Category: Solutions

CloudG VOIP Services Compared to Nextiva VOIP – All the Features at Half the Price

With today’s hybrid working environments, it is crucial to have a scalable communication platform that connects your team, partners, and customers seamlessly, no matter where they are. A fully managed VOIP system is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity! 

When it comes to VOIP providers, you have a choice. You can choose one of the big-name providers, like Nextiva VOIP, or you can opt to purchase a service with the same features—and more—from CloudG.

Our fully managed VOIP solution enables you to unify your hybrid workforce, improve productivity, and provide better service to your customers, all at a price that our competitors can’t touch! Our CloudG hosted VOIP offers all the features as Nextiva VOIP, including mobile app, auto-attendant, intelligent call routing, call queues, music on hold, voicemail, CMS integrations, and other common services.

We also offer features the other providers don’t have. Services like Microsoft 365® integration, an open platform on which you own your own numbers, video conferencing, customer caller ID and more! And we offer all these features and services for less than half the price of Nextiva VOIP and other competitors. 

Check out our comparison chart to see how we measure up to the competition and review our case studies to see how we’ve helped others improve customer experiences and communication, reduce IT spend, and enable growth. Then contact us to get started! 

Gone Phishing: Protect Your Business from Phishing Attacks

Turn on the television news and you’ll likely hear about malware, ransomware, and other cyberattacks that extort millions of dollars from international corporations, small businesses, schools, and individuals alike. We hear about these “breaches” at an alarming rate. 

One of the fastest growing types of cyberattacks is phishing. Some experts estimate that up to 83% of all cyber security incidents involve phishing—and that number is increasing, as is the sophistication of the phishing techniques.

So how can you protect yourself and your business from falling prey to these scammers? First, let’s look at what phishing is and how scammers get to us, then let’s talk about the ways to protect against it.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a form of social engineering, a cyberattack that manipulates or “reels in” people (humans) into sharing sensitive information (i.e., account numbers, social security numbers, passwords, etc.) that hackers can use to steal money or create fake identities.

Phishing attacks are typically carried out through email, phone, text, and social media. Hackers pose as legitimate organizations and “bait” users into clicking links to malicious websites or revealing personal information. For example, a phisher may send an email that appears to come from your bank, telling you that there is a problem with your account and urging you to click a link to talk to a representative or to fix the issue. In fact, this type of attack is often referred to as “cloned phishing” as hackers try to duplicate or clone an actual email used by the bank in order to reel the user in.

Social Media Attacks

Another example of phishing scams that affect small businesses is social media attacks—also called “angler phishing.” Many small businesses rely on social media platforms to advertise and sell their products and services. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are popular and inexpensive ways to market a small business. Unfortunately, they are also easy targets for hackers.

Angler phishing scams can include fake URLs, bogus profiles, or phony instant messages. For example, a user may receive a fake notification that there was a problem with one of their posts or an instant message request from known contacts. Once the user clicks on a malicious link, a hacker can take control of the user’s account and hold it for “ransom.” The user cannot access the account and must either pay the ransom to regain access or start all over again, losing the site they’ve built and the audience they have worked so hard to attract. It can cripple an entrepreneur and kill a business.

How to Protect Against Phishing

With phishing attacks becoming more frequent and phishing tactics becoming more sophisticated, it is crucial to guard against them. Nothing is fool proof, but there are things you can do to mitigate your risk. For example:

  • Installing up-to-date security software and firewall protection is the first line of defense. Things like two-factor authentication and password management can go a long way in protecting against vulnerabilities.
  • Since phishing baits the end user—human beings— to gain access to systems or sensitive information, training employees how to spot phishing attacks can help prevent breaches. Awareness is key to avoiding a phisher’s bait. Some “warning signs” and best practices include:
  • Avoid posting personal details on social media (i.e., birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Look for odd or non-standard URL and email addresses
  • Look for misspellings, language differences, grammar mistakes, or things that catch your attention
  • Only open attachments from trusted sources
  • If you get an email about an account (i.e., bank account, utility account, subscription, etc.) don’t click through the email. Instead, verify the information by calling the organization or by going to the organization’s website and signing into your account as you typically do
  • Never give account numbers, credit card information, or other sensitive data to unsolicited phone callers
  • Never reveal personal information over email or in text messages

Phishing attacks can severely damage or even kill a business. Even scarier, they are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated. If you’re not taking steps to prevent a phishing attack, you are leaving yourself and your business open and vulnerable. 

Don’t get caught in a phisher’s net. Make sure you are protected with the latest software and prevention tools. Contact CloudG to get started.

Supporting Your Work-from-Home Staff: Technology is Key

Two and a half years after Covid closed offices around the world and required millions of workers to perform their jobs from their homes, the work-from-home “job feature” has gained a foothold across varying demographics, occupations, and locations, and remains a reality for more than half of the US workforce. According to a recent McKinsey & Company report*, more than 58% of the American workforce (approximately 92 million people) have the option of working from home at least one day a week and 35% have the option to work from home five days a week.

While this flexible staffing model is convenient for workers and typically more cost-effective for employers (less office space is required), issues can arise if you don’t have the right technology to support a work-from-home model. If your office staff fields customer calls, you need to ensure that the customer experience remains consistent whether your staff is in the office or at home.

One of the ways to ensure productivity and minimize issues is to upgrade your phone service to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This technology, which allows office-based and remote employees to work on the same system, keeps your remote employees connected to your business no matter where they are. 

How it Works

VoIP uses the internet to digitize the user’s voice and send it to the receiver. Calls can be routed throughout offices and to remote locations without having the phone company run “lines.” This digital setup includes many features you can’t get with analog phones, including intelligent call routing, video conferencing, screen sharing, voice-to-text and call recording, analytics, and more.

Further, employees can be assigned a single number whether they are in the office or at a remote location and can integrate the technology—through an app—with their smartphones, allowing them to perform their work from anywhere.

Benefits of VoIP

Efficiency – VoIP uses an automated attendant to route customer calls, getting your customers to the right agents no matter where those agents are—all with one call to a single number.  In addition, changes such as adding more lines, scaling back, or reallocating lines, are quick and easy.

Cost – VoIP is a cost-effective option for most employers. No hardware is required to run the system; all you need is an internet connection and a subscription plan. There is no need to purchase additional hardware or pay setup fees every time you add a new employee.

Security – When used over a virtual private network (VPN), VoIP encrypts the data being sent over the company network, giving you a secure method of communicating and sharing data.

Tracking/Monitoring – VoIP records calls and reports data to you, so it is easy to track performance of in-office and remote workers. Metrics such as missed calls, call volume, and availability are easily monitored.

To get started with VoIP for your workforce, contact us.

*McKinsey & Company, Americans are embracing flexible work—and they want more of it

A Look at a New AI Technology: ChatGPT

At CloudG, we go to great lengths to keep our fingers on the pulse of the IT and Cloud services industry. This includes watching and learning about the latest technologies and innovations that can transform our clients’ businesses. One potential new disruptor that’s making the news is a chatbox that was released in November 2022 called ChatGPT. 

A tool developed by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence research lab, ChatGPT uses information from the internet to answer questions in a conversational manner and can build on previous questions in a given thread to create a dialogue.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a “cousin” of the popular GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) language prediction model—that’s the Natural Language Processing (NLP) tool that uses initial text as a prompt to produce text that continues the prompt. Its ability to generate human-like text in a variety of languages and domains allows ChatGPT to conduct natural, back-and-forth conversations with users for an extended period of time. This has the potential to revolutionize the customer service industry.

 

The tool can also generate high-quality content, such as that used in social media articles and posts. For businesses looking to create marketing materials and thought leadership content with limited staffs and budgets, this tool has the potential to be a game-changer.

 

Maybe the best part about it—and the most impactful—is that it can be customized for specific tasks and used to generate personal responses based on user input. This capability makes its potential unlimited.

 

A Note of Caution

While the possible benefits of ChatGPT are innumerable, there are some potential glitches, as noted by the creator. The tool, which recognizes patterns in massive amounts of text from the internet and delivers conversational dialog based on human training, is only as good as the information that feeds it. That means that the answer to the question you ask or the content you create may sound knowledgeable but be entirely wrong.

 

The Bottom Line

Despite its potential drawbacks, ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize the chatbox space. We will continue to track its successes and gauge its potential for use at CloudG.