Questions Related To Phone Services

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.  It is a technology that allows you to make phone calls over the Internet instead of using traditional telephone lines.  With VoIP, you can make and receive calls using your computer, smartphone, or a VoIP-enabled device.

How does a VoIP system work?

VoIP works by converting your voice into digital data and transmitting it over the internet.  This data is then converted back into voice signals at the receiving end.  It uses your internet connection to establish and maintain calls, eliminating the need for traditional analog phone lines.

What are the advantages of using VoIP business phones?

There are several advantages to using a VoIP platform which include:

  1. Cost savings: VoIP typically offers lower calling rates, especially for long-distance and international calls.
  2. Flexibility: You can use VoIP from any location with an internet connection, making it ideal for remote workers and businesses with multiple locations.
  3. Feature-rich options: VoIP systems often come with a range of advanced features such as call forwarding, voicemail-to-email transcription, and virtual phone numbers.
  4. Scalability: VoIP systems can easily scale as your business grows, adding or removing lines as needed.
  5. Integration: VoIP can integrate with other communication tools like video conferencing, instant messaging, and CRM systems.

What type of equipment do I need to use VoIP?

To use a VoIP phone system, you'll need a few essential components.  First and most importantly you need a high-speed, stable, internet connection to handle the calls.  Next, you’ll need a VoIP-enabled device, which can be a computer, smartphone, or a VoIP phone specially designed for VoIP calls.  And you’ll need to choose a VoIP service provider (like ET&T) that will provide you with the necessary software or hardware to make and receive calls.

Can I keep my existing phone number when switching to VoIP?

In many cases, yes.  Most VoIP service providers offer number portability, allowing you to transfer your existing phone number to their service.  However, it's essential to check with your provider to confirm their specific number porting policies.

Is VoIP reliable for business use?

Yes, VoIP phones can be highly reliable for everyday business use.  However, reliability can vary based on factors such as the quality of your internet connection and the reliability of your VoIP service provider.  It's essential to choose a reputable provider and have them ensure you have a stable internet connection to maximize reliability.

Can I use VoIP on my mobile device?

Yes, you can use VoIP on your mobile device.  Many VoIP service providers offer mobile apps that allow you to make and receive calls using your smartphone and tablet.  This provides flexibility and allows you to use VoIP even when you're away from your desk or working remotely outside the office.

How secure is VoIP?

A VoIP network can be secure if proper security measures are in place.  Encryption protocols, firewalls, and secure network configurations can help protect your VoIP calls from any unauthorized access or eavesdropping.  It's essential to work with a VoIP service provider, such as ET&T, that prioritizes security and implements appropriate safeguards and offers a unique hosted system option that is secure by design.

Can I use VoIP for conference calls or video conferencing?

Yet another advantage, VoIP enabled devices can be used for conference calls and video conferencing. Many VoIP systems offer built-in conference calling features and integration with video conferencing platforms.  This allows you to have virtual meetings with multiple participants, no matter where they are located.

What are the latest trends in phone systems for businesses?

The latest trends in phone systems for businesses include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, cloud-based systems, mobile integration, virtual phone numbers, and advanced features such as auto-attendants, call analytics, and CRM integrations.  Upgrading to these modern phone system solutions can enhance communication, flexibility, and productivity for businesses.

 How often should businesses upgrade their phone systems?

The frequency of phone system upgrades can vary depending on factors such as business growth, technological advancements, and changing communication needs.  But as a general guideline, businesses should consider evaluating their phone systems every 3-5 years to ensure they have access to the latest features, security updates, and improved efficiencies.

What are the benefits of upgrading phone systems for businesses?

Upgrading phone systems can bring several benefits to businesses:

  1. Improved call quality and reliability: Modern phone systems, especially VoIP and cloud-based solutions, offer better call quality and reliability compared to traditional analog systems.
  2. Cost savings: Upgraded phone systems, particularly VoIP, can provide cost savings on long-distance and international calls.  They also eliminate the need for expensive hardware and maintenance associated with traditional systems.
  3. Enhanced flexibility and mobility: Upgraded phone systems enable employees to make and receive calls from anywhere using their mobile devices, allowing for remote work and increased productivity.
  4. Advanced features: New phone systems offer advanced features such as call forwarding, voicemail-to-email transcription, virtual phone numbers, and call analytics.  These features can improve customer service, streamline workflows, and provide valuable insights for businesses.
  5. Scalability: Upgraded phone systems can easily scale as businesses grow, accommodating additional lines, extensions, or locations without significant hardware investments.

How can upgrading phone systems improve productivity and efficiency?

Upgrading phone systems can boost productivity and efficiency in multiple ways:

  1. Streamlined communication: Modern phone systems offer features like call routing, auto-attendants, and call forwarding, ensuring calls are directed to the right person or department quickly.
  2. Integration with other tools: Upgraded phone systems can integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, allowing for seamless access to customer information and call history, improving efficiency in customer interactions.
  3. Mobile integration: New phone systems enable employees to stay connected and access essential phone system features through mobile applications.  This flexibility improves responsiveness and productivity, especially for remote or on-the-go workers.
  4. Collaboration features: Some advanced phone systems provide conferencing, video calling, and instant messaging capabilities, facilitating collaboration and reducing the need for separate communication tools.
  5. Call analytics and reporting: Upgraded phone systems offer detailed call analytics and reporting, providing insights into call volumes, peak times, missed calls, and customer service performance.  This data can help optimize resource allocation and improve customer service.

Are there any security considerations when upgrading phone systems?

Yes, it is important to ensure that the upgraded phone system supports encryption for secure call transmissions, protecting sensitive conversations from unauthorized access.  Your provider needs to be sure to implement proper network security measures, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, to safeguard the phone system from external threats.  They should be sure to set up strong user access controls, including strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorized access to the phone system.  You should also choose a phone system provider that releases regular security updates and patches to address any vulnerabilities in the system.

Can businesses integrate their upgraded phone systems with existing software and applications?

Most modern phone systems will support integration with existing software and applications.  This allows businesses to streamline workflows, enhance productivity, and improve customer service.  Some of the integration possibilities include CRM systems, helpdesk software, email clients, and collaboration tools.  But before upgrading, it's important to check compatibility and consult with your phone system provider to ensure seamless integration with existing infrastructure.

Questions Related to IT Services

What types of IT services does a managed services provider (MSP) typically deliver?

We can’t speak for all of them, but our local IT support company offers a wide range of outsourced IT services to businesses.  We proactively manage and support the IT infrastructure, networks, and systems of our clients by providing services such as network monitoring, cybersecurity, data backup, software updates, and technical support.

Why should I consider using a managed service provider for IT support?

Well, there are several reasons to consider using a conveniently located managed service provider.  Consider the following advantages of using ET&T as your local, IT support team:

  1. Cost-effective: Outsourcing IT support to us can be more cost-effective than hiring an in-house IT team. You can avoid the expenses associated with salaries, benefits, training, and infrastructure.
  2. Expertise and specialized skills: We bring a team of IT professionals with specialized skills and expertise. Our staff stays up-to-date with the latest technologies and best practices, ensuring your IT systems are well-managed and secure.
  3. Proactive monitoring and maintenance: We’ll monitor your IT infrastructure 24/7, proactively identifying and addressing potential issues before they become major problems. This helps minimize downtime and keeps your business running smoothly.
  4. Scalability and flexibility: ET&T can easily scale our services to accommodate your business growth or changing needs. We provide flexible support options, allowing you to choose the level of service that suits your requirements.
  5. Enhanced cybersecurity:  We’ll prioritize cybersecurity, implementing robust measures to protect your data and systems from cyber threats. They regularly update security protocols, conduct risk assessments, and provide ongoing security monitoring and management.

How do managed service providers ensure data security?

At ET&T we prioritize data security through various measures and adapt to meet our customer’s needs by providing a multilayered and disciplined approach which includes:

  1. Robust cybersecurity protocols: We implement firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection systems, and other security measures to protect against external threats.
  2. Regular security updates: We help keep your systems up to date with the latest security patches and updates to address vulnerabilities and protect against emerging threats.
  3. Data backup and disaster recovery: We establish data backup solutions to ensure your data is regularly backed up and can be restored in the event of data loss or system failure.
  4. Employee training and awareness: We help educate your staff about cybersecurity best practices to ensure they are well equipped to handle potential risks and prevent security breaches.
  5. Compliance with regulations: We ensure compliance with relevant industry regulations and standards, such as GDPR or HIPAA, depending on your specific industry requirements.

What types of businesses benefit most from using a managed service provider?

Honestly, businesses of all sizes and across various industries can benefit from using a managed service provider. We typically cater to small and medium-sized businesses that may not have the resources or expertise to manage their IT infrastructure effectively. But we also serve larger enterprises that want to augment their existing IT capabilities or outsource specific IT functions to focus on core business activities.

Can a managed service provider customize their services to my business needs?

Yes, we can customize our services to meet your specific business needs, as long as you have recommended minimal protections in place.  We will always work closely with you to understand your IT requirements and design tailored solutions that align with your goals and budget.  Whether you need comprehensive IT support or specific services like cybersecurity, data management, or cloud solutions, we can create a customized plan that addresses your unique needs.

How can a managed service provider improve business productivity?

ET&T is prepared to help improve business productivity in several key ways:

  1. Proactive monitoring and maintenance: ET&T solutions experts monitor your IT systems continuously, detecting and resolving issues before they impact productivity. This helps minimize downtime and keeps your employees focused on their tasks.
  2. IT infrastructure optimization: Our trained professionals will assess your current IT infrastructure and identify opportunities for optimization and efficiency.  We can also recommend and implement solutions that streamline workflows, enhance collaboration, and improve overall productivity.
  3. Technical support and quick issue resolution: Our IT staff provides prompt technical support to address any IT-related issues your employees encounter, which helps to ensure minimal disruptions and allows your staff to work efficiently without prolonged downtime.
  4. Access to advanced technologies: We stay up to date with the latest technologies and tools.  By leveraging our expertise, your business can adopt innovative solutions that can boost productivity, such as cloud computing, collaboration platforms, or automation tools.

Are managed service providers cost-effective for small businesses?

Yes, we can provide a long-term cost-saving option and help eliminate fluctuating IT expenses.  Outsourcing IT support to us eliminates the need to hire and maintain an in-house IT team, saving costs associated with salaries, benefits, training, and equipment.  We can also offer flexible pricing models, allowing small businesses to choose services that fit their budgets.  By partnering with ET&T, small businesses can access enterprise-level IT support and expertise at a fraction of the cost.

How often should businesses upgrade their IT network equipment?

The frequency of IT network equipment upgrades depends on factors such as technological advancements, business growth, and evolving network requirements.  Businesses should evaluate their network equipment every 3-5 years to ensure they have the latest hardware capabilities, security features, and support for emerging technologies.

What are some of the benefits of upgrading IT network infrastructure?

Upgrading your IT network infrastructure can help bring several benefits to businesses:

  1. Improved network performance: Upgraded equipment provides faster data transfer speeds, reduced latency, and improved network stability, leading to enhanced productivity and user experience.
  2. Scalability and flexibility: Modern network equipment allows businesses to easily scale their network infrastructure as the organization grows, accommodating increased traffic, devices, and expanding locations.
  3. Enhanced security: Upgraded network equipment often includes advanced security features such as built-in firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and VPN capabilities, helping to protect against cyber threats and data breaches.
  4. Better management and control: Newer network equipment often offers centralized management platforms, allowing businesses to monitor, configure, and troubleshoot their networks more efficiently.  This streamlines network administration tasks and reduces downtime.
  5. Support for emerging technologies: Upgraded network equipment is designed to support emerging technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and edge computing, enabling businesses to leverage these innovations for improved efficiency and competitiveness.

How can upgrading our IT network improve network security?

Upgrading IT network equipment helps to improve overall network security in several ways:

  1. Advanced security features: Modern network equipment includes advanced security features like built-in firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and secure VPN connections, providing better protection against unauthorized access and cyber threats.
  2. Regular security updates: Upgraded network equipment often receives regular firmware updates, patches, and security fixes from the manufacturer, addressing vulnerabilities and ensuring the latest security measures are in place.
  3. Enhanced visibility and control: Newer network equipment often includes robust monitoring and management capabilities, enabling businesses to have better visibility into network traffic, detect anomalies, and enforce security policies more effectively.
  4. Segmentation and access controls: Upgraded network equipment allows for network segmentation, creating separate network zones for different user groups or devices.  This helps contain security breaches and restricts unauthorized access.
  5. Compliance with regulations: Upgraded network equipment may offer features that aid in compliance with industry regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA, providing businesses with the necessary tools to meet security and privacy requirements.

What are some key factors to consider when looking to upgrade IT infrastructure?

If you are considering and IT network upgrade, you should be mindful of the following factors:

  1. Performance requirements: Assess the current and future network performance needs to determine the required data transfer speeds, bandwidth, and capacity.
  2. Scalability: Consider the scalability of the network equipment to accommodate future growth and increasing network demands.
  3. Compatibility: Ensure that the upgraded equipment is compatible with existing network infrastructure, including routers, switches, and servers.
  4. Security features: Evaluate the security features offered by the network equipment, such as firewalls, VPN capabilities, and intrusion detection systems, to meet the organization's security requirements.
  5. Management and monitoring capabilities: Consider the network management and monitoring capabilities of the equipment to ensure efficient administration and troubleshooting.
  6. Vendor reputation and support: Choose a reputable vendor (such as ET&T) known for quality products and reliable customer support to ensure a smooth transition and ongoing technical assistance.
  7. Total cost of ownership: Consider the upfront costs, maintenance expenses, and potential long-term savings when selecting network equipment to make an informed decision.

Can businesses improve specific components of their IT networks or is a complete overhaul necessary?

We find that in many cases, you can address specific components of your IT network without needing to replace everything.   By upgrading individual components like routers, switches, wireless access points, or network security appliances, you might achieve improved performance, enhanced security, or additional features.  However, it's important to ensure compatibility between the upgraded components and existing infrastructure to avoid any potential issues or bottlenecks moving forward.

General Inquiries/Information Questions

Is there any information I should have available when reach out to report an issue?
A detailed and specific description of the issues you are currently facing are tremendously helpful.  The more we know about your situation, the more efficiently we can troubleshoot issues that may be occurring.  For example, if you are having issues making/receiving phone calls we need to know if your phones are completely dead with no power.   We need to be made aware if you can make calls to other extensions but just can’t make/receive outside calls.  It is also helpful to know if there is any information on the display, such as a system error code.   We would also be able to pinpoint sources if you knew if all phones were affected or just some and if you were aware of when the issue started.

Is there anything I can do on my end to try to fix my issue?
There are many different issues that can occur, and there are just as many potential fixes, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question.  However, for issues occurring with just a single phone, it never hurts to try and reboot the phone.  This is done by disconnecting and reconnecting the wires attached to the phone.  For some system-wide issues it can also sometimes make sense to reboot the entire phone system, but only if you have someone on site who is familiar with the process.  If your system is over a decade old, we wouldn’t recommend that approach and encourage you to reach out for assistance.

When should I reach out to my phone service carrier instead of ET&T?
If you can make calls internally between extensions and are able to access voice mail but are unable to make or receive any outside calls, it is possible that the phone lines are currently down.  In these cases, it is a good idea to contact your carrier first so they can troubleshoot the lines.  While ET&T may service your phones and phone system, the phone lines that the system uses to make or receive outside calls are maintained by your carrier.  They may be able to correct the issue more directly for you and get you back up and running sooner.


How can I identify the best communications technology or IT service provider for my business?

To find the best provider, you might want to consider the following steps:

  1. Assess Your Needs: Clearly define your specific IT and communications requirements, including services, budget, and timeline.
  2. Research Providers: Look for providers with a strong online presence, good reviews, and a track record of serving businesses similar to yours.
  3. Check Experience and Expertise: Evaluate the provider's experience and expertise in handling IT and communication solutions relevant to your industry.
  4. Request References: Ask the provider for client references and follow up with those references to get insights into their experiences.
  5. Consider Scalability: Ensure the provider can accommodate your business's future growth and changing needs.
  6. Evaluate Support and Response Time: Prompt and reliable customer support is essential for resolving issues efficiently. Inquire about their response time for support requests.
  7. Review Pricing: Compare pricing models and contracts to ensure they align with your budget and business requirements.


What specific IT services should I look for when considering a provider?

Ultimately the services you need will depend on your business's requirements.  But a well-rounded and knowledgeable provider should be able to offer assistance across all your communication networks and eliminate the need to rely on multiple parties.  Here are some essential IT and communication services that ET&T is ready to provide:

  1. VoIP Phone Systems: Reliable and scalable Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems for cost-effective communication.
  2. Network Management: Monitoring, maintenance, and optimization of your network infrastructure for smooth operations.
  3. Cybersecurity Solutions: Protection against cyber threats, data breaches, and other security vulnerabilities.
  4. Cloud Services: Access to cloud-based solutions such as cloud storage, backup, and software applications for flexibility and data accessibility.
  5. Data Backup and Recovery: Plans and systems in place to back up and recover critical business data in case of emergencies.
  6. IT Consulting: Expert advice and guidance on IT strategies and technology implementations.


What are some things I can do to ensure an IT provider's reliability and track record?

It is wise to ask the right questions and do your homework before moving forward with any IT service provider.  We suggest taking some of the following steps:

  1. Read Reviews and Testimonials: Look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients to gauge the provider's reputation and customer satisfaction.
  2. Check Case Studies: Review case studies or success stories on the provider's website to see how they have helped other businesses.
  3. Request References: Ask the provider for references from their existing clients and reach out to those clients to learn about their experiences.
  4. Industry Experience: Look for providers with experience serving businesses in your industry or a similar industry, as they may better understand your unique needs.
  5. Certifications and Partnerships: Check if the provider has relevant certifications and partnerships with reputable technology vendors.


How can I properly evaluate customer support expectations prior to selecting an IT technology vendor to partner with?

Reliable customer support is crucial when choosing an IT provider as it directly impacts your overall experience and the efficiency of issue resolution. We encourage you to consider the following aspects of customer support when evaluating your decision:

  1. Availability: ET&T provides support during business hours or 24/7 if required for mission-critical services.
  2. Responsiveness: Our average response time for support requests or reaching out and addressing urgent issues is less than 15 minutes.
  3. Communication Channels: We offer you the ability to contact us via various communication channels available for support, such as phone, email, live chat, or video.
  4. Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Our SLAs provide full transparency on expectations for issue resolution and expected timeframes for support.


Do you offer customized solutions to fit my business's unique needs?

Yes, we can offer you customized solutions to match your business's unique needs. During the initial consultation, we will discuss your specific requirements and tailor our services accordingly. Customized solutions ensure that you get the most relevant and effective IT and communication services for your organization.