Remote working

Covid-19 and remote working – keep calm and log on

With the thought of Covid-19 on a lot of people’s minds, many business are looking at ways to assist their staff in remote working.

At Deep Blue we pride ourselves at not just providing great products and services but also great support. This is why we are offering the following tips and guidance for remote working.

Horizon

With Horizon, starting to work remotely couldn’t be easier. There are multiple ways your staff can receive their calls at home:

  • If you have a compatible router* and a horizon PSU, you can take your horizon handset home with you. First connect the PSU to power. Then connect your handset’s ethernet cable to one of the ports on the back of your router.
  • You can link each Horizon handset with up to five other numbers using twinning. This allows home workers to receive calls on their Horizon phone, home phone and other devices at the same time.
  • For a small additional charge, users can have a Horizon desktop soft phone. This allows users to make and manage their calls via their computer (available for Mac and Windows).
  • For a small additional charge, users can get the Horizon app on their smartphone (available for Android and iOS). This allows them to not only make and receive Horizon calls on their mobile, but also gives them access to the company directory, their speed dials, recent call details and many other Horizon features.

Horizon Collaborate – 4 month free trial

For next level functionality, you can upgrade your Horizon service to collaborate. Collaborate adds the following features to your Horizon service:

  • Audio and Video calling via desktop and smartphone
  • Personal audio, web and video conferencing with up to 15 users (with both Horizon and non-Horizon users)
  • Room audio, web and video conferencing with up to 15 users(with both Horizon and non-Horizon users)
  • Instant messaging and presence (info on a users status and availability)
  • Service management (call settings)
  • Drag and drop file and desktop sharing
  • Visual Voicemail
  • Address Books/Contact Management

This means your work force can still communicate with each other in real time, collaborate with each other and even host conferences with suppliers or customers, all from the comfort of their own home.

In light of the current Covid-19 situation and the increased interest in remote working, Horizon are currently offering the first four months of collaborate for free to support business in establishing home working.

Because Horizon is controllable from anywhere you have an internet connection you can still manage your calls even if you can’t get to your office. Redirecting them or updating your voicemail message to keep your callers up to date.

The statistics tab on the portal allows you to keep track of calls made and received on each Horizon handset. This lets you know if calls are being missed so you can react to this.

Remote Working

SIP Trunks

These can be forwarded to alternative numbers via the trunks themselves or via your phone system. Customers with SIP Trunk call manager can forward numbers via the call manager portal.

PSTN and ISDN

If you are using PSTN or ISDN, a facility called admin controlled call forwarding can be setup on your lines. This allows you to add and remove forwards on your phone numbers via a handset connected to your line. There is a small additional charge for this service and it typically takes 24 hours for the service to be applied at the exchange.

From protecting workers who may fall into at risk groups. Keeping your business running should staff be quarantined. An alternative for staff with childcare issue should schools be closed. Or just a new way to run your business. Whatever reason is making you consider remote working, Deep Blue are happy to be on hand to support your business.

Whether you are an existing customer or not, please feel free to contact us to discuss what options may be suitable for your business.

* Not all broadband services and routers will work with Horizon. Some routers may use settings such as SIP ALG which can interfere with Horizon.

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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 or bank holidays 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 crime 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 out bound 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.

All that's left to say

All that’s left to say….

The Christmas jumpers have been worn, the festive call plans activated and our little Elves have now gone home. So all that’s left to say is…..

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all of our customers!

We will be back in the office on Thursday 2nd January ready to hit the New Year with a bang. Whatever your Business’ Resolutions are, Deep Blue will be here to help you and your business shine!

All that's left to say

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Our Christmas HO-HO-HOpening hours

Our Christmas HO-HO-HOpening Hours at Deep Blue

Monday 23rd December – 9am until 5pm
Tuesday 24th December – 9am until 12pm
Wednesday 25th December – Closed
Thursday 26th December – Closed
Friday 27th December – Closed
Monday 30th December – Closed
Tuesday 31st December – Closed
Wednesday 1st January – Closed

We will be happily back to work on Thursday 2nd January – 9am until 5pm

05da2fab-19fd-47e5-ba7d-02e89daf5317OUT OF HOURS

During the festive shut-down, EMERGENCY SUPPORT is available. Please leave a message on the number below and a member of our team will be in touch.

0333 240 9100

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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.

 

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ISDN Withdrawal – the key questions answered

In this article we answer some of the key questions you may have about the upcoming ISDN withdrawal and the wider closing of the PSTN.

What is the PSTN?

The Public Switched Telephone network or PSTN currently forms a large part of the UK telecoms infrastructure. It is made up of copper telephone lines, fibre optic cables, microwave transmission links, satellites, undersea telephone cables and mobile networks. It used for several functions, including the making of calls using analogue voice data and Supporting digital services such as ISDN.

Why is the PSTN being withdrawn?

According to Openreach:

‘the equipment which runs the PSTN is ageing and will reach its end of life by December 2025.  This means the analogue telephone voice services that are reliant on this network will no longer be available……. Spare parts are becoming out of manufacture and, additionally, many of the people who designed, built and operated the system are retired or close to retirement so skills are increasingly scarce.’

The current PSTN network will be replaced with a fibre and VoIP network.

What products will be affected?

The PSTN network currently supports a number of products which, when it is withdrawn, will no longer be available. The key one which will affect business customers is the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). Many companies have telephony systems which use either ISDN2 or ISDN30 channels to make and receive calls. Over 16 million lines and channels are affected by the swicth off and will need migrating prior to 2025.

When are the services being withdrawn?

Openreach plans to stop allowing the connection of new PSTN services, like ISDN, from September 2023. All connections will be finally switched off in December of 2025.

How will the switch off be managed?

This is still an ongoing discussion. Openreach are in regular discussion with Ofcom and the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) about this process. The Federation of Communication Services (FCS) is also involved in these discussions. As a member of the FCS, Deep Blue is part of the wider conversation about how the withdrawal will be managed for communications providers and their customers.

What alternative products will there be?

Openreach are currently in the process of introducing a range of new services alongside some of their existing ones to ensure internet access is available once the PSTN is discontinued. From there, call traffic will be handled as Voice over IP (VoIP). This basically means that your voice call is sent as bits of data via your internet connection. If you are using SIP trunks, Horizon or InBound then you are already making calls via this technology.

I’m using ISDN lines, should I make the switch now?

As always when big changes are happening, some companies use the uncertainty for their own gains. We have already seen customers who have received communications, both at their business and at home, implying their connectivity is under threat and they should move now before it’s too late! This, luckily, is not true. There is still almost five and a half years until the PSTN is deactivated so while it is something to start giving thought to, it is not a reason to rush to make changes.

There are, however, plenty of other good reasons to make the switch. Keep a look out for our article ‘ISDN to VoIP- is it time to make the change?’ coming soon. In it we will detail the many benefits of switching to a VoIP solution: like potential cost savings, resilience and features.

In Conclusion

Many companies are already taking advantage of digital services which will serve them now and after the switch off. For those that aren’t, there is plenty of time and plenty of options for them to make the move to. Openreach, the FCS and service providers like Deep Blue are all working closely to put plans and procedures in place to manage the switch.

Deep Blue customers can rest assured that we will be on hand to make the change as easy and stress free as possible.

Have more questions, want to get ahead of the crowd or keen to start taking advantage of VoIP for it’s many other benefits? Contact Deep Blue today on 0333 240 9100 or by email to theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copy of Beer Festival Flyer

Wetherby Lions Beer Festival Sponsor

When last orders were called at the annual Wetherby Lions Beer Festival, the two-day event was hailed as a ‘roaring’ success.

Locals and visitors from afar turned out in their hundreds to enjoy the jamboree in aid of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. With a wide variety of craft ales, some great live music, tasty hot food and entertainment for children, they all combined to ensure a fine time was had by all.​

Deep Blue Telecom are proud to sponsor local events such as
The Wetherby Lions Beer Festival

We’ll be at Collingham Real Ale Festival too – see you on 8th-9th June 2019

Wetherby Lions Beer Festival

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Yorkshire Choice Awards – And the winner of Business Woman of the Year is….

The glitz and glamour of the Yorkshire Choice Awards evening on Saturday 6th April, could have been mistaken for an Oscar style ceremony event with well over 700 people attending at the Centenary Pavilion at Elland Road, Leeds.

Deep Blue were proud to sponsor the Business Woman of the Year category for the fourth year running at these prestigious Awards.

Yorkshire Choice Awards Business Woman of the Year

Deep Blue Managing Director, Ross Knapman with Business Woman of the Year winner Nicky Chance-Thompson.

Nicky has demonstrated a massive commitment and passion for The Piece Hall, in Halifax and to Calderdale generally, through her role is namely as CEO of The Piece Hall. Nicky is immensely proud of what her team have achieved since re-opening the huge gates of this iconic building, aptly on Yorkshire Day, back in August 2017.

Congratulations Nicky.

ISDN – It’s demise and the impact on your business

The ISDN standard was set in the late 1980’s, during this time the World Wide Web was just being invented, mobile telephony was just finding its feet – and still analogue and urgent business documents were sent by fax!

ISDN

In many ways, still using ISDN is like driving a sports car:

  • The car represented cutting edge technology when it was launched
  • These days it’s not as efficient as modern counterparts
  • Reliability is a worry and issues can take days to resolve
  • Although a classic, sticking with the old model may no longer meet your basic needs

At this point, you’d consider upgrading to a newer model that is fit for purpose.

Here’s why you should do the same if your business is still relying on ISDN.
 

  • ISDN lacks the agility needed to meet the needs of today’s fast-moving consumers
  •  The management of multiple offices can be time consuming, maintaining consistency of service across offices is often difficult
  • Scalability is slow and often expensive
  • It can’t be combined with modern technologies like Ethernet to enhance voice services
  • Disaster recovery is slow

ISDN

Next generation SIP technology is fast becoming the ISDN replacement solution of choice, as it can bring many benefits to your business, including improved service features for greater efficiency gains, increased flexibility to meet the changing needs of your workforce and enhanced quality of service for customers.

Technologies like SIP trunking offer a more flexible, cost-effective telecoms solution for your organisation to help you achieve your business goals. That’s why it’s time to add ISDN replacement to your business agenda.

How resilient is your existing telecoms provision?
How much could downtime cost your business?

Need a little more information?
Contact our team on 0333 240 9100

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE TO SAVE £3,000

Are you eligible to save £3,000?

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE TO SAVE £3,000

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is designed to increase the speed of deployment of full fibre networks within the UK by providing micro-grants to support the cost of new connectivity. Vouchers are the mechanism the Scheme uses to provide these grants.

Full fibre networks are the future and getting ready for a gigabit speed is a key step for most businesses.

If you are a small or medium sized business, you may be eligible for vouchers worth up to £3,000 to upgrade your business broadband to a fast and reliable connection over gigabit capable infrastructure.

Am I eligible?
The scheme is available for small to medium sized enterprises.

The category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euro, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million euro. This includes sole traders.

What is a gigabit connection?
The UK now has 95% coverage for superfast broadband with speeds of 24 megabits per second or higher. However, most superfast connections still depend on copper telephone wires, which are limited in the speeds they can support. For the fastest and most reliable broadband, capable of delivering gigabit speeds, a full fibre connection is required.

One gigabit is the same as 1,000 megabits – so it’s a big leap forward in connection speeds that could benefit you and your business into the future. Full fibre also supports symmetrical connections – meaning your upload and download speeds can be the same.

Interested?
Want to Check your eligibility?
If you wish to find out more information please get in touch at theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk