the upgrade.

When it came time to install my ATT Gig Fiber services, I was determined to make sure the Fiber was “home run” to my modem which needed to run thru the attic. I helped the ATT tech run the Fiber Optic Cable thru my attic which involved inhaling insulation, dust and who knows what all. By the time we finished, I was filthy and drenched in sweat from the sauna that is my attic in the Georgia heat.

So now our Fiber is installed and guess what?  There doesn’t seem to be a noticeable difference between ATT U-verse and the ATT Gig Fiber. I asked my wife if she noticed a difference and she said “No”.   What is up with that?  Don’t they advertise Gig Speeds? Well yes but this is consumer level service. It is shared with your neighbors does not come with an SLA (Service Level Agreement) meaning the speed can vary.

How Fast is Fast Enough?

In addition to the advertised bandwidth from the provider, the capabilities of your home/office equipment that can limit the internet speeds you experience. Every piece of your network can have an impact on what internet speeds you’ll experience. Can your computer’s wireless card handle the speed? Are your switches and/or routers able to pass thru the extra speed?   Check these before you run your speed test to get bragging rights on how fast your internet speed is.

Would I upgrade my home to Gig Fiber again, knowing that I’ll probably only get a few Mbps of extra speed? Probably not.

On the other hand, if it is your business that needs a faster internet connection, make sure you evaluate a true “business class” internet connection that comes with an SLA.  You may pay more for a business class fiber connection, but by understanding your bandwidth needs, you won’t have to pay for more than you need. Or better yet, renegotiate your current agreement with a faster speed for less than your paying today.

Call us today and we’d be happy to share our stories with you in how we help many different sized businesses reduce their costs while getting more services.  Plus, we will take the hassle out of switching services providers. High Speed Internet, Business Phone System and Project management is what we help our customers do at TeleData Select.

 

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to find opportunities for savings. better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling.  Contact us for a detailed discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Polycom’s RealPresence Trio Speakerphone

I had the pleasure to attend a Conference late last year and got a chance to hear one of the founders of Polycom speak.  Polycom started in 1990 with a vision of transforming the simple speaker phone into an indispensable business tool.  Since then, they have become a global leader in video, voice and content collaboration solutions for industries and enterprises of all types and sizes.   You have seen the distinctive space ship styled speakerphone in a Conference Room, more than likely it was Polycom.

Polycom’s Real Presence Trio

This speakerphone is a smart hub for group collaboration that takes the basic three point Conference room phone and integrates it with voice, video and content sharing for large or small businesses.

The phone is simple to use, sleek and sounds great.  It has a very cool 5-inch color touch screen and intuitive navigation menu making it very simple.  I recently won one of these these cool phones at this years 2017 Channel Partner Expo in Las Vegas.  CONTACT US if you want to see one up close or have a demo.

In the meantime, click this LINK for the Polycom’s YouTube video demonstrating the RealPresence Trio.

 

 

Buying a Wireless Router

We try to commit to spending at least a couple of hours a week searching through the web for telecommunication news, reviews, and usage hints.

Although the guide (linked below) is is more home internet focused, I thought the information provided regarding the purchase of the right Wireless Internet Router had some really good information that is also useful for the small business or home office users.

Wireless Router Purchase Guide

The Next Big Thing is Already Here.

Businesses now have the ability to merge all or most of their telecom tools under one overarching system to increase efficiency and lower costs.

This is termed Unified Communications (UC). It’s defined as the integration of the equipment, software and services tools that help people exchange ideas and do their jobs more effectively. It includes E-mail, Internet, Video Conferencing, Telephones, Cloud Computing and other tools that businesses are already using. A good UC implementation makes it easy to support new technologies and growth.

Contact Teledata Select for more information on how consolidating all of your telecommunication needs under the Unified Communications Platform can help you realize its benefits.

http://teledataselect.com/contact-us/

How Fast is Fast Enough

From the most tech focused company a world away to the little Bricks and Mortar business around the corner, the internet is the tool that companies use to market, sell and/or support their product or service. I don’t think we are going out on a limb by saying that everyone wants fast internet to meet their needs.

This leads to the $64,000 question; how fast is fast enough when it comes to meeting your businesses internet service?

The easy answer is to get the fastest possible service your local carrier can provide, hoping that it will be fast enough and won’t negatively impact your bottom line.

In contrast, Teledata Select starts by understanding your current and planned internet usage and builds a solution that will meet your needs at the lowest possible price. Today’s blog post discusses some of the variables we consider when coming up with a plan tailored to your needs and budget.

Factors That Impact Speed and Performance

Number of Users. An internet connection that works well for a few users can quickly bog down as more and more users sign on.

Type of Internet Connection. Cable and fiber optic, in general are inherently faster than DSL.

Network Equipment. Even the fastest internet connection is limited by the hardware used to connect to it. Wi-Fi and Ethernet Routers are continually improving in their ability to meet increasing bandwidth needs at faster speeds. The downside is that older equipment may not be able to keep up with a growing business’s increasing traffic requirements. There is a good chance that the ISP’s advertised speed can’t be obtained due to equipment limitations.

Growth in Internet Traffic. In addition to email and surfing, internet usage has grown to include cloud computing, file sharing, video conferencing and streaming services. Additionally there is internet traffic that runs in the background such as software updates and data backups to the cloud.

Devices on the Network. In addition to the number of users, the number of devices on the network must be considered. It used to be only desktop computers, but today’s business office has laptops, tablets and smartphones actively or passively using bandwidth. Additionally, traffic to network connected devices such as the office printer and security systems should be considered.

Thanks for reading.

Click here for more information on how Teledata Select can help match your business with the right Internet Provider.

 

So Many Choices

I found myself roaming the aisles of the local Staples Office Supply store yesterday. When I came upon the phone aisle, I was immediately reminded that all of the options and features available to small and medium sized businesses can be overwhelming. Finding the right phone system to meet your needs is a big job. We can help you understand your telecom needs for today and tomorrow, source and install the solution. 

Click the link below for more info on how…..

Next Generation Phone Service

Reflecting on the Avaya Bankruptcy

At TeleData Select, we have been watching the news about Avaya’s bankruptcy declaration last week. We have read through the press release and the resulting commentary from technology and financial news analysts.

Avaya explains that In addition to the global economic downturn in 2008 and the industry’s commoditization of telecommunication devices, the past decade has seen a core change in how consumers finance their telecom needs. Instead of the upfront purchasing of telecom hardware and software, the trend is to the more flexible, and harder to plan for, software as a service subscription model.

Avaya feels that they have successfully evolved into a software and services-led business. The bankruptcy is the last step to removing barriers to future success.

We wish them the best.

The situation does put a fine point on the financial impact of changes in technology and the importance of building flexibility into the office technology design.

We at Teledata Select have put together a guide to help businesses identify their needs when changing their telecom systems…..

5 Things a Business Should Consider When Making a Telecom Change/

5 Things a Business Should Consider When Making a Telecom Change

Reliability & Service

In the course of making a decision on what telecom company to choose, you will face several decisions on what type of service is best for your business. This decision is based on a thorough understanding of your telecommunications requirements compared against available telecom solutions:
  • Compare the services provided by the various telecom companies for your location(s).
  • Understand the potential costs to your business of lost internet connectivity or voice issues.   
  • Reputable telecom carriers provide a Service Level Agreement (SLA) outlining the services to be provided, metrics to be used to measure compliance to the agreement and remediation if the agreed service levels are not met. What does this mean for your business?
  • In the case where SLA’s are not met.  You will need to compare the costs of managing service issues and determine if you want to work to resolve those issues yourself, or have it done for you.  If you do choose to do it yourself, will you have the information and resources needed to resolve the issue quickly and expeditiously?

New Technology Upgrades – Phone systems

Your business may face a number of decisions when it comes to upgrading or purchasing new technology. Those decisions will include:
  • Will your communications systems reside “in the cloud”… and what does that mean for your business?
  • What are the long term advantages/disadvantages of buying or leasing new technology hardware and services?
  • Do you have staff and floor/rack space needed to support an on-site solution?

Backup & Redundancy

It is pretty common that small and medium sized businesses prioritize their day to day operations over preparing for the outside chance of a Telecom Service Outage. But the impacts of a service outage can cost your business varying degrees of time, money and reputation. Take a moment to consider the following:
  •  How will you continue to operate in the case of a telecom outage?
  • How would a telecom outage of minutes, hours or days impact your business? 
  • Who on your team would manage outage resolution and return to normal operations? 
  • How would you go about retrieving critical data in the case of data loss or corruption?

   Scalability – Contract Terms

Many businesses are faced with near and long term changes in their telecommunications needs and usage.  
  •  How does your current or planned telecommunications systems support variable or changing usage patterns? 
  • Does your current or planned telecommunications systems easily support a physical relocation of your business? 
  • The internet has becomes critical in accessing business applications and data. What service providers can upgrade your team’s web based tools within days or hours?
  • In most cases, a business can reduce costs by signing a long term agreement. However, do the constraints and obligations of the long term agreement negate the cost savings?      
  • Is it worth the extra savings to sign a three year agreement?     

Billing and Support

Beyond pricing, there are differences between the Telecommunications providers in how they handle the customer relationship after the sale.  
  • What is the Carrier’s reputation for billing accuracy?
  • How quickly are billing questions answered and resolved?
  • How does the Carrier respond to user support questions and comments?

Why Small Businesses Need Technology

Why Small Businesses Need Technology

Technology has become an integral part of most small businesses.  Email has replaced the fax machine.  An onslaught of mobile devices have replaced cash registers, binders and note pads.  Pencil and paper no longer keep up with the velocity of business today.  In order to attract new customers and deliver products and services at competitive prices, small business technology is the cornerstone to automation and profitability.

Cloud computing, mobility and consumerization of IT make it affordable for small businesses to deploy systems that were once reserved for large scale enterprise.  With ready access to small businesses technology, there is also more reliance on these core systems.  Small businesses are also targets of cyber attack because they may be perceived as more vulnerable and less vigilant.  Also, small businesses may be less resilient to business disruption related to systems failure.  Accordingly, Small Businesses should take every precaution to protect applications and their data.  They should also properly assess their risks and exposure to ensure they get the most from their small business IT Budgets.

What can small businesses do to make sure these systems support the ongoing operations with minimal interruption?

Small Business Technology Inventory

A good place to start is to take inventory of your systems and data.  It is good policy to document all of your IT assets including hardware, networking devices, application software and data so you can have a complete view of your IT Systems.  Make sure you include mobile devices, cloud computing or software as a service (SaaS) systems, as well as, custom applications and legacy systems.

Small Business Technology Risk Assessment

Disaster Recovery

3 Key Advantages of having a VoIP Hosted Phone System during Hurricane Sandy

1. No phone equipment in your office

Your phone system resides off site in a secure data center with redundant power and connectivity.    When your business gets hit with a power outage or flooded, your business phone system is still working and answering calls.

2. Easily forward to an emergency override number

Employees can simply plug their business phone system anywhere there is an internet connection or use a softphone app on their laptop.   All the inbound and outbound calls work just like they were in the office.  Or each employee can quickly set up a rule that forwards to their cell phone if power or internet is out.

3.Auto Attendant and unified messaging

Your Auto attendant and unified messaging keeps working when your business is damaged or you lose power.  Anywhere you can check your email:  You can still can still listen to voicemail or receive inbound faxes.

Bandwidth speeds more important than ever

It is predicted that by 2017, there will be around 268 billion app downloads. The average person already uses 26 different apps per month. This growth is clearly driven by the younger work force, who use their mobile devices and tablets for both work and play. All of these apps use a lot of data, and so there is a problem on the horizon: all of this data use will lead to pervasive network strain, which will in turn result in performance problems in both apps and network-based services. This data overload creates frustration in both users and providers. App users will simply delete apps that do not perform well. This means fewer customers for Telcos and app providers.

The Data Challenge for Telcom Carriers

Therefore, Telcos have a challenge in front of them: invent new ways to improve user experience by making them more data efficient and scalable. The question on a lot of IT experts’ minds is: is it finally time for Telcos and app providers to work together to unclog the bandwidth bottleneck? The answer is still unclear, but intelligent data distribution is one solution everyone can agree on at the moment, i.e. Telcos can optimize their current network assets while app developers work to design more apps that use less data.

The Importance of Wide Area Networks Within Telcom Providers

In order to stay sustainable, Telcos need to offer more in connectivity. A solid Wide Area Network (WAN) is essential in accelerating applications and keeping traffic separate. It is also critical for day to day business operations; it both reduces operating costs and provides a level of predictability for system performance. Wide Area Networks consolidate costly tools, such as printers, phone lines, file storage, bandwidth, and security, because these items do not have to be purchased for each individual computer. Telcos are also learning that not taking advantage of Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is putting their business at a competitive disadvantage. Telcos need to be able to interconnect multiple locations and ensure the highest level of data connectivity performance between multiple locations. Equally important for Telcos is the advent of Ethernet over Copper (EoC). For small to medium businesses, EoC can gain greater bandwidth and flexibility in order to support various IP-based applications, including disaster recovery, Cloud, and IP voice services.

 

Mobile Hotspots – Is Your Business At Risk?

With almost one billion mobile connections in place, it is easy to understand why these devices are targeted by hackers. Employees connecting at Starbucks, in airports, on planes and in hotels open themselves up to additional security breach risk by accessing information through mobile hotspots. Mobile hotspots can be easy targets for hackers by setting up spoofs to get your employees to unknowingly log into unsecure networks, making them vulnerable to Man in the Middle (MitM) exploits. As an employer, it may be impossible to prevent employees from using hotspots, so it is very important to take steps to protect your business. Below is an example of how hotspot hacking works and how businesses with mobile users can protect themselves.

Is Your Mobile Device Hackable?

According to research by Gartner, almost half of us will first turn to a mobile device for online tasks. Business users in particular rely on mobile connectivity to be productive. Using a open Wi-Fi hotspot may put you and your business at risk of hacking. Most people are aware of the risks, however it comes down to convenience. Hackers can use software that makes a mobile device appear to be connected to a familiar Wi-Fi network, but in reality, all traffic is routed through an imposter that captures your data (MitM). Many mobile applications attempt to stop this type of proxy attack by ensuring a secure, end-to-end SSL connection refusing to make an unencrypted login. However, mobile applications may not always verify the secure SSL connection is actually secure.

Does Your Business Needs a VPN to Protect Mobile Users?

A Virtual Private Network  (VPN) is a network that is constructed by using public wires — usually the Internet — to connect to a private network, such as a company’s internal network. There are a number of systems that enable you to create private networks using the Internet as a way for transporting data. These systems use encryption and other security mechanisms to allow only authorized users to have access. One benefit of having a VPN service is the ability to integrate network security policy and enforcement under a single management platform, meaning remote VPN clients automatically inherit a standard set of policies upon login.

Stay Safe by Educating Your Employees

We may know not to use unsecure Wi-Fi, but getting your employees to do so, may be harder. Educating your employees is a first line of defense to prevent data loss and data leak. Training on the threat, exposure and risk of a data leak or loss reminds your employees to be aware.

If you feel your network should be more secure, contact your IT Service Provider to find out how to protect your network within your budget and the security requirements of your business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Your Business Need Network Monitoring?

Oct 13, 2015 | SMB Technology

According to a recent Trends in Information Security report by CompTIA, malware, hacking, privacy and data loss/leakage top the list of serious concerns over security threats. Companies large and small have been victims of these security threats. While large corporate security breaches makes the news, smaller companies may not have the vigilance to detect, and the resilience to survive a network security breach. Hackers have evolved and are now more sophisticated than ever. Network Monitoring can identify security exploits before it is too late.

Proactive Networking Monitoring: What & Why

Your business relies more and more on healthy network infrastructure. Migration to Cloud, Compliance and IT Security all fuel the case to proactively monitor your network health. By proactively scanning your network, you can identify bottlenecks and other irregularities that could impact your network performance and network security. Identifying network compromise in advance will save your business time and money in the long run.

Here are some considerations of what to proactively monitor on your network and why:

Monitor Your Network Performance

Network performance monitoring may identify a number of issues impacting your employee productivity. In some cases it may be a hardware failure (network switch or router) that is causing intermittent outage. Data-intensive applications (e.g. remote backup, call center or VoIP) may need optimization to improve overall network performance. Regular proactive network monitoring will identify these issues that can easily be remediated to avoid any unnecessary downtime, loss of employee productivity, or other failures such as dropped calls and failed backups.

Monitor Your Network Access

A periodic scan of devices attached to your network will identify any unauthorized access to your network. You may identify devices including desktop, laptop and mobile access from terminated employees, unauthorized access on your wireless network, and other potential compromises to your network. A regular scan of your network helps you stay in compliance and avoid any security compromise.

Monitor Your Network Utilization

By monitoring your network utilization, you may identify usage patterns impacting your overall network performance. Social media and streaming technologies can chew up your company bandwidth. By monitoring your utilization you may need to implement internal policies on use of streaming and digital media to free up bandwidth for mission-critical services.

Monitor Your Network Security

Your network is as strong as its weakest link. Periodically monitor your network endpoints to ensure Operating System patch, Antivirus and Malware definitions are all up to date. One device out of compliance could be infected and compromise your entire network.

Proactive Network Monitoring is a healthy best practice that saves you money and time while reducing business risk. If you are unsure of your network health or need to know more about network monitoring contact TeleData Select today.  support@teledataselect.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IPhone Tips

Myself and Bill Gates be the only people that use a Windows Phone, however anywhere iphone
you look most people have an IPhone. When my family and I took a trip to Italy one summer the cab driver who picked us up was using an IPhone. While I have use an Android Tablet and a IPad I still like my Windows Phone for ease of use when searching business contacts. But let’s face it, a good many people use IPhones and love them. Here are a few tips from our friends and Network1 Consulting using the new IPhone 6S.

ttp://network1consulting.com/tuesday-tip-helpful-iphone-tips/h

When was the last time you reviewed your Telecom Bills?

When I first got into the Telecom Business a single T-1 with 12 voice lines and 12 data bill audit
channels or 768K of data was $1,169.   You can now buy a 100Meg Fiber data line with 23 voice channels for under $1,000.

Recent studies have shown that more than 50 percent of businesses are unaware of their exact telecommunication cost.   Would you like to gain visibility of the contract terms while reducing monthly telecom cost?

Just a quick Google Search brings up many telecom companies that say they do Telecom Expense management.   But how would you know what type of company can provide you a comprehensive telecom audit?    Questions to ask any Telecom Audit Company.

  • Can you verify billed rates against contract?
  • Will you document billing errors & contract noncompliance?
  • Can you help me Identify  overcharges & billing errors and help get credits?
  • Will you be able to file claims & manage the credit recover process?

From <http://teledataselect.com/products-and-services/>

How can you monitor your Internet Connections Speed & Performance?

speed testJust because you have an Internet Connection does not mean it’s always performing well and not  all internet circuits are created equal.  There are many places to buy internet service:  Comcast, Charter, Cox, Time Warner, AT&T Uverse, Wireless, Satellite, Fiber, T-1’s and more.

Once you purchase the service,  how do you know your circuit is performing well and you are getting what you paid for?   Would it be nice to have a simple dashboard which can be customized to meet your needs and show you the health of the connection?

Some Telecom Carriers monitor their internet circuits, but have varying degrees of quality.  However not all have a solution that allows you to have a consolidated view which alerts you when there is an issues?

Call or email us today to learn about our FREE circuit monitoring and how it could help your business.  support@teledataselect.com or 404-257-1502

Running a business is challenging, using your phone system shouldn’t be.

All of the features and functionality your business too_complicatedneeds to improve communication and productivity should be easy to use in one-easy-to-use, reliable phone system.

In the old days when you had issues or needed to change something with your business phone system you had to call the PBX vendor and submit a trouble ticket.  Once the ticket was worked, the tech would show up at your business to make the change and you would get a bill.  Hopefully the service call would have taken place the same day, but often it may have taken days or weeks to complete.   It also may have taken just 5 to 10minutes for the tech to make the change and you end up getting a bills for $250.00

With today’s new VoIP phone systems, whether it is Hosted in the Cloud or a Premise VoIP Phone System, customers can now make simple and complex changes themselves with easy to us web portals.

Some business phone systems have better client portals than others.  So when evaluating a new phone system make sure you get a “hands on” demo of the client portal.  There is a huge difference with many Hosted and Premises based VoIP phones systems, so make sure you understand the pros and cons.

Bill Consolidation

Factors to consider when making a Telecom Decison

Bill Consolidation Here are the things to consider when making a decision that achieves optimal perform and best value for your situation.

How much experience does your Telecom Broker have?

  • How many years’ experience does your Telecom Broker have working with customers and suppliers?
  • What kind of supplier relationships does your Telecom Broker have?
  • With all the rapid changes in Telecom, how does a Telecom Broker stay informed with the latest technology and options available?
  • If your business has multiple locations or international offices, does your Telecom Broker have the resources and experience in working with multi-site companies?
  • Does your Telecom Broker have the ability and experience to consolidate multiple location bills with diverse products on a single bill?

Right Provider – Right Solution – Right Price

  • How does your Telecom Broker make sure you are getting the best price?
  • How does your Telecom Broker demonstrate in detail what service options are the right solution for your company?
  • How does the Telecom Broker offer you real time price comparisons between service providers?
  • How does your Telecom Broker provide you with multiple vendors that include wholesale options?
  • What is needed from your Telecom Broker to show you how they can manage, monitor and control expenses related to Telecom services.
  • If your business uses audio and video conferencing services, what type of solutions does your Telecom Broker have?
  • When reviewing changes to your business phone system, how does your Telecom Broker show you what options are best for your business?
  • Does your Telecom Broker have the experience to review telecom service contracts and what items may need changing?

Value

  • How does your Telecom Broker pre-plan to minimize errors with telecom services?
  • When issues happen with telecom services, how does my Telecom Broker escalate trouble tickets when the going gets tough?
  • How does your Telecom Broker manage telecom installs, and do they have a support or project manager to assist?
  • What type of resources are available from my Telecom Broker to assist my business when a telecom outage happens?
  • As the market place changes, what does my Telecom Broker do to keep me up to date with the latest telecom mergers, changes and acquisitions that may affect my business?
  • Most people do not want to deal with their phone and internet provider, what does my telecom broker do to minimize my interaction with the telecom provider.

 

Research-Source-Deploy & Save

When was the last time you reviewed your business Telecom cost?     We recently did a telecom audit for a customer and discovered they were paying for a 10Meg  Fiber circuit they were not even using.  Let us provide your company a complimentary telecom audit and analysis today!  http://teledataselect.com/products-and-services/#telecom-expense-management

 

Download (PDF, 685KB)

9 Top Reasons To Use Telecom Brokers

Multiple Carrier Options:   Would you like to deal with one person for all you communication services, rather than dealing with a sales person from each company?    The broker will have contacts with many carriers and vendors which means he or she can quickly acquire quotes and information without you requesting it yourself.  A big time saver, especially when evaluating multiple locations and offers from vendors.

More Expertise:     A typical telecommunications company will have over 50%  sales turn over each year and end up hiring inexperienced sales people to fill positions.   Many Telecom Brokers have had years of experience working at various telecom companies,  they understand technology and are able to compare company A and company B.

Satisfaction:  Telecom Brokers long term success is dependent on the ongoing satisfaction of their customers.    Each month, Telecom Bookers get paid a small (residual) commission to manage the telecommunication service of their customers.  This ensures that Telecom Brokers/Consultants continue to provide clients with exceptional customer service for years.

Transparency:  Some telecom providers provide great pricing, but they take forever to install the services, others  have poor billing and are unorganized.  Good Telecom Brokers can explain the good and  bad of each carrier and what to expect.

No Sales Quotas:  Many telecom providers put their sales people under unrealistic sales quotas and end up with pushy unprofessional sales staff and high turnover.    Good Telecom Brokers have a vested interest in a customer’s long term success, helping customers make informed educated decisions without the need of sales quotas.

Single Point of Contact:   All too often after you purchase telecom services and need help with billing or service issues the sales person that sold you the service has left.   You are now have known one to call for help and are left calling the companies  800 number which can frustrating and downright time consuming.    A good Broker can  help escalate, troubleshoot or get resolutions resolved much faster than dealing direct with a telecom provider

Consolidation:  Many companies with multiple locations and difference providers get multiple bills and need help consolidating services. .   Good Telecom Brokers understand “Telecom Aggregation” consolidating multiple services on one bill and providing  a “one stop shopping” model that saves time and money.

Pricing and Support:  In some cases Telecom Brokers offer better rates to their customers than going direct with the telecom company.   In fact, many Telecom companies in an effort to reduce cost have fired their sales staffs and only work with “indirect” or Telecom Brokers.

John Hagan is the President of TeleData Select.  TeleData Select is an independent Telecom Broker and Consultant based in Atlanta, GA representing just about every telecom provider across the US and abroad.  They understand the pitfalls customers make in “going it alone” and dealing direct with telecom providers.  Their industry knowledge along with having “seen in all” allows them to provide customers unbiased quality solutions for Voice, Data Mobile and Cloud Solutions.  Contact TeleData Select today for a complementary telecom audit, you may find ways to reduce telecom cost between 20-70% and enjoy the overall experience and time saver.          

Telecom Aggregation or Consolidated Billing Solutions

Telecom%20BillsAll Products and services regardless of the telecom carrier or business location on one easy to understand bill.

  • One person to call for upgrading or reducing telecom cost, never a need again to call multiple telecom sales agents.
  • Invoices that can be available in paper, email, CD or a customized online portal.
  • Carrier portfolio and expertise to address clients evolving growth.
  • Invoice can be paid by parent or individual sub-location.
  • Customers can assign specific ledger numbers to each sub-location to assist customer with cost allocation.
  • One call for support and trouble resolution for all business locations.

 

A one carrier integration approach can match underlying carrier strengths with clients’ needs to customize the most advanced, cost-effective and productive solutions for each customer and office location. All services can be delivered on one bill with a dedicated team handling all service related issues.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select.  TeleData Select is an independent Telecom Broker and Consultant based in Atlanta, GA.  TeleData Select has over 45 years of Telecom experience and is happy to discuss the benefits of Bill Consolidation services.  Call or email TeleData Select for a complementary audit or review of your current telecom services.

What is Cloud based Phone Service

Blog%20Cloud%20Phone%20serviceRecently TeleData Select received several calls from employees at companies needing a POTS line, (Plain old Telephone) or copper line at their home because the company they worked for required a powered POT’s line.  They had called ATT over again with ATT telling them they no longer provided this type of phone line, NOT TRUE!   You have to know how to order the service and ask the correct questions to order this type of service.

I recently converted a POT’s  (Plain Old Telephone) line at my home to ATT’s Uverse service so I could reduce my monthly telecom bill.  The old Telephone line was connected to my security system which had its own power, thus the need to keep basic copper phone line.     However, with cellular security technologies I was able to now convert the POT’s lines to a cellular based security system.  In the event of an emergency, the alarm system would make outgoing calls using cell service.

What does this all mean to a consumer or business owner?  Understand why you may still need a basic POTS line along with using Cloud based phone service.

John Hagan is President of  TeleData Select and Managing Partner of Telco Managment Group  a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta serving customers throughout the US.

Is Your Network at Home Secure

Four Tips for Securing Your Home Wireless Network.

Many folks spend more and more time working from home which can be a great time saver.  My wife had worked out of our home for many years and finds she is more productive than driving to the office, parking the car in a large multi story parking garage and riding the elevator up to the 20th floor.

While my wife lives close to her office, it’s still takes about 25 minutes door to door.  As a business owner or someone working out of your home, chances are the security of your home network could be lacking and this can be a serious liability.

Some good pointers form Jack Marder:

  • Be aware of when you are sharing data. If you have any files in a public folder, move them to a more secure location.
  • Use a strong password for all your wireless networks. A string of letters, number and symbols about 14 characters long is best.
  • Use WPA2 security. Make sure your router is set up correctly. If you are using WEB or WPA security, change it as soon as possible.
  • Change your network’s name (SSID). Routers include a default name, and keeping the default tells potential intruders lax security measures may be in place.
  • Assign Static IP Addresses to Devices. Most home networks use a dynamic IP address. This is easy to set up but works to the advantage of the intruder.

Jack Marder with Zanacore Technologies discuss further how best to secure your home wireless network.

VoIP Buying Guide for Business

Features – What features are most important to your business? Does your business need auto attendant, voicemail sent to an email, mobile twinning (sending calls to both a cell phone and desk phone at the same time)? Does the receptionist want to see who is on the phone? How about the ability of having “hot desking”, the ability of logging into anyone’s phone and have it appear as your own. This feature works great for medical practices who have rotating staff working the front desk.

Equipment – What about the brand of phones that are used? Is the equipment proprietary or can it be used with other Hosted VoIP service providers? Should you purchase the equipment or rent each handset and what are the advantages? Make sure you are getting quality VoIP phones from a quality manufacture. Does each user on the system need a fancy phone with lots of features, most employees only use two or three features. Do you really need a cool looking conference room phone or will a basic handset do the trick? Many newer phones have excellent speaker phones, so a basic handset may work fine. A good provider should be able to offer multiple phone options as your business grows and expands.

Pricing – Many providers offer confusing or different pricing options. Some offer unlimited options that may be simple to understand but you pay for features not needed. Another consideration is whether to rent or buy phones. With some customers it makes sense to buy, but what happens when the phone breaks, who is responsible? The cost of renting phones has dropped dramatically, however pricing and features vary greatly. Make sure you understand how the companies long distance calling is priced; contrary to what many believe, Hosted VoIP is not free phone service.

Call Quality – This is where customers get burned and have poor VoIP call quality and get disappointed. It is important to know the difference between BYOY (Bring you own Bandwidth) compared to “managed VoIP” using a private MPLS data network. Some carriers provide an extra layer of call quality by using a managed router. Make sure you know the difference between managed and unmanaged services, there can be a big difference in call quality.

Vendor Experience – This is one of the most important considerations when considering a VoIP phone system. VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has been around for many years and many service providers are now selling Hosted VoIP via the internet, out of car trunks, basements and garages. It would be disastrous for a business if the phone company went out of business and had control of your phone numbers? Make sure you find out how long the Hosted PBX provider has been in business, how many customers they support and the types of customers.

Disaster Recovery – It is very important to make sure you understand the providers network and how many POP’s (point-of-presence) they own and manage. Does the hosted PBX provider have built in intelligence that can determine when a business’s on-site phones stop working and can they re-rout calls to different numbers? How many network operation centers does the provider have, east and west coast only?

Summary – As Voice over Internet Protocol Communications gets better, Hosted VoIP PBX offers advanced features previously only available to much larger business all for a great value. Hosted or Cloud PBX phone service compared to traditional solutions offers no-hassle phone service without ongoing maintenance, service contracts, costly hardware and onsite trip charges.

Hosted Cloud VoIP Service can offer customers ease of management and outstanding features for the money.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta serving customers throughout the US and overseas.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 End-of- Life

RIP-WS2003
Recently I was having lunch with one of our strategic partners that owns a successful  IT firm based in Atlanta.   One of the questions I asked during lunch:   What are some of the things customers should be concerned about in 2015 as it relates to their IT infrastructure?  My response was that customers need to be concerned about  End-of-Life for Windows 2003 server.   Windows 2003 was released in May of 2003 and Microsoft will end support officially July 15, 2015.   By Microsoft ending support and security patches, this will make Server 2003 more vulnerable to attacks, malware and ultimately a security risk.

Click on the link to learn more about  End-of-Life for Windows Server 2003  Windows Server 2003 Read More…

Technology Outlook 2015

996505-131022-cloud-computing-genericMany things enter our minds as we enter 2015 and what is to be expected in the area of technology in the upcoming year?   For many of us who run businesses, some of the technology changes came fast and furious in 2014.   I recently got a detailed lesson from my 18 year old daughter on Instagram, Snapchat and Vine.  She tells me no one uses Facebook anymore.  However, I am not so sure about that!  Several weeks ago I stopped in BestBuy to see what wasnew and cool and was checking out the 4K TV’s.    Just a few months ago 4K TV’s were $4,000, now you can buy a 4K TV for less than $1,300.   I only wish I held off a few months from buying my new 55 inch TV at Costco.

Technology changes fast and it is important to stay educated with the best options and solutions.  I have listed some things to expect in 2015.

Need for Network Security
Mobile applications and mobile search continue to drive the need for network security. Smartphone and tablet shipments are expected to outpace traditional desktops during 2015. With mobile devices on the rise, businesses need to ensure the security of these devices and prevent business networks from being compromised.

Cloud Adoption on the Rise in 2015
Estimates are that spending on hosted cloud services will exceed 25 billion by the end of 2015. Based on the dependence of using cloud computing, there will also be a larger focus on how best to secure customers data. We also need to be concerned with social and mobile encryption policies, along with disaster recovery and data protection. At TeleData Select we use Microsoft Dynamics CRM and are working to integrate our tablets and windows smartphones so we can access the same information on the go. Today’s customers and business need options that integrate many different elements which provide device convenience, but do not lack security.

Shop around for options
Before you buy any new equipment, explore all the different options for equipment, computer servers, phone systems, cloud providers and even internet service providers. The cost of internet service is getting lower all the time; plus there are some great deals from Hosted VoIP Telephone providers that have all the features of many high end PBX’s.
TeleData Select is an independent telecommunications agent and consulting company that provides Telecommunication solutions to small medium and large businesses. TeleData Select performs telecom audits, negotiates contracts and project manages the entire implementation process of voice and data services.

Hosted Cloud Phone Systems vs Premise Business Phone Service

Cloud PBX

So what are the advantages of a cloud based Hosted IP PBX vs. a premise based phone system? Let’s break it down to 4 simple components: Price, flexibility, ease of operation, and disaster recovery.

  • With a premise based system your primary expense is the “brain”, which you buy and it’s mounted on the wall in the phone closet. It’s outdated the moment it’s purchased. Any technology upgrades will have to be purchased at a later date.
  • Maintenance contracts. The moment you purchase your equipment, your representative will encourage to sign a long term maintenance contract to fix any ongoing problems you might have with the phones or the system.
  • Nothing flexible with a premise based system. Every time you want to move phones, extensions, add or subtract lines, you have to call a technician. (i.e. the need for that maintenance contract)
  • Even if you are under a maintenance contract, you still have to wait for the “certified” technician to be available to fix your problem. That can take hours or days!
  • Technology advancements: Unless you buy the upgrade you can’t make use of any advancements
  • No problems here. Most business owners know how to use their phones, features are very vanilla. Nothing new to learn here.

Disaster Recovery: There is none.

Compare the above to the feature rich, flexible of Hosted IP PBX:

Price:

  1.  No huge out of pocket for the “brain”. The brain is in the cloud being used by multiple clients.
  2.  Any technology upgrades are software downloads. Nothing to buy!
  3.  Handsets can be either leased or purchased
  4.  No maintenance contracts are needed

Flexibility:

  1. That is the beauty of this fabulous technology! It is completely flexible. Dial tone is generated by the static IP, phone can be moved at will. No tech needed!
  2. Pones mesh with Outlook so you can click to call.
  3. Need to work from home? Either download a soft phone, use the mobility feature, or pick up your phone and take it with you. As long as you have a reliable internet connection the phone will work and the caller ID will appear as if you are in the office!
  4. Need to add an office? So easy, just establish a reliable internet connection, order the phones, plug them into the Ethernet jack and you are good to go. It’s just that easy.
  5. No programing voice mail! Voice mail turns into a wave file and is delivered to your email.
  6. There are so many features available like call queuing, listen in, call recording, call detail. The possibilities are endless.

Ease of Use:

  1. Yes you will need to be trained but the phones and portal are so intuitive, no one should have a problem. If you can use a smart phone you’re already there!
  2. No more Remote Call Forwards! If you move an office you don’t have to worry about how you’ll move your main telephone number if you are crossing rate centers. That problem is a thing of the past!

Disaster Recovery:

  1.  By the very nature of the product, there is inherent disaster recovery.
  2. Should an office be destroyed by a natural disaster, you can be up and running the next day if you have a temporary location to work from and an internet connection.

There is so much more I could say about this HUGE technology advancement, but would take a book not a blog. To sum it up: what do I use in my own office? You guessed it, Hosted. The provider is the key and TeleData Select only works with established, reliable providers that know how to insure there is never a call quality issue. Call me or email us to learn more about Hosted Cloud Phone service.

TeleDataSelect is an independent telecommunications agent and consulting company that provides Telecommunication solutions to small, medium and large businesses. TeleDataSelect performs telecom audits, negotiates contracts, and project manages the entire implementation process. 

Telecom Aggregation

Have you given serious thought to using a carrier Aggregator?

Telecom%20BillsTypically, multi-location companies have multiple service providers across many different markets both domestically and internationally. This is a difficult task to manage!  From both an inventory, contract, and price prospective, the entire situation requires constant time and management.  For example:

How do you manage all the contracts and services from different providers?

  • How do you know you are getting the best rates and service offerings for data, voice TI, PRI, POTS(Plain old Telephone Lines), MPLS, Private line and wireless?
  • Is your business long distance rate the best you can get for 800 inbound and International long distance?
  • And all those bills!  Is anyone REALLY checking them?

There is a better way!

Wouldn’t it be easier to deal with one provider for all your voice, and data services in every market your company has an office?   One supplier, one bill and one contract with a dedicated team that can handle any and all issues for all voice, data and cloud services.
Telecom Aggregation can provide just that!  They are a cost-effective way to manage multiple sites and multiple carriers, integrating global voice and data services.  A one carrier integration approach can match underlying carrier strengths with clients’ needs to customize the most advanced, cost-effective and productive solutions for each customer and office.  All services can be delivered on one bill with a dedicated team handling all service related issues.  The end result, your precious time is saved and you are confident you are getting the best prices/term available.   Sounds like a win/win to me!

Key strengths in considering Telecom Aggregation.

  • Deliver a comprehensive portfolio of service solutions and streamline costs
  • Assemble, manage and seamlessly integrate multiple network providers into a single customer solution
  • Take the chore out of dealing with network focused carriers
  • Carrier portfolio and expertise to address clients evolving growth initiatives.
  • Can Customize reports or bills for multi-locations
  • Invoice can be paid by parent or individual sub-location
  • Customers can assign specific ledger numbers to each sub-location to assist customer with cost allocation
  • Provide 10 management reports; also can customize according to customers’ needs
  • Invoices can be sent in any format at no charge (PDF, Excel, CSV, etc.)
  • Wholesale contracts with every major 1st tier carrier in the nation that can customize solutions at the lowest possible cost
  • One call for support and trouble resolution
  • Improving overall support and simplify the customer experience

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select.  TeleData Select is an independent Telecom Broker and Consultant based in Atlanta, GA.  TeleData Select has over 45 years of Telecom experience and is happy to discuss the benefits of Telecom Aggregation.  Call or email TeleData Select for a compressive audit or review of your current telecom services.

Business Cable Internet Service

Today’s business are demanding faster, reliable, scalable business internet that is affordable.

When I first got in the telecom business many years ago, I remember selling voice and Business Cable internetdata T-1’s with 12 phone lines and 768K of data for $1,169.00.  Most customers would jump at the chance to sign up for the services especially compared to what the local LEC (Local Exchange Carrier) or ATT had to offer.  Today one T-1 is not enough Internet speed and customers are not about to pay  $1,169 for one T-1.

Business customers are demanding faster Internet like their home cable services which can deliver 10,  20 and 50Meg download speeds.   ATT Uverse, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Cable and Charter Cable now sell to businesses and offer speeds must faster and less expensive than traditional T-1’s or multiple T-1’s bonded together.    You can get a reliable 50 Meg download and 5 meg upload speed with basic cable television at your home for less than $139.00, why not for your business?

Comcast Cable, Cox Cable, Time Warner and Charter Cable are now selling high speed internet services to businesses at a fraction of the cost of traditional T-1’s.   Today’s businesses utilize the Internet to access essential business applications that can only be accessed over the internet.    Ethernet-based Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) and Cable Coax Internet access like the cable companies provide now offer businesses fast internet for a fraction of the coast of bonded T-1’s.

The Difference Between T-1 Internet and Cable Internet?

You may have had a sales person from a local internet service provider tell you they deliver their internet service via Fiber Optic cable and not Cable Coax or Ethernet.  They will tell you why Fiber is better and why their services are the only way to go.  Let’s face it, after many years in the telecom business I have found if you ask 5 people the same telecom related question you get 5 different answers, sound familiar?

Fiber, Coax, Copper, Ethernet, wireless are just different “delivery methods” for delivering  High Speed Internet services to the end user.  All “highways”  have distinct advantages and some disadvantages and each solution is priced  based on how easy your business can connect to the Telecom Companies network and what type of access they use.

Before you make any decision to switch of sign up for internet services, make sure you have all the facts and pricing options so you can make an informed decision.   Is it worth the extra money to have Fiber and is Fiber all that much better than Cable Coax?

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select.  TeleData Select is an independent Telecom Broker and Consultant based in Atlanta, GA.  John and his team have over 45 years of Telecom experience and are happy to consult with your business on the Right Solution, Right Price and Right Provider for Internet Service.  Click on the link to here how Greg Rush owner of Buyavette got connected with super high speed Business Cable Internet from Comcast.

Improving Internet Speed for faster uploads

Dedicated Servers vs Hosted or Cloud Servers

A key factor in choosing between a Dedicated Server and a Hosted Server is your short and long-term goals for growth.  What happens when you have outgrown your current server resources?  What is your estimated growth plan?  How many hours have you allocated for migration or performance tuning?  Adding CPU, memory or hard drive space to a Hosted Server can be done rather easy;  however there comes a point where you may want and need more dedicated performance.

Unless you purchase a Private Hosted solution, which most Hosted Providers can offer you will be operating in a Public Hosted environment which can be expensive.   Otherwise stated, this is still a shared storage and shared compute environment.  Thus, you will want to determine a time or resource point where a move to a Dedicated Server environment is best.

The move from Hosted Servers to a Dedicated Server or Servers environment is different for each company.  One key element in determining what provider to go with is to determine if the provider supports both Hosted and Dedicated Servers.  If so, this makes the migration and transition even easier.  If you select a Hosted provider (Company A) but then need to migrate to a Dedicated Server and Company A does not provide this type of service, you are now looking at migration to another provider completely, which adds additional issues to a migration.

Things like how the new company may handle support, the services they provide, the costs for those services, etc.  In short, this process can be both costly and time-consuming if not well planned and executed.  In such cases, having a fully managed hosting provider that offers both Hosted and Dedicated Servers is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition without delays.

Each organization differs significantly in their infrastructure needs. These needs will then change dramatically over time as the applications and business scale.  Unique requirements and growth opportunities are leading many organizations to seriously consider deployments of Hosted services and then over time, move to dedicated services.  For dynamic environments with a high degree of unpredictability in growth and/or seasonality, providers that have the ability to provide both solutions will be in high demand. For example, hybrid solutions fulfill the infrastructure needs for dedicated hardware performance while providing the cost efficiency, reliability, and elasticity of the Hosted. Also, for high availability environments, both Hosted Servers and Dedicated Servers will be in high demand as well as the business scales.

Have a conversation with your existing executive management and current solution provider(s) to identify the proper requirements for your organization before getting into deep discussions with additional solution providers.  Selecting the right provider from the start is critical

C.G McBride owner of Vitalysys Technologies is a strategic Parner of TeleData Select, we can help make recommendations about the best ways to get the flexibility, performance, economics, scalability, and reliability you require—regardless of the solution provider or direction you choose.

6 Considerations when Picking a Hosted Cloud VoIP PBX

Not all things are created equal, and when considering a new phone system for your business, not all Cloud Based VoIP Providers are the same.   Before you sign a contract, there can be huge differences among Hosted VoIP Providers.

Features – What features are most important to your business?  Does your business need auto attendant, voicemail sent to an email, mobile twinning (sending calls to both a cell phone and desk phone at the same time)?   Does the receptionist want to see who is on the phone?   How about the ability of having “hot desking”, the ability of logging into anyone’s phone and have it appear as your own.   This feature works great for medical practices who have rotating staff working the front desk.    Don’t forget to ask office workers what features they could use.

Equipment – What about the brand of phones that are used?  Is the equipment proprietary or can it be used with other Hosted VoIP services providers?   Should you purchase the equipment or rent each handset and  what are the advantages?   Make sure you are getting quality VoIP phones from a quality manufacture, the last thing you want to happen is finding out the phones you bought are not good quality.  Does each user on the system need a fancy  phone with lots of features, most employees only use two or three features.   Do you really need a cool looking conference room phone or will a basic handset do the trick?    Many newer phones have excellent speaker phones, so a basic handset may work fine.   A good provider should be able to offer multiple phone options as your business grows and expands.

Pricing – Many providers offer confusing or different pricing options.  Some offer unlimited options that  may be simple to understand but you pay for features not needed.  Another consideration is whether to rent or buy phones.    With some customers it makes sense to buy, but what happens when the phone breaks, who is responsible?  The cost of renting phones has dropped dramatically,  however pricing and features vary greatly.   Make sure you understand how the companies long distance calling is priced; contrary to what many believe, Hosted VoIP is not free phone service.

Call Quality – This is where customers get burned and have poor VoIP call quality and get disappointed.    It is important to know the difference between BYOY (Bring you own Bandwidth) compared to “managed VoIP”  using a private MPLS data network.  Some carriers provide an extra layer of call quality by using a managed router.  Make sure you know the difference between managed and unmanaged services, there can be a big difference in call quality.

Vendor Experience  – This is one of the most important considerations when considering a VoIP phone system.  VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has been around for many years and many service providers are now selling Hosted VoIP via the internet, out of car trunks, basements and garages.   It would be disastrous for a business if the phone company went out of business and had control of your phone numbers?    Make sure you find out how long the Hosted PBX provider has been in business, how many customers they support and the types of customers.

Disaster  Recovery  – It is very important to make sure you understand the providers network and how many POP’s (point-of-presence) they own and manage.  Does the hosted PBX provider have built in intelligence that can determine when a business’s on-site phones stop working and can they re-rout calls to different numbers?  How many network operation centers does the provider have, east and west coast only?

Summary  – Hosted VoIP PBX offers advanced features previously only available to much larger business all for a great value.   Hosted or Cloud PBX phone service compared to traditional solutions offers no-hassle phone service without ongoing maintenance, service contracts, costly hardware and onsite trip charges.    While a hosted PBX offers customers ease of management;  an onsite or Premise PBX is can still be a more cost efficient solution.

John Hagan is President of  TeleData Select,  a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta serving customers throughout the US and overseas.  Their company providers business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses.  Contact John or their team  for a complementary telecom audit to make sure your getting the best value for communication services.  The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Computer backups for personal or home office

This Christmas Santa Clause finally decided to bring my 17 year daughter a new IMac Pro Computer, she was so excited and so was I! Over the years I keep telling me daughter she needed to back up her IPhone and PC pictures just in case she loses her computer or IPhone.

So this Christmas with her getting a new computer, I took the opportunity to educate my daughter the importance of backing up important data including the 1,000 pictures she accumulated on her old PC and IPhone. Just two weeks prior to Christmas, I purchased a terabyte hard drive made by Seagate at one of our local Costco Wholesale stores for $79.

Christmas day came and the computer came, however it was now time to help my daughter download her pictures onto the external hard drive and transfer to the new IMac. Big problem for dad when it came to uploading her pictures onto the IMac. This is where I stumbled miserably not knowing the IMac operating system. But after all are not Dads supposed to “fix things”!

I should have taken the Advice of Scott Spencer prior to Christmas. Scott is a senior marketing and brand expert with Convergent Marketing in Atlanta who’s firm is a total “Apple” shop. Scott suggested I set up an appointment for my daughter at the local Apple store Genius Bar, where my daughter can receive quality one on one training from an apple expert, not her Father!! The appointment is tomorrow, I will keep you posted.

This all leads me to continue the conversation about the importance of backing up data and what is the best solution for home computers or small home based business. We will talk about larger business in a future article, but for now let’s discuss the home computer.

So how best to back up a home computers data?

There are many technologies for implementing a regular and sound backup regime for a family’s home computers or a home based business. But there can be many problems, small devices such as the Seagate I bought can be exposed to conditions that cause failures more often than business class systems. Portable units are convenient and a good buy, but they lack any good security features such as password protection that could leave data open to theft. So what about ICloud for my daughters computer, Back blaze or Carbonite? Lots of options to select.

So here is where I turn to a few experts in the field, including David Gracey owner of Network 1 Consulting a 14-year-old, IT Support company in Atlanta, GA. I consider David an expert in this area and plus David has 3 children. Last year David wrote a blog on his topic.  Check it out:  http://network1consulting.com/tuesday-tip-protect-important-data-and-photos/

Bottom line: You can find a number of suitable choices for your home or small office that will vastly reduce the chances important data will be lost or a single disk drive failure. I use a combination of Back blaze, similar to Carbonite and an external hard drive I keep in a fire safe. I will probably set my daughter up with ICloud along with downloading her data onto an external hard drive.