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Small Businesses: Focus On VoIP and Mobility
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By Russell Morgan


• Sync the technology. Whether inside or outside the office, it’s important to get your PC, laptop and hand-held wireless device on the same page. Import current contact information and update documents while away from the office.

• Be secure. Most wireless networks have some level of security. This may be enough…but it may not be. As a rule, the more protection on the device, the better. The key, however, is to have some security in place. Even a basic password will protect information if your device is lost or stolen. Using your device in a public environment--not the transmission of data over wireless networks--creates the greatest risk.

• Stick to standards. Not all wireless cards are created equal. When choosing equipment you should make sure the wireless connection is compliant with all the latest security standards.

• Make your mobile device work for you. When setting up a mobile office, take only the necessary hardware, software and programs.

• Prepare before the trip. Work with a solution provider to develop the most efficient, cost-effective and secure travel plan.

VoIP
VoIP has become mainstream in small businesses. It increases business viability and efficiency and reduces costs by avoiding the traditional phone companies when making local and long distance calls. These services also increase phone-based applications. They are especially valuable for small businesses with multiple offices around the country or those with a mobile sales force.

These tips can help incorporate VoIP in 2006.

• Evaluate the merits. Take stock of calling habits, including the amount of long-distance or international calling and what callers are doing on the phone. How much money will VoIP save you?

• Choose a provider. A few years ago only a few companies provided VoIP services. There now are many to choose from. They offer a variety of plans and configuration options. Smaller start-up providers may have lower rates, but choosing a more established company may increase reliability.

• Integrate technology. A unique benefit of VoIP is the ability to integrate call databases, contact management tools and other business computer programs. This improves efficiency. Work with an expert to take full advantage of the opportunities for computer system integration, cell phone service compatibility and Wi-Fi calling capabilities.

Russell Morgan is the president of the Information Technology Solution Providers Alliance
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