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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.

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Stay Scam Safe with our top tips

Telephone scams, which target both business and residential customers, are always a nuisance. Here are some top tips to help you stay scam safe:

Stay Scam Safe

Don’t get caught out

Don’t trust the number on the display

Scammers are able to present numbers to make it appear like they are calling from the company they are claiming to call from. A legitimate company will always be happy for you to end the call and call them back.

If you answer a call and it is an automated message giving you the option to press a key to call back: don’t!

You have no way of verifying what number you will then be connected to. This leaves you unable to verify if you are being connected to the organisation or company that the call claims to be from. You may also end up with a large bill – many scams use this method to route you on to a premium rate number which generates charges that go straight into the scammers pockets.

If you do decide to call a company back, ideally call from an alternative number

If this is not possible then it is best to wait a while before using your line to dial out. Scammers have been known to keep lines open so you think you are dialing out to the legitimate organisation, but instead are still talking to them. They have even been known to play dummy dial tones down the line.

Never allow these callers to talk you through installing anything on your computer

Deep Blue and many other companies do, on occasion, use remote desktop facilities to carry out work on customer’s behalf. We will never contact you out of the blue to do this. This is only ever done on a prearranged basis. If remote works are needed we will agree a date and time with you in advance and give you details of the engineer who will be contacting you.

Deep Blue will never call you asking for immediate payment over the phone

If an invoice should fall overdue we will send notification to the registered accounts contact advising them of this, along with details on how they can pay.

Deep Blue will never threaten to immediately cease your service due to payment or usage issues.

We always endeavour to work with our customers to resolve issues before they reach the point of having their service suspended. On the rare occasions that we do have to suspend a service we always provide written notice of this before it happens, along with details of how to prevent this from happening.

Use the resources available to you to Stay Scam Safe

If you are using a landline: make sure you have registered for TPS. This can’t stop all nuisance calls getting through to you but it can reduce the number. For customers on the Horizon platform, the blacklist can be used to block nuisance numbers. Check with your provider to see what kind of fraud protection services they have in place. At Deep Blue we work with our carriers to provide a range of added safety services on our lines as standard. These services monitor your call traffic and can alert us to any suspicious activity. They can even automatically apply temporary call barring to limit your exposure should you get hacked or scammed.

To discuss your telecoms, contact us at theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk or on 0333 240 9100. If you would like to know more on how to stay scam safe, the Met police have a number of resources available like their Little Booklet of Phone Scams.

 

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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

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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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Christmas Call Plans – Call Forwards

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With the Horizon and InBound platforms, it is quick and easy to re-route your calls over Christmas.

InBound

Create a Christmas call plan using the date and time control nodes to send calls where you need them and when you need them. Add in a Divert node to build additional destination numbers if your main destination is busy or unavailable. Use the ‘Schedule Activate Option’ so you can build your Call Plan in advanced, knowing it will activate when you need it to.

InBound Date and Time Control Nodes

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These nodes allow you to set different termination points on different days and at different times (e.g. one for Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and one for evenings and weekends). When you add these nodes into a call plan two boxes appear, one called control and one called default. Click on the control box to specify certain days and times and then drag a destination node onto the box to specify your termination number. Drag a destination node onto the control box and any days/times not listed on the control box will follow this routing. So in the example below, the calls route to destination Y Mon-Fri 9-5 and destination X at all other times:

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InBound Divert Node

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This allows you to set alternative destinations if a destination number is busy, not answered or suffering from a network error. Simply drag a divert node onto a destination node and then add destinations for each of the three options.

InBound Schedule Activate –

Once you have built your call plan, instead of clicking Activate, instead of click Schedule Activate. In the window that appears to specify the start date and time for this call plan then click Done. Your call plan will appear as if it is already active but if you go back to the call plan list it will show your call plan with the date and time it is due to activate next to it.

Horizon

Use Call forward and Divert options to send calls to mobiles. Set up Voicemail to email alerts so you get copies of your Voicemail messages sent to your email for you to listen to where ever you need to. Use the Hunt Group schedule facility to plan your call plans in advanced.

Horizon Call Forward Hunt Group

Send calls to your mobile or home phone using the Hunt Group Call Forward options. Go to Call Groups>Hunt Group, click Edit next to the Hunt Group you wish to forward. To send calls directly to your Divert number, go to Advanced Settings and use the call forward option (make sure to hit Save whenever you make changes!).

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To forward to another number after first ringing on your Horizon handsets go to Options and Use the Forward after x seconds option.

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Voicemail to Email Hunt Group

Receive an email notification whenever someone leaves you a voicemail, including the date, time, callers number and a copy of the recording. Go to Call Groups>Hunt Group and click edit next to the number you wish to make changes to. Go to the Voicemail tab tick the box for ‘Notify me at this address’, type the address you wish the email to be sent to and click save.

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Hunt Group Schedule

Add Christmas, New Year and other Bank Holidays into your call Schedule. Under Advanced settings, click Edit Next to Schedule, then click the plus sign next to Additional Routing.Screen FourName your Schedule and click Create, on the Add Event screen, give your event a name and specify the start and end dates (these are displayed in month/day format). If you untick the box marked All day event you can specify your start and end times. In the example below the event covers from midday on 24th Dec to 5pm on 28th, after this normal routing would apply:

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Once you have set your date and time you can then click create, you can add further events (such as New Year) by clicking on Add event again. Once all your events are created, close the window. Finally, click Save.

Not sure? Just email details of the dates, times and forward number to info@deepbluetelecom.co.uk with the subject Christmas Call Plan and we will set it up for you.

 

 

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Horizon – 6 tips to make sure you get the most from your Horizon system

Whatever the size and shape of your business, with Horizon you have a wealth of features available to you. Ensure you are getting the most from your Horizon system with these helpful tips so your telecoms can be truly unlimited.

Horizon Disaster recovery

Don’t get caught out! There are many things can stop you using your office but with Horizon that doesn’t mean losing your calls. With pre-programmable disaster recovery you can designate an alternative number to automatically route your calls to in the event of your Handset losing contact with Horizon (for example due to a power outage).

Can’t get to your office? Control your call plan from anywhere you have an internet connection – even your mobile. Just login to your Horizon account and redirect your calls to an alternative number or update your voicemail to let callers know what’s going on.

Custom Hold Music

Did you know you can upload custom hold music on Horizon? Use free to air music or have special music created for your company with bespoke messages. It’s so easy to change. You can even have seasonal messages or advertise promotions or events. To find out more about formatting your audio files and changing your hold music, visit our knowledgebase.

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Horizon Statistics

Visit the Performance section of the Statistics tab to learn all about your calls. See where your customers are located; great for doing target advertising. Find out when your busy days and times are to manage staffing levels accordingly.

You can also view statistics for outbound calls. Get an overview for the whole company or use the search facility to view details for a specific user.

For even more detail you can view the Advanced Statistics section. See detailed information for all calls in and out as well as internal calls. Use the search boxes at the top to filtre your results by day, time, call type (inbound or outbound), call scope (internal or external) and user. Click download to export a csv file of all results.

Call Plans

Regularly review your Horizon call plans to make sure you aren’t missing important calls. Use the scheduling tools to send calls through to overflow hunt groups at your busiest time or add an auto attendant to get calls where they need to be as quickly as possible.

If you haven’t already, consider upgrading to full call queuing. Queue up to 25 calls at a time, offer callers the option press 1 to leave a voicemail and add your own custom comfort messages.

Company Blacklist

Missing important calls due to nuisance callers tying up your lines and staff? Getting harassed by problem callers? Use the Horizon blacklist tool to stop them from getting through. Any number added to the blacklist will get an unavailable tone whenever they try to call you. Visit the knowledgebase to find out how to manage your blacklist for call groups and user handsets.

Horizon Knowledge

Deep Blue customers get full access to our knowledgebase. It’s full of helpful guides on how to setup and manage many functions on Horizon, with images to help guide you along. You also get access to our friendly, knowledgeable staff who are happy to assist you in the management of your system. We even provide free refresher training on using the Horizon portal, just give us a call on 0333 240 9100 or email horizon@deepbluetelecom.co.uk.

Not a Deep Blue customer? If you think Horizon maybe the solution you need then speak to us today about moving your numbers on to it.

Already on Horizon? Speak to us about migrating to Deep Blue.

3CX UPDATE – The latest V15.5 Update – 6 – has gone gold

3CX Update

The latest V15.5 3CX Update – 6 – has gone gold. It’s an important update too, not only does it come with many new features & improvements but it also has updated SSL certificates that are required.

Check if you already have the latest version by looking at your license on your dashboard, it should end in 6.
 
SSL Security Updates

In the next month 3CX will be updating the security certificates on their servers, required for secure communication with 3CX. This means that you will need to go to update 6 as soon as possible. 3CX continue to add many security features under the hood to ensure safe operation of the PBX and secure communications.
 
For those of you who missed the release of V15.5, Update 6 it comes with some great new features. Amongst others, it includes a WebRTC softphone within the web client, smarter smartphone apps, SSL Security updates and more. Upgrading to the latest service pack is critical and we highly recommend you do so as soon as possible.  

3CX Version 15.0 and 15.5 Users

To make the upgrade process easy for you 3CX have prepared some tools which will automatically upgrade your PBX to Update 6 through all service packs. These tools can be used by all customers who are already on version 15.0 and 15.5 regardless if you have maintenance or not.

3cx Update
 
Back up 3CX to either your documents folder (preferable) or desktop.

Uninstall 3CX

Install version 6 – download the up to date version here: https://www.3cx.com/phone-system/download-links/

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A simple guide to recording and storing conversations to comply with MiFID II

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What is MiFID II?

The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, commonly known as MiFID II, launched in January 2018. First introduced by the EU in response to the 2008 financial crisis, MiFID is a set of sweeping reforms for the financial industry designed to prevent history from repeating itself in the same way again.

Replacing the original Directive, MiFID II brings changes to many areas relating to conduct of business, including far more robust rules around the recording and storing of conversations.

This easy-to-digest eGuide cuts through the jargon and highlight the key parts to help you become compliant.

(click the images to view more)

Who needs to comply?

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What needs to be recorded?

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How do recording need to be stored?

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How do recordings need to be monitored?

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The clock is ticking… are you ready for MiFID II?

Get in touch with Deep Blue today to find out more about how MiFID II is going to impact your organisation and how we can help you comply with these new regulations.

info@deepbluetelecom.co.uk or 0333 240 9100.

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Case Study – Rural Business Park can really offer it all

IMG_0988Local Estate invests in superfast broadband network so that its tenants can enjoy the dream of work life balance.

Hutton Wandesley Estates offers small to medium size businesses, the opportunity to work in an attractive office environment located in a picturesque and historical village in the heart of North Yorkshire. With strong transport links to both York and Harrogate as well as easy access to the A1, Hutton Wandesley Estates can offer it all.

Sasha York, Director of Hutton Wandesley Estate, commented “We’ve just completed the first part of a superfast wireless broadband project to provide our commercial tenants with a business class service at both our Sycamore Barn and Manor Farm Barn offices in the village of Angram. We will be expanding this network in the second phase to residents in Angram and a residential development due to be completed in the Autumn. Angram is a small hamlet west of York which has been neglected by national ISPs.”

Sasha continues “As many of our commercial tenants are from the creative sector, having access to superfast broadband is vital to our business offering. We have struggled with the service that the national ISPs were supplying, 1 Megabits at best, which just doesn’t suffice for today’s online businesses.

Hutton Wandesley Estate has been working on a solution for over two years. Working with Signa Technologies and Deep Blue have enabled us to put in place the service we wanted to provide. Together they have designed and installed a network that meant we could offer our tenants packages from 10Mbps up to 30Mbps with room to grow as demand requires. This is a huge improvement and our tenants agree”.

Mike Harmer, who runs a Web Design company at Manor Farm Barn, one of Hutton Wandesley Estate’s business centres, said “using the internet is essential for the operation of my business as nearly everything is cloud based. When I first moved to Manor Farm the broadband was particularly poor and I needed to use a 4G dongle to try boost the speed, but this still wasn’t great. Fortunately, I knew the new network was coming and now it’s here the connection to the internet has vastly improved. I am now able to upload large files and back up my data without having to think about it.”

Mike continues “as the service is reliable and fast, it has encouraged me to come to the office more, as before I would need to work from home to be able to send client files over the internet.”

Martyn Boswell, Managing Director at Signa Technologies stated “working alongside an IT company such as Deep Blue, helps us deliver not only a robust broadband service but also gives Deep Blue a platform to sell innovative business solutions such as VoIP telephony, which is usually only available to companies located in urban areas.

We hope to work with Deep Blue on many more of these types of network projects in the near future.”

Ross Knapman at Deep Blue added “As a Telecoms business, we know only too well the struggles rural areas face with their technology connections. Teaming up with Signa Technologies is a vital step to ensuring areas such as Angram have improved solutions, speed and reliability.”

If you have a business that would like to provide WiFi to its customers such as a hotel, leisure facility, or place of interest; or you are a business that needs to connect various properties with internet service but are struggling to get the connectivity, then please get in touch and arrange a chat about what Signa can do to help your business. Contact us at info@signa-uk.com or telephone 01423 900 433. Alternatively you can discuss your requirements with Deep Blue on info@deepbluetelecom.co.uk or 0333 240 9100.

 

 

Top Tips for a stress free Summer

Everyone looks forward to the warmer months, but in the business world it can be a balancing act between giving your staff the time off they deserve while still giving your customers the service levels they need.

Here are our top tips to becoming a summer sensation and recharging your batteries without compromising on service!

Prepare Your Customers Let your customers know in advance when you will be away, give yourself that time to really enjoy your break.

Put Marketing on Auto-Pilot Don’t go completely dark on the marketing front so people start to wonder where you are. Pre-schedule posts, blogs and other forms to stay connected.

Set Your ‘Out of Office’ Decide how often and when you plan on checking in, what date you will be returning back to work and how you can be reached in an emergency (if at all) and detail those Summer rules in your out of office announcement.

Intelligently Handle Incoming Calls Whether you close completely or reduce your hours, let a ‘Virtual Office’ take care of the day-to-day. From voicemail to call forwarding to auto-attendants, your phone system has the capability to intelligently handle incoming calls while you are away.

Deep Blue customers can log into our Knowledge Base to find assistance with setting these facilities or contact us for more information on a tailored system for your business

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