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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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Nothing is going to stop us celebrating this Christmas!

Prepare your business for the festive break now and avoid the last-minute rush!

It’s the time of year when staff holidays, festive shutdowns and events start to fill up your diaries.

It’s 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?

Will your staff be working from home?

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 guide for help with setting up schedules in Horizon and Inbound here

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 always happy to help you pre-programme any changes.

We just ask that you please let us know as early as possible.

Contact us on 0333 240 9100 or by emailing theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

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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.

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Christmas Call Plans on Horizon and Inbound

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!).

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

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.

Hunt Group Schedule

Add Christmas into your call Schedule. Under Advanced settings, click Edit Next to Schedule, then click the plus sign next to Additional Routing.

Name 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.

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 theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk with the subject Christmas Horizon Call Plan and we will set it up for you.

Inbound

Create a Christmas call plan using the date and time control nodes to send calls where you need them, 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

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.

InBound Divert Node

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, click Schedule Activate. In the window that appears 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.

Not sure

Just email details of the dates, times and forward number to theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk with the subject Christmas Inbound Call Plan and we will set it up for you.

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Changing Communication Provider – It’s easier than you think

How crucial is telecommunications to your business?

The fact is that having the ability to make and receive calls, access data and line of business applications, and get online is crucial for every small business. And so is value for money!

You should closely monitor how your communication systems are performing, and whether or not you are getting the best deal you can for the best service in the current market. If everything isn’t as it should be, it may be time to change!

A good time to move

With the switch off coming, the chances are you are already thinking about reassessing your telephone supply, and potentially making the move.  

A good rule of thumb for all small businesses is to begin assessment of your communication systems a couple of months before your current contract is due for renewal, particularly if looking at alternatives to a traditional analogue line service. And to never forget that date!

Did you know that you can tell us your renewal date and we’ll remind you when the time is right, providing a no obligation quote, so you’ll have everything you need when it’s decision time.

Where to look for help

Our services are built bespoke to you and designed to make your business communications easier to manage, administrate & cost.

Our team will ensure that you get exactly what you need right now with the capacity to grow as your business does.

Take a look at our services here

Here at Deep Blue we look after the complicated side of things, so you can focus on what you do best, your business.

Call our team to discuss your requirements 0333 240 9100.

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Could your Zoom do with some Va Va Voom?

FTTP has arrived!

Get ready for our fastest, most reliable connection ever. Say goodbye to buffering, bottlenecks and boredom. Say hello to breakneck speed, and enough bandwidth to keep the whole office happy. This is fibre at the speed of light.

Introducing FTTP (Fibre to the Premise)

Whatever you need your connection for, with ultrafast FTTP you’ll do it faster, smoother, more reliably.

From video calls to collaborating with clients, file sharing to cloud computing, this is connectivity built for the future, today.

And when a leased line connection is just out of reach, ultrafast FTTP gives you the high bandwidth, high performance connectivity you need at a fraction of the cost.

Your business benefits

With up to gigabit speeds available – that’s 1000Mbps – you’ll be connected faster than ever. Crystal clear video calls keep you better connected, however far apart you are, file sharing is a cinch and buffering is a distant, long-gone memory.

Call our team today and see how your business can take off.

0333 240 9100

Businessman use the phone in the office, keyboard, mouse, mobile, and monitor detail in the background

Goodbye old telephone network, hello new opportunities

The switch off is coming when the traditional analogue phone network (the Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN) will reach the end of its life and newer digital technologies will take its place.

When you consider that 16 million lines and channels will need to be migrated to alternative products it’s worth starting to look at other options sooner rather than later. 

Beat the rush!

We’ve detailed below some key facts on the switch off but let’s start with the positives and all the benefits you could enjoy by switching now – in fact we are confident that you will love the functionality of VoIP so much, that you will wonder why you haven’t switched before now!

  • Use your existing numbers
  • Access from any device of your choice
  • Use your existing telephones (unless it is time for an upgrade)
  • Add or remove new numbers and manage other users
  • Voicemail to email notifications so you never miss a call
  • Saves you time/money

If all of this has got you thinking maybe your business is ready to take the next step then speak to Deep Blue. We’ll go over all the details with you, arrange a site survey if needed and give you all the information you need to make the decision.

Call 0333 240 9100 or email theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

Key facts from Openreach

Why is the PSTN being withdrawn?

According to Openreach:

‘the equipment which runs the PSTN is ageing and reaching its end of life.  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 Analogue Lines 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 switch 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 however in some areas this stop sell has already been rolled out.

Bank Holiday Call Plan – InBound

Create a Bank Holiday call plan using the date and time control nodes to send calls where you need them, 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 you Call Plan in advanced, knowing it will activate when you need it to.

InBound Date and Time Control Nodes

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.

InBound Divert Node

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, click Schedule Activate. In the window that appears 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.

Not sure

Just email details of the dates, times and forward number to theteam@deepbluetelecom.co.uk with the subject Bank Holiday Call Plan and we will set it up for you.