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Phone Hacking – an unexpected cost to businesses

Think of phone hacking and you probably think of news reports of newspapers gaining access to the phones of celebrities and politicians to gather information. What you may not think of is criminals hacking into the phone systems of businesses.

Once access has been gained to a company’s network, this can be used to illegally route calls, either to make international calls or even to generate revenue from premium-rate numbers, all at the expense of the hacked company.

Usually, after the companies have closed (often at weekends, bank holidays or during Christmas shut down to help avoid detection) the hackers have gained access to the network and called premium rate (09) and special rate (0871) numbers which they earn revenue from. In some cases, this revenue is used to fund organised crime and terrorist activity. Many businesses are unaware that they are liable for any charges generated during these attacks and that getting this money back is a lengthy process.

A case in America that made it to court uncovered an international criminal gang that had access to over 2,500 PBX’s and had illegally routed calls to the value of $55million dollars. Another case of note, and probably the most high-profile UK victim was New Scotland Yard.

The average call charges faced by a company hit by this type of hacking is £10,000.

As you can see by the figures above, phone hacking is a serious crime and in all cases, we advise affected parties to notify the police as soon as the hack is brought to their attention. The called numbers should also be reported to Ofcom and Phonepay Plus.

As with computer hacking, there are measures to reduce this risk of being hit, however as fast as these measures close one door, the hackers find ways to open another.

One of the main ways access is gained is through services such as voicemail which allow you to dial into a network externally, but there are simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of this happening. Ensure all ways of accessing your network are password protected (just as you would put a password on your wireless internet network), change these passwords from the system default and ideally update them often, don’t share passwords, make passwords as long and complicated as possible (many hackers have sophisticated methods that can crack passwords 16 digits long) and keep all access codes secure (some victims had calls from individuals claiming to be from telephone companies asking codes to do work on the network or to update their security).

It is also worth considering what kinds of calls you make; does your business need to be able to call premium rate or international numbers? If not, consider call barring features so if your network was compromised, it would be harder for extensive call charges to be built up.

At Deep Blue we take the security of our customers seriously which is why we partner with a number of developers and services to provide additional security to our customers. We use multi-level monitoring systems to track call traffic volumes. These alert us and can even automatically apply outbound call barring should suspicious activity be found.

If phone hacking is something you are concerned about or if you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact one of our friendly support staff, 0333 240 9100.

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The future depends on what we do in the present…

How we connect in our business has changed dramatically over the last few years and it’s all for the better! With each upgrade, we see faster more reliable speeds.

For something we use so often, it’s hard to believe that we have developed so quickly – long gone are the oversized computers with dial-up connections!

Here’s a brief look at how we have progressed in our world of connectivity.

Past

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)

DSL uses copper telephone lines to transmit digital data. It is painfully slow with max download speeds of 20Mbps and max upload speeds of 2Mbps. DSL strangles the digital capabilities of all but the smallest businesses.

Present

FTTC (Fibre-to-the-cabinet)

With FTTC, data runs at lightning speed through fibre until it reaches the street cabinet. Here it is translated into slow electrical signals passing across a copper cable into your building. Speeds are inconsistent, dropping at peak times, and will tend to max out at 80Mbps.

Future

FTTP (Fibre-to-the-premises)

FTTP brings full fibre directly to your building. With no copper to slow data down, FTTP networks can easily run at gigabit speeds – that’s up to 1000Mbps and beyond – ideal for remote backups, data heavy cloud services and VoIP.

Offering capacity rich and fit for the future connections, with a core network capable of supporting every home, business, school, mobile and public site with unlimited capacity on day one.

Can you get FTTP yet? Call our team who will find out for you 0333 240 9100

Click here to see how you can connect your business to transform the way you work online.

Snow

Are you winter weather ready? Six things to consider

As the nights draw in and the days get colder it’s time to make sure your business is winter weather ready.

FailoversSnow

Do you have a back-up plan?

When bad weather strikes it can cause havoc. Blocked roads and cancellations to public transport can leave you and your work force out in the cold in every sense! Broken heating and burst pipes can leave your office unusable. So, are you prepared should the worst happen? Will you still be able to answer your calls and access your emails?

VoIP services from Deep Blue all have back up options. Some, like Horizon and InBound, can even be pre-set to failover automatically if they detect a loss of service at your site. Make sure you know what failover options your set up has and how to invoke them if needed.

If you are not sure what failover options you have or if you want a refresher on how to use them then get in touch, a member of our friendly team will be happy to go through your set up with you.

Heating

As the temperature goes down, the thermostat goes up.

There’s nothing like the feeling of coming into a warm room on a cold day but while you may love the heating, your office electronics may not. Before it gets too cold, have a quick check of your office to make sure your equipment is safe.

If you have radiators, make sure you don’t have electronics stood next to or directly above them. Check to make sure leads and cables aren’t resting on any device that may get hot. Have a look at your comms cabinet, is there anything blocking the vents on it that could cause things to overheat? Now might also be a good time to give the vents on your PC a quick clean up to.

Oh, and if you are using portable heaters, just make sure when plugging them in that you don’t unplug anything you need (it happens more than you might think!).

Transportslider_b

When the going gets tough, you can’t always get going.

How do your staff get to work? Have you thought about what you might do if there are road closures or disruptions to public transport?

Consider planning ahead with a carpool plan. Arrange groups or pairings who can offer lifts should other forms of transport be unavailable. Make sure that your car is winter weather ready too, check it is in good running order and consider popping some extra layers and snacks in the boot in case you get caught anywhere.

If the weather looks really bad, consider ways of enabling your staff to work from home.

Supplies

Supply and demand.

If you rely on deliveries, have you considered what might happen if these are disrupted?

Are there alternative jobs or projects staff can work on if you run short of anything? Can you order extras of anything to keep in stock to tide you over? Are there plenty of teabags and biscuits in the kitchen?

Contact

Don’t be a stranger.

You’ve had a think about how you can stay in contact with your customers but what about your staff?

A dedicated DDi number given to staff only will allow workers to call and let you know if they are running late or unable to get in. If you have to close for any reason you could record messages on here for staff to listen to to keep them up to date, this can be especially useful if you have people out in the field like drivers or care givers who may plan on popping in unexpectedly. Outside of winter it can be used for staff to contact you if they are sick or for you to provide general updates that you don’t want other people to hear.

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Happy Holidays!

It’s that time of year when festivals and events can start to fill up your calendar.

With Christmas falling on a Wednesday it is worth thinking about what days and hours your office will be open. What will you do when the office is closed? Will you send calls to voicemail, leave a message to say you are shut or do you need to divert your calls for emergencies? Have you thought about how you will notify your customers of your Festive opening hours?

Many of our services offer a range of options to manage your calls during this time. Some like InBound and Horizon can even have schedules created so that numbers divert automatically. See our knowledge base guides for help with setting up schedules for Horizon and InBound.

If you use Horizon hunt groups, don’t forget you can easily add and remove users. That way if staff are away you can take them out of the hunt group until they get back.

Our staff are happy to talk to you about your options for managing your calls over the holidays. We also understand that you can’t always deal with these things by yourself, which is why we are happy to pre-programme any changes for you, we just ask that you please let us know as early as possible so we don’t get a mad rush last minute!

If this list has given you food for thought and you would like to make sure your business is winter weather ready then why not get in touch on 0333 240 9100 or by emailing theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

 

 

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UCI World Road Championships in Yorkshire

This is a reminder to all our Yorkshire based customers that the UCI World Road Championships will be taking place at the end of this month. From the 21st to the 29th September there will be road closures throughout Yorkshire to accommodate men’s, women’s and para-cycling events.

On the 21st and 27th of September, the action will be passing right by Deep Blue‘s very own home town of Wetherby!

Details of all the UCI World Road Championships routes and closures can be found on the Yorkshire 2019 UCI website. If you are affected by any of the road closures, or maybe just planning to pop out for a minute to watch the race, remember to plan ahead to make sure you don’t miss out on any important calls.

 

Ryan Sidebottom – Iconic swing bowler calls time at the top of his game

At the end of this county season iconic swing bowler Ryan Sidebottom will call time on his 20 year career as a professional cricketer, a career which has spanned 3 decades and seen him break records for his country and county. Playing a pivotal role in England winning the T20 World Cup in 2010, Ryan is the only player in the recent history of the game to win five county championships.

Ryan Sidebottom

​Ryan will retire from the sport still at the top of his game and is arranging a number of testimonial events to celebrate his career at which he hopes to see many faces from the last 20 years to make his retirement celebrations a time to remember for everyone involved. 

Deep Blue Telecom are proud to sponsor Ryan in his final season as well as supporting two charities close to Ryan’s heart: Martin House Children’s Hospice and his own Cricket Foundation, who will benefit from money raised during the testimonial period.

Our predictions for 2016 – By Ross Knapman

Image Blue

OK, it’s that time when we all begin to focus, look ahead and determine the changes we make within our business for the year ahead. In the world of telecoms, these changes are fast-moving and vast. At Deep Blue, we enjoy keeping up-to-date with technology developments, so we thought we would share some of the trends and predictions we anticipate for 2016:

GAME CHANGERS
Cloud based technology and applications will continue to grow as business owners recognise the advantages. Further demand for joined up voice anywhere such as the office, home and out and about, as well as hosted IT services and video calling, will increase as improved broadband creates less reliance on traditional telephony hardware. Business by business, area by area, how we work will continue to evolve with technical development and improving upload speeds.

We will become more mobile than ever (although there’s plenty of room for improvement!). We should see continued expansion of applications and tools allowing us to interact with each other via mobile devices, home-based electronics and automotive tools. There’s even a term for this “The Digital Mesh”…not Mess!!

IoT (Internet of Things) and wearable technologies will continue their rise and with a combination of new robotics and AIS (Artificial Intelligence Solutions) we should see this development go mainstream in 2016.

Big Data will become even more relevant as we see a shift from connected devices to intelligent devices (i.e. computing capabilities). For example, Pizza Hut is testing the world’s first ‘subconscious menu’ using eye-tracking technology to predict the customer choices.

KEY CHALLENGES
New players, with lots of financial muscle and no experience just looking for the quick win continue to be disruptive to both the industry and customer. We have seen it all before, but it won’t stop it happening. Remember, modern telecommunications is now a service industry and not about selling on low price.

With on-going growth in digitalization and IoT there will be an increase in security threats and hacks, unfortunately, this looms over all business today. As such, there will be an increased focus on detecting and responding to these threats faster than ever as well as the introduction of more efficient blocking measures.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
Economic volatility will continue to be a factor, so any product like Cloud telephony that reduces, or even eliminates, upfront capital outlay will be in demand. Customer confidence will be a key driver to continued recovery.

Buying habits will continue to be driven by technology with 2015 statistics suggesting that most people complete 57% of the purchase process before even engaging with suppliers. We believe this percentage will continue to increase during 2016.

IN CONCLUSION
Despite the challenges out there, the telecoms industry continues to be resilient and adaptive, growing and changing, as demand requires. At Deep Blue we take this ethos to heart, providing customer specific solutions that can change to the world around them. So if your New Year’s resolution is to overhaul your telecoms, why not give Deep Blue a call (0333 240 9100) today.

And who would have thought… we used to sell phones and fax machines a few years ago…Happy New Year!!

O2 to become part of Hutchinson

 

Telefonica has finalised a deal to sell its UK mobile arm O2 to Hutchinson for £10.25bn. The companies have been in talks for weeks and have reached the agreement following the completion of due diligence. The combination of networks Three and O2 will form the largest UK mobile operator ahead of EE, however the deal is still subject to regulatory approval… which could take up to a year.

Combining O2 and Three would cut the number of major mobile operators in the UK from four to three. The combined company would surpass EE, which has a 29% market share, to give it 41%. The move now leaves Vodafone trailing the pack in its home market.

Easter Opening Times

Deep Blue’s offices will be closed on Friday 31st and Monday the 1st April. If you have an emergancy during this time and you need to contact us please ring 0333 240 9100 and leave a message and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible. Office hours will be as normal (9am – 5pm) from Tuesday 2nd onwards.

Have a great Easter break!

 

Deep Blue supporting local events

At Deep Blue we are proud to be involved with local events and this weekend sees us sponsoring not one, but two!

If you pop down to either the Harrogate Beer Festival or the Boston Spa Beer festival, be sure to keep a look out for our Deep Blue sponsored beers!

Both events have a large selection of Beers available as well as live entertainment and it’s all to support local causes!

Details for both events can be found at their websites:

bostonspabeerfestival.co.uk

harrogatebeer.co.uk

Severe Weather Damage

Due to the strong winds and heavy rain, some areas of the country are experiencing service issues resulting from damage to overhead cabling and flooding.

Openreach are working to carry out all of the repairs however this does mean that the work stack is higher than normal and as such lead times for other jobs have been affected, for this reason Openreach have declared MBORC in the following areas:

  • Highlands and Islands
  • Tayside and Fife
  • West Central Scotland
  • SE Scotland
  • SW Scotland
  • Northumberland and Wearside
  • Mid Wales