Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services and providers are quickly becoming mainstream technology, and small and midsized businesses (SMBs) need to keep up with the larger companies, even if it's on a smaller scale. You want your company to have the most relevant resources, but you want to be sure before you invest in an expensive project. Check out the latest news, tips and other VoIP resources -- specifically geared toward SMBs -- to help you make informed decisions.

For free advice and resources on more IT and business topics, visit our list of SMB IT Management Guides.

Table of contents

   VoIP security barely a blip on SMBs' radar
   VoIP: The migration dilemma
   VoIP too big a 'pain' for small businesses
   Secure VoIP in simple steps
   Wireless options abound: WiMAX, EV-DO, VoIP
   More resources

  VoIP security barely a blip on SMBs' radar Table of Contents

[Shamus McGillicuddy, News Writer]

Security is a low priority among most small and midsized businesses (SMBs), as well as vendors, when it comes to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), experts say. That will quickly change once hackers take aim, however.

Richard Ridolfo, CIO of Simat, Helliesen & Eichner Inc., a New York-based aviation consulting firm, said security concerns affected how he rolled out VoIP.

"We're using company-owned VoIP infrastructure, and we are using it on encrypted, controlled data paths," Ridolfo said. "And we prohibit the use of free commercial service because I don't believe the technology is mature yet."

But when Ridolfo was looking at VoIP offerings, he saw no mention of security in vendors' marketing messages.

   Learn more in "VoIP security barely a blip on SMBs' radar." Also:

  VoIP: The migration dilemma Table of Contents

[Paul Gillin, Contributor]

As Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) rapidly gains critical mass -- some enterprise projects already involve more than 100,000 users -- it's hard to come up with reasons not to make the move to VoIP. Palo Alto, Calif.-based The Radicati Group Inc. recently forecast that nearly three-quarters of corporate phone lines will use VoIP within the next three years. Major rollouts are under way at blue chip companies like Bank of America and The New York Times Co.

But for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the decision is not a no-brainer. As SearchSMB.com noted in a recent article, SMBs can be intimidated by the scope and technical complexity of a migration, which can involve major changes to infrastructure as well as a complete replacement of desktop and server-room equipment. That's a shame, because SMBs are usually the first companies to benefit from a new technology. There are shortcuts to making the migration easier.

   Find out what deployment issues to consider in "VoIP: The migration dilemma." Also:

  • VoIP has too much variation for SMBs (destinationCRM.com)
    The range of IP telephony solutions presents smaller businesses with many confusing choices, according to a new study; vendors have an opportunity to create targeted solutions.

  VoIP too big a 'pain' for small businesses Table of Contents

[Shamus McGillicuddy, News Writer]

Adoption of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) by small businesses remains much lower than among medium and large businesses, but not for lack of interest.

"I talk to a lot of small business owners," said Michael Megalli, a partner with Group 1066, a New York-based strategic marketing firm. "They all want it, but the pain of getting it is too great."

Megalli said small businesses have to deal with too many technologies and too many vendors to cobble together a VoIP system.

"Because you have to deal with so many vendors to get VoIP set up, there are so many potential points of failure," he said. "A blame game starts. You get into a situation that when you do have a problem, it makes it a much more difficult problem to fix."

   Learn more in "VoIP too big a 'pain' for small businesses." Also:

  • VoIP the right choice for SMBs? (SearchSMB.com)
    Is VoIP the right choice for SMBs? SearchSMB.com Associate Editor Jeff Kelly finds out from expert Carrie Higbie.

  Secure VoIP in simple steps Table of Contents

[Joel Dubin, CISSP, Contributor]

Securing Voice over IP (VoIP) doesn't have to be a challenge for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). VoIP is basically a phone call over the Internet. It offers the same promises -- and pitfalls -- as the Internet. The promises are cheap and easy communication over a readily available and easy-to-use public network -- the Internet. The pitfalls are the same security weaknesses of that network, which wasn't originally designed for security -- or phone calls, for that matter.

But it's not as scary as it seems for cash-strapped SMBs with limited IT staffs. Most of the tuning required to secure VoIP involves the same efforts as hardening Internet and Web connections your company probably already has in place. And most of that work can be handled by your existing network staff, even without a dedicated information security department.

Even if your SMB doesn't host its own Web site or Internet service, like a larger enterprise, it still has connections to the Internet through conventional routers. Handling VoIP for them should be a snap.

   Get the list of steps in "Secure VoIP in simple steps." Also:

  Wireless options: WiMAX, EV-DO, VoIP Table of Contents

[Paul Gillin, Contributor]

WiMAX, EV-DO, MIMO, ZigBee and UMTS. It sounds like a spelling bee gone out of control, but these are just a sampling of the wireless technology options users have available to them these days. The wireless industry is going nuts as cellular and wireless LAN companies face off against one another over who's going to deliver the fastest, most reliable service for the least money. If you're trying to make a buying decision, it's a time of great confusion, but also great opportunity.

That's because lots of exciting new options are emerging from cutthroat competition. They promise to drive the cost of voice calls even closer to zero and enable data access from almost any location. Now is a great time to save money and buy some flexibility while the standards mess sorts itself out.

   Find out more in "Wireless options abound: WiMAX, EV-DO, VoIP." Also:

  • Hosted VoIP targets SMBs (SearchVoIP.com)
    Hosted VoIP options are attracting the attention of more than just SMBs looking to save on their communications budget. Larger telecoms are beginning to look at the revenue growth opportunities in a market once dominated by smaller, independent service providers.

  More resources Table of Contents

This was first published in September 2007

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