How to protect your business from Toll Fraud

Are you protecting your business?

Toll Fraud is one of the fastest growing cyber-crimes, with cases increasing by 15% each year.

The costs and damage to a business can be astronomical. The United Kingdom is the third most targeted country in the world with €1.7bn costs for Toll Fraud alone.

What is toll fraud?

Toll Fraud occurs when an outside caller can access the features and facilities of a telephone system for fraudulent purposes. It’s recognised as a serious form of organised crime committed by fraudsters and can have links with drug dealers and even terrorists.

Most PBX systems generally have remote access facilities for the purposes of system maintenance, however this might also make it possible for hackers to reprogram part of the system which then enables them to accumulate large bills through unauthorized calls, usually to Africa or other domains where call rates remain relatively high.

Why is it a threat to your business?

Toll Fraud is both a network and security threat to your business, although it’s thought that many businesses still do not do enough to protect themselves from it.

Statistics have proven that an estimated 84% of UK business are not safe from hacking. Regardless of whether you have analogue, digital or IP based system, fraudsters can hack in and gain access to your phone system in a matter of seconds.

In terms of financial damage to your business, the average cost to a victim can be up to €14k and this may be undetected until the phone bill arrives.

What can you do to stop it?

As mentioned, In most cases the damage has already been done by the time the fraud has been discovered, often leaving the victim with huge phone bills which they then have the responsibility of settling.

To avoid such compromises occurring, customers should choose their system and their system maintainers wisely, here are some tips:

  • Regularly ask how access to your system is controlled.
  • Introduce a policy of regularly changing system and user passwords (for voicemail access for instance)
  • Ensure there are written policies in place which determine who can enable ‘break-out’ facilities for the system
  • Consider barring calls to Premium Rate numbers and international destinations
  • Engage system maintainers with a proven track record and with ISO certifications

At Frontier, our engineers have the technical expertise required to ensure sufficient measures are taken to provide our customers with a satisfactory level of protection from the risk of toll fraud.

We never use a telephone number as an access code and we limit the number of employees given access to remote maintenance and restrict to a ‘need to know’ basis, disabling the remote access ports until required.

To protect you financially, we provide access to real-time billing information and itemised billing, we put pre-agreed thresholds on all CLIs and will warn customers when the threshold has been breached.

To find out more on how you can protect your business from Toll Fraud, please call 08000 92 62 32 or email marcoms@fvdata.co.uk.

 

Sources

Statistics: https://l5t6h30vsy020irgz1apwpf1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Toll-Fraud-Infographic.pdf

 

Everything you need to know about the arrival of 5G

You’ve seen the media coverage; here’s our guide to 5G

The next generation of the mobile network is undeniably the next step in terms of connectivity. Despite it not yet being available to consumers, it’s a topic that has been discussed for many years with testing taking place on a regular basis. This is our little guide, providing Everything you need to know about the arrival of 5G

What is 5G?

5G (5th generation) will be the next standard of mobile network. It will be designed and introduced to deal with the increase of usage of mobile data across the globe, taking over the current 4G wireless system.                                    

How will it be different?

When we migrated to 4G from 3G it was mainly about improving speeds and giving users faster connection. However, the move to 5G won’t just be about keeping you connected on your mobile device, it will also be responsible for evolving wireless technology such as self-driving cars, drones, virtual reality and the Internet of Things.

It’s been said that the speeds of 5G will be faster than our traditional broadband connections and will even replace at-home broadband. In fact, the speeds of 5G could be the last move in terms of mobile data, removing the need to step over to ‘6G’ later down the line.

What progress is being made?

Back in November 2017, Frontier’s supplier EE (part of the BT Group) demonstrated 2.8Gbps download speeds across an end-to-end 5G test network in its UK mobile lab. The breakthrough test, carried out in partnership with Huawei, linked the fully virtualised 5G core to the 64×64 Massive MIMO active antenna unit broadcasting 5G New Radio to deliver the ground-breaking speeds.

It was a major step forward for network function virtualisation (NFV) with fully virtualised 5G core network on commercial-off-the-shelf hardware in the EE lab.

When will it launch in the UK?

Although there is a lot of good progress being made, it’s unlikely we’ll see the arrival of 5G in the United Kingdom for some time. It’s no secret that the UK lags behind in the global ranking of internet connectivity. The country currently sits at 54th in the world, with Brits only being able to access 4G 53% of the time. In contrast, countries like South Korea have been considering the need for 5G deployment since 2008.

With the help of improved software and hardware, the global target for the launch of 5G is 2020, with it being estimated that there will be 24 million 5G subscribers by 2021. However, it’s thought that less than 10% of those will be in Europe. Back in the Autumn Statement in November 2017, Phillip Hammond promised a commitment to 5G and has dedicated £740m to be used on the development of the service. However, no launch date for it in the UK has been confirmed.

Broadly speaking, the main concern regarding 5G is to ensure that it works on a global scale. This need for compatibility is essential in making sure devices in one country work elsewhere in the world due to the difference of 5G spectrum bands.

At Frontier we are confident that with the help of our suppliers we will be able to provide and support this service to our mobile customers when the time should come. For more information on business mobiles please call 08000 92 62 32 or email marcoms@fvdata.co.uk.

 

Sources:

EE: http://newsroom.ee.co.uk/ee-showcases-end-to-end-5g-network-architecture-with-28gbps-speeds

Statistics: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/5g-rollout-uk-global

 

 

 

 

 

Why VoIP would be suitable for your business

There’s no doubt that there has been a shift in the way businesses operate.

Workforces have become more spread out, bring a specific set of challenges.

The question is: can VoIP be a suitable solution for many of the changes that the modern-day business faces? In order to know whether implementing a cloud based telephone system is the best route for you, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions about your business…

Are there any remote workers?

Whether it’s working from a different location altogether or just hot desking within the office, 42% of workers are offered flexible working and it is certainly on the rise. If you have people working from home or on the move, a VoIP solution allows them to be contactable from wherever they are.

If this is not something your business currently does, it’s worth thinking about how this could change in the future. 53% of people feel that they would be more productive if they could work outside the office, a hosted solution gives workers the ability to do this.

Will my business be expanding in the future?

If you plan to grow your business over the coming years then a hosted solution would certainly be beneficial for you. Whether it’s moving office, more locations or more users, your provider will be able to make these changes with a fairly quick turnaround time. Likewise, if you plan to downsize over the coming years, you can gradually reduce the number of licenses you have.

What features does my business require?

Depending on the type of business you operate, it is worth thinking about the features that you would require on a regular basis. If a feature rich phone system is what you are after, things like call forwarding and conferencing often come as standard with VoIP solutions, whereas these would be additional bolt-on’s on traditional systems.

Do you have a seasonal business?

If your business is busier at certain times of the year, you can easily add and remove licenses depending on your needs during that time period. For example, if the number of inbound calls rapidly increases during the summer months and you consequently require more staff on the phones.

Do I have an old telephone system?

Before upgrading your current telephone system it is worth looking into VoIP as an option. It’s important to regularly review your businesses needs and wants when it comes to telecoms. It is a constantly evolving market with lots of new products and services available to businesses.

If your phone system isn’t particularly old but you’re looking to upgrade it, it is possible to integrate VoIP with your current setup.

Is good internet connection available?

A common issue which often stalls the installation of a VoIP solution is connectivity. If there isn’t a strong enough internet broadband connection within your business premises your hosted telephone system simply won’t work.

You can start by checking you have enough bandwidth to provide you with high-quality calls, this is a simple check which you can do yourself. You need approximately 100 Kbps Up and Down to make one call plus the capacity needed for your usual internet activity – email, web browsing etc.

From these steps, it’s clear to see that it’s always important to check that the voice and data solution you’re looking into is suitable for your business. If you ever have any questions about VoIP or any other product, you can give us a call on 08000 92 62 32 to talk about the services available to you.

Six benefits of a VoIP telephone system

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a telephony solution which allows users to make telephone calls using the internet.

Because of the way it functions there are a number of benefits it can bring to your business.

Portability

Because VoIP operates via the internet, you can be a lot more flexible in the way you answer and make your calls, in fact, you don’t even need to have a desk phone. Using a laptop (with a softphone) or a mobile phone (with an app) means remote workers can still communicate with ease no matter where they are working from.

Geographical Reach

As mentioned in the above point,  workforces are becoming more versatile in the ways they work. If your business requires an individual with particular skills but are not within commuting distance from your main office, you can still provide them with the tools which enable them to work for your through the same cloud based technology.

Features

One of the key advantages of a cloud-based telephone system is that they come fully functioning with valuable features. This gives you access to features that would typically be additional bolt-ons at an extra cost such as conference calling, auto attendant, video conferencing and call forwarding. As new features are released they are typically integrated too.

Maintenance

If you use a cloud based VoIP solution the maintenance and updates of the system are carried out by the provider. By removing any additional overheads that you’d typically encounter when upgrading your phone system, the cost is instead spread over thousands of users.

If you do have an office PBX that is IP enabled, you no longer have to deal with BT.

Capital Cost

A hosted VoIP solution is billed on a simple per user per month basis.This may include the handset (sometimes doesn’t), the hosting and all support. If you are not paying for your handset, there are almost no upfront capital costs.

If you are adding IP capability to your internal PBX the costs are different. There is likely to be up front costs for additional hardware to convert your PBX and possibly for licensing, from then on it is a standard per user per month fee.

Depending on the quality and bandwidth of your internet connection you may need to increase your internet connection too.

Disaster Recovery

With your telephone numbers being hosted in the Cloud, your incoming calls will not be impacted if you have any problems at your office. In the event of any kind of internet outage, a pre-arranged disaster recovery plan will divert your calls to another device (i.e. your mobile phone).

As you can see there are a number of ways VoIP can help your business. If you’d like more information about our VoIP solutions you can contact us on 08000 92 62 32.

First Step Charity Golf Day

Having supported First Step Opportunity Group for the past four years, we would be delighted if you could join us at their charity golf day which we are sponsoring once again this September.

The event, whilst a great day out, is, in fact, a critical source of income for First Step, which relies on donations and fundraising to continue their support for babies and pre-school children with special needs and/or disabilities, and their families.

The charity is close to the hearts of everyone at Frontier – the team have visited and seen for themselves the difference our commitment makes to the children and their families.

Last year we raised an amazing £12,000 and aim to top that figure this year. If you’d like to help us achieve this then please click here for a booking form and email back to marcoms@fvdata.co.uk.

Event information:

Friday 8th September

Theydon Bois Golf Club (Theydon Road, Epping, CM16 4EH)

  • £65 per golfer
  • £260 per 4 ball
  • £30 evening ticket

You can sign up individually or as a team of four, this includes 18 holes, breakfast, three-course meal and after dinner guest speaker, PGA Master Professional, Gary Alliss.

We at Frontier are proud supporters of First Step and hope that together we can make a real difference for the children and their families attending this wonderful local charity.

BOOK YOUR PLACE

 

Registered Charity Number 1106002. Incorporated in England and Wales

Summer 2017 Charity Update

We’re already half way into 2017 and I hope you’ve had a great year so far.

We’ve had some exciting new product announcements this year, a highlight being the successful launch of Frontier Utility. We are now able to offer green energy at the lowest price in the market.

As always, we are continuing to look at ways in which we can improve the level of care and support you receive from us.  We’d love for you to complete our short survey, by filling this in you will provide us with a better indication of what your businesses needs are as well as being in with a chance of winning one of three of our great prizes.

As a company we have continued to support various charities, so far this year we have raised over £4,500. This includes raising money for our Administrator Director, Ian McNamara who ran a marathon in aid of Multiple Sclerosis Society, and of course, we are continuing to support local charity, First Step, with our golf day coming up this September. If you’d like to take part click here.

As for myself, I will be taking part in the Prudential Ride London (that’s 100 miles!) at the end of this month in aid of Prostate Cancer UK. After being diagnosed with the disease at the beginning of last year, the charity was a great help on my road to recovery. If you’d like to support me and read more about his story please visit my JustGiving page.

Thanks for your time.

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Theresa May promises to invest in broadband as part of new industrial strategy

The Prime Minister will unveil a new industrial strategy on Monday designed to boost the post-Brexit UK economy and make it easier for companies to do business in the UK.

The strategy pledges to develop new technologies across the country which will “back Britain for the long term”.

Digital industries such as energy, broadband and 5G mobile technology will be developed and improved in a bid to “align central government infrastructure investment with local growth priorities”.

The 10-point plan involves:

  • Investing in science, research and innovation
  • Developing skills
  • Upgrading infrastructure
  • Supporting business to start and grow
  • Improving government procurement
  • Encouraging trade and inward investment
  • Delivering affordable energy and clean growth
  • Cultivating world-leading sectors
  • Driving growth across the whole country
  • Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “This is an important step in building a modern, dynamic industrial strategy that will improve living standards and drive economic growth across the whole country.

“A modern British industrial strategy must build on the UK’s strengths and extend excellence into the future; close the gap between the the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest; and ensure we are one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business.”

Downing Street also added that the £4.7billion fund to pay for research and development into smart energy technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence and 5G mobile network technology is a bigger increase that in any Parliament since 1979.

Five reasons you need hosted telephony

Today’s workforce is more dispersed. It demands flexibility, grows unpredictably and expects advanced communication features like conferencing or caller ID to be intuitive, and come as standard.

Traditional analogue business phone systems are ill equipped to meet the new demands of today’s workforce – which is one reason why more companies are switching to hosted VoIP telephony every day. Here’s five more good reason why more businesses turn to the next generation of cloud based telecoms.

1. IT’S CHEAPER

  • Small businesses that switch to VoIP reduce the cost of their local calls by up to 40%
  • Those same small businesses reduce the cost of their international calls by up to 90%
  • VoIP can cut initial startup costs for a new business by up to 90%

We’ve all come to terms with the fact that hosted VoIP means cheaper solutions for business. For under £15.00 per user per month you can get a bundle that includes a premium fully featured hosted VoIP License, UK national and UK mobile minutes and 24/7 customer support.

But the biggest cost savings can come at start-up.

Compare the start-up costs of a traditional phone system with those of a hosted VoIP system. Ticket prices for traditional phone systems start at about £2000 but they lose around 70% of their value as soon as they’re installed.

Installation comes at a cost too, as will the upgrades you’ll inevitably need when your business grows and the phone system reaches capacity. Hosted VoIP avoids high start-up and ongoing usage charges.

2. REMOTE WORKING THAT ACTUALLY WORKS

Hosted VoIP allows your staff to work the way more people want to work today. Nearly 14% of the workforce works from home and 7.5 million workers in the UK now say that they’d rather work from home one day a week than receive a pay rise.

But traditional phone systems really struggle to deliver the unified communications that makes flexible working seamless. As a result, working from home comes with compromise: receptionists tell customers “you’re not in the office today and you can’t be reached”, simply because you’ve forgotten to forward calls from the desk phone.

Needless costs are acquired because staff use mobile phones to keep in touch with colleagues, and company process suffers when customers bypass your established communications channels and start calling staff direct via mobile.

Hosted VoIP means desktop phones, smartphones, tablets, and PCs all work with one phone number as easily as email works today across all devices.

3. ATTRACTING THE BEST SKILLS AT THE BEST PRICE IS EASIER

Getting the best skills at the best prices in today’s market means being able to recruit nationally, or in extreme cases internationally. But you need to be confident that new staff can be fully integrated into the company quickly and cheaply no matter where they are located.

Using a hosted VoIP system means your staff can communicate for very little cost, and you can equip them with the business grade fully featured phones service they need to support modern day communications.

4. EXPANDING INTO NEW LOCATIONS IS SIMPLE

Things can change quickly in business.

Meeting the needs of a fast changing client base requires a degree of agility that traditional phone systems just can’t deliver. Fitting out your new site with dedicated fixed lines and a traditional phone system can take months, which is frustrating when you need to get your staff up and running quickly.

Success depends on being able to upscale as soon as your business needs it without compromising the high levels of customer service that is expected.

On day one, your VoIP phone system may be supporting just one new homeworker in one new region but that’s a situation you want to build on quickly. VoIP means that new customers get the professional level of customer service they expect from the first day you set up in a new location, and continue to experience it as you grow, move and expand.

5. THE MOST ADVANCED SERVICES COME AS STANDARD

With hosted VoIP, the most advanced calling features come as standard

Most companies discover they don’t have advanced calling features the hard way, when they try to use something like three way calling, conferencing or call forwarding only to discover that these services are bolt-on extras they don’t have and don’t know how to get.

With hosted VoIP from Frontier, most features come as standard, and when new services come along, they’re typically included too. They’re always easy to access, change or manage, and if you need a hand, your support team is only a phone call away.

Download our VoIP Solutions brochure