SIP vs PSTN – Key differences businesses need to know

For any business, efficient and cost-effective communication is crucial. As digital technology advances, more options have become available when considering methods of telephony. Gone are the days when a landline was your only option, although its reliability and familiarity means it still plays a part in modern-day business communication. However, more and more businesses are considering alternative methods to the traditional phone system. One such method is termed SIP which works by using the Internet, providing a virtual connection as opposed to the physical connection of a landline.

SIP vs PSTN

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, using the Internet to make voice and video calls from computers and mobile devices. It is one of the technologies challenging the previous dominance of PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Networks). PSTN is simply an industry abbreviation for traditional phone networks, consisting of the familiar phone lines, cables and transmission links. However, the copper cabling which forms the backbone of PSTN was not designed with today’s data traffic in mind, which now exceeds voice traffic in volume.

One of the main differences to consider between these two forms of telephony is PSTN operates on a one user per line basis while SIP can have multiple users per line. As SIP uses the Internet it means it removes the need for traditional copper wiring and merges all business voice calls and data traffic on to one network. To operate a SIP protocol you will require:

  • A SIP address used as a communication handle, which some providers can provide for free
  • A SIP client, a program which is installed on a user’s computer or mobile device
  • Sufficient bandwidth on your internet connection, particularly when considering video communication

Cost Implications

One of the primary attractions for businesses toward SIP is the potential to reduce the cost of communication. SIP uses the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which treats voice signals in the same manner as other digital packets.. They are typically cheaper,  which makes SIP a tempting prospect, especially for businesses who have high phone costs through frequent international calls.

Any calls between employees will also be free as internal calls should not require any connection to the PSTN. Internet-based telephony is more efficient, which can see businesses which use SIP pay smaller charges per minute when calling clients with landlines and mobiles, while even long-distance calls will be cheaper as your connection time to the PSTN will be reduced. As SIP is installed over your existing Internet connection as one point of entry only instead of several analogue lines, it reduces the cost of incoming lines.

Scalability

Being able to easily increase communication capacity or have the flexibility to react to fluctuations in demand can have a significant impact when deciding on a telephone network. When you need additional capacity on your landline phone system it can often be weeks before the physical new lines are installed and ready for use. SIP is a virtual installation and when there is a need to increase capacity it is far easier and far quicker to scale up.

For any VoIP technology such as SIP, a business needs to ensure they have the bandwidth to cope with the voice and data traffic they send out over their internet connection. Yet the flexibility within SIP also means you can scale down just as quickly as you can scale up, allowing you to react to changes in demand such as seasonal fluctuations. With landline phones they may often be left at the same capacity even when there are reduced numbers of users, therefore paying for lines which are not being used.

A Range of Options

Until the arrival of mobile telephony, landlines were the unchallenged phone communication tool. The increasing demand for data traffic in a modern digital world has placed pressures on the PSTN for which it was not devised. However, traditional landlines still offer a reliable network where many years of expert knowledge has been built up, providing swift solutions to problems experienced. Yet the focus will increasingly be toward communication across the Internet and the plans for the Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) withdrawal gather pace.

SIP has many benefits, including lower costs and easier scalability. Although it requires greater bandwidth capacity there are further practical benefits to consider; such as SIP not being geographically dependant, meaning you can move premises to another location and keep the same numbers. Although for some the new range of choice can at first seem a little daunting, in a world where communication is so key for a business, time spent on installing the right infrastructure could see positive practical and financial rewards.

If you’re considering making the switch for your business, we are here to help and guide you through the process. Contact us today to find out how we can help you upgrade.

Written by Adam Barsby

What are the business benefits of digital transformation?

You’ve probably heard or come across the term digital transformation – it seems like the trending buzzword that is in every business forum. However, with all the hype and different interpretations, most people don’t know what digital transformation is or why it matters. In this article, we will explore what digital transformation means to a business as well as what the benefits of digital transformation look like for a business.

What is Digital Transformation?

The meaning of digital transformation will vary depending on the industry you are in. however, generally, digital transformation is the integration of digital technologies into all aspects of business operations. Put differently, it is the incorporation of information, mobile and computer technologies into the overall business strategy of a company.

Why Does Digital Transformation Matter?

Even if you are not well versed with the term digital transformation, you’ll understand that adapting digitally is more than an afterthought in today’s business environment. Digital disruptors are snapping at the heels of many industries and now more than ever, it is clear that only the businesses that progress their transition to digital transformation will remain relevant and competitive. Additionally, for maximum effect, the transformation must be weaved into the foundations and culture of the company and also championed by the leadership to the employees who also need to be skilled in the best practices of the digital age.

The majority of businesses that are looking into digital transformation are lured by the promise of its incredible benefits. So, what are the benefits of digital transformation to a business?

Benefits of Digital Transformation to a Business

Better Customer Experience

Every business craves to deliver better customer satisfaction. Digital transformation has transformed how companies engage with their customers through advancements in technology. In effect, companies are in a better position to fulfil customer needs and therefore provide a better and more consistent experience. Speed is an essential part of creating a satisfactory customer experience. Digital transformation empowers businesses to serve and engage with their customers quickly thereby improving their experience.

Improves Employee Skill Set

As mentioned, the success of digital transformation relies on employees being able to learn and understand the best practices of the digital age. As companies adopt new technologies, employees will need to update their skills to adapt to the changing environment. An increase in company employee skill sets consistently improves the quality of work, creates agility and better communication among all departments.

Encourages a Digital Culture

Digital transformation needs to be holistic and comprehensive. It covers a huge number of interactions, processes, changes, transactions, external and internal factors, technological evolutions, industries and more. This holistic transition radically changes the company culture and empowers employees to easily adapt to technological changes. In turn, this digital culture creates the perfect environment for increased productivity, employee creativity and also leads to innovation.

By its very nature, digital transformation encourages and requires employees to be continually learning and improving their skills. This helps keep employees agile and motivated.

Improves Data Collection and Analysis

Digital transformation data analytics tools that make it easier to monitor, collect and analyse consumer data to aid in the decision-making process. By studying consumers’ online habits, companies can enhance their business strategies and make more informed decisions.

Consolidates Process and Operations

Perhaps the biggest advantage of technology is in making it easier for businesses to connect with people. Digital transformation allows businesses to not only consolidate their workforce but also their entire architecture. Social media, project management and analytics are interfaced to better connect with the company’s target audience and satisfy their needs.

Increases Business Profitability

In most cases, and when successfully implemented, digital transformation affects other areas of your business positively. For instance, improving customer engagement and experience inspires customer loyalty. In turn, your loyal customers are encouraged to make more transactions and also refer their friends and family. This creates a self-sustaining cycle of growth and profitability.

Helps Stay Ahead of Competition

To survive in business, you have to be able to compete. To succeed in business, you need to be able to compete with or be better than your competition. As the world becomes more digitised, the competition will continue to grow and only those businesses that can adapt and excel in the new environment will survive. Through digital transformation, you are effectively placing yourself in the right position to take advantage of new technology and to continually improve your business for greater success.

The benefits associated with digital transformation in businesses are more than those listed above. For most businesses, they have derived more gains from their digital transformation process than they anticipated. While the process might appear like a challenge in the short term, the long term business benefits of digital transformation are well worth it. As a business owner or leader, digital transformation should be on your list of crucial projects to undertake. Contact us today, to learn more about how digital transformation can look in your business and practical advice on how to get started.

Written by Adam Barsby

Benefits of Using a Hosted Desktop Solution for Your Business

PCs, laptops, tablets and other computing devices have universally helped improve productivity in the office. However, these computers, software licensing and peripheral hardware all carry substantial costs. When you factor in maintenance and support, the costs accrue significantly. As businesses continue to look for solutions to help them be more efficient, productive and competitive, hosted desktop service is emerging as one of the leading solutions.

Hosted desktop service is an innovative and efficient way of thinking about computing hardware and software. Hosted desktop service, often referred to as Desktop as a Service (DaaS), is a shift from a personal computer being defined as a physical piece of hardware, to a model where any web browser, on any size of screen, becomes an instant gateway to your software applications, PowerPoint presentations, documents, spreadsheets, photos etc. with just an internet connection, your employees can access a cloud hosted virtual desktop environment from any device and thereby work from any location.

Using hosted desktop services can be the change your business needs to move to the next level. Small and medium businesses stand to gain the most from the benefits of using a hosted desktop service. Some of these benefits include;

Mobility – Work from Any Location

Hosted desktops allow business owners, managers and employees to log onto their own desktops from any location and using any device. Through the desktop environment, users can access their entire suite of business software applications including accounting packages, CRM database, files and data as well as emails. With any internet-enabled device, your employees do not have to wait to reach the office to work on urgent tasks. Additionally, you can engage professionals from around the world remotely on a temporary or contractual basis.

Cost Savings

Analysts, including Gartner, show that it costs an average of £1500-£2000 per person annually to supply licences and to manage and support a fixed desktop. A hosted desktop service can reduce this cost to less than £1000 annually thereby saving 30-50% of your annual IT budget. The provider provides the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and is responsible for security, storage, managing updates and data backup and related services. With no need for costly capital expenditure and a low fixed monthly cost, a hosted desktop service frees up your resources including time and money to focus on the core functions of your business.

Scalability

As businesses grow, their needs change. Additionally, businesses experience demand fluctuations throughout the year. Hosted desktops give organisations flexibility and make it easier to grow and scale their IT capacity up or down as the circumstances require. You can easily and quickly pay for more storage, applications or capacity when you need it. In essence, you only pay for what you use unlike in the traditional system where the majority of your IT capacity goes unutilised for extended periods throughout the year.

Increase in Productivity

Cloud computing has been shown to improve productivity by up to 20%. Hosted desktops facilitate seamless remote working from any location in the world which dramatically increases productivity. Additionally, it allows businesses to offer flexible working arrangements and schedules to their staff thereby keeping them happy which in turn increases their job satisfaction and productivity. In the long run, if your employees are happy, the bottom line will reflect.

Near 100% Reliability

Downtime is not only expensive but also very detrimental to an organisations brand image. With most hosted desktop provider promising 99.9% uptime, your business can always be open. Providers also use corporate-grade firewalls to secure customers data and offer 24/7 support and monitoring. If a server fails, the load is automatically taken up by another server to keep your applications live at all time.

Enhanced Security

Digital security is an increasingly crucial concern. After all, a single cyber-attack can result in more than £2 million to an average business in damages. In hosted desktops, data is stored in a central system which allows you to have more control on access and security. You can easily set rules, policies and restrictions to make sure that your data and applications are only accessed by the right people.

A Greener Business

Cloud solutions have been shown to reduce carbon emissions and energy use by more than 90% for smaller deployments and more than 30% in large companies. This is due to the fact that businesses using hosted desktops use fewer machines, have better equipment efficiency and do not have to maintain climate control rooms for in house servers or extra servers to handle peak data loads.

Are You Ready to Switch to a Hosted Desktop Solution?

These benefits show that it is not only beneficial to move to a hosted desktop solution but also critical for future growth and success. With the ability to leverage a part of this technology or make a holistic switch, you can tailor the solution to your needs and objectives.

Switching to a virtual environment is a huge change, both for your digital infrastructure and your employees. However, adept is here to help. With our team of highly experienced and knowledgeable IT professionals, we will help you evaluate your needs, objectives and available options then help you to tailor a hosted desktop solution within your budget. Contact us today to start the conversation on how we can help you move to a hosted desktop solution or any other managed IT solution.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud: Differences Between Azure On-Premise vs. Cloud Solutions

As Cloud computing continues to permeate every aspect of our daily life and business, more businesses now demand dynamic IT solutions that take advantage of the associated benefits of improved agility and lowered costs.

However, the need to reorganise and re-evaluate unique solutions and architecture to meet the changing business goals and needs can be very complex. Managing hundreds or even thousands of different applications written by different people, in different languages and at different times requires meticulous planning, oversight and insight. This makes the critical decision of which environment between public cloud and private cloud to deploy your applications and services all the more important.

What is Private Cloud?

Also referred to as an enterprise or internal cloud, a private cloud is a cloud solution dedicated for use by only one organisation and delivered through a secure private network. The data centre resources can be located on-premise or hosted off-site by a third-party vendor. This gives you more control and visibility into the infrastructure thereby allowing you to customise the private cloud to meet your unique business and security needs.

Advantages of Private Cloud

  • Dedicated secure environments that can only be accessed by one organisation
  • Ability to run unique configurations, measures, protocols and also customise security, based on workload requirements thereby complying with strict regulations
  • High SLA efficiency and performance
  • High efficiency and scalability to meet fluctuating demands without compromising on performance or security
  • Ability to adapt the infrastructure based on changing organisational IT and business needs.

Limitations of Private Cloud

  • Can be significantly more expensive than the public cloud solution with a high total cost of ownership.
  • If the cloud data centre is limited to on-premise computing resources, the infrastructure may not be sufficiently scalable to meet unpredictable demands
  • Considering the high-security measures in place, mobile users may have limited access to the private cloud.

When to Use the Private Cloud

The private cloud is ideal in the following scenarios;

  • Technology companies requiring strong security and control of the underlying infrastructure and their IT workloads
  • Highly regulated government agencies and industries
  • Large enterprises requiring advanced data centre technologies to operate cost-effectively and efficiently.
  • Big organisations that can afford to invest in availability and high-performance technologies.

What is Public Cloud?

The public cloud refers to a cloud computing model in which IT services are hosted and maintained by an external provider then shred between multiple tenants across the network. Examples include Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS. The computing functionality may range from common services such as apps, email and storage to enterprise-grade infrastructure environments or OS platforms for software testing and development. The stand-out feature of the public cloud solution is its high scalability and elasticity for delivering low-cost subscription-based services.

Advantages of Public Cloud

  • High flexibility and scalability to meet fluctuating workload demands
  • Flexible pricing options
  • Reduced complexity and the need to have in house IT expertise. The vendor manages the infrastructure.
  • No investment required to deploy or maintain the IT infrastructure
  • Flexible pricing allows organisations to only pay for the services they need and to follow lean growth strategies.

Limitations of Public Cloud

  • For large scale use in midsize and large enterprises, the total cost of ownership can rise exponentially.
  • Low control and visibility into the infrastructure may not be enough to comply with all regulations.
  • May not be ideal for availability and security-sensitive mission-critical IT applications

When to Use the Public Cloud

The public cloud is ideal for situations with these needs;

  • Apps and services necessary to perform business and IT operations
  • Software development and test environments
  • Predictable computing needs such as communication services for a defined number of users
  • Additional resource requirements to address changing resource demands

Which Type of Cloud Should you Choose?

The choice between public and private cloud solutions depends on many different factors, limitations and use cases. In practice, it is not an either/or question as different businesses have different needs and considerations.

Azure On-Premise vs. Cloud

If you are considering migrating your applications into Microsoft Azure cloud platform, this is a case in point. Both solutions have unique strengths and downsides depending on your business needs and the services you are setting up. For this reason, the decision can be incredibly complex. Therefore, taking the time to fully understand the costs associated with both cloud and on-premise Azure solutions and formulating a holistic cloud strategy will help you arrive at the right solution uniquely suitable for your organization into the future.

At AdEPT, we have helped countless organisations of all sizes and from different industries make a seamless transition into cloud services. We have developed a full Azure RDS environment at a fixed monthly fee to cover almost all your computing needs. We deploy the minimum resources required at any time and allow you to scale as your needs change. If you are having a hard time figuring the right approach for your organisation, talk to us today – we are here for you.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager