Business broadband and dedicated leased line

Broadband comes in lots of different ways, from ADSL and FTTC to full fibre. A popular one is the leased line. If your business needs ultra-reliable, high bandwidth internet it’s the best option for you.

What is a leased line?

A leased line is a dedicated connection to the internet. You don’t share it with anyone else, so you never have to fight for bandwidth with your neighbours. Speeds on leased lines can range from 10Mbps all the way up to 1Gbps and beyond. Suppliers like Ocean give you the flexibility to increase bandwidth as and when you need it.

What are the benefits of leased lines?

With normal broadband, speeds can vary as other users go online. Crowding can slow down the speed of your internet traffic, especially if you are trying to move large amounts of data or host a large and busy website. Leased lines don’t have this issue and can be very fast. You can also have faster upload speeds as well if you are uploaded data.

A major benefit as well is that the leased lines are symmetric. That means that the upload speed matches the download speed. The speed at which you can transmit data matches the speed at which you can receive it.

What would I use a leased line for?

Not only are leased lines fast, they’re also stable. They are a great solution if you:

  • Host a website,
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN),
  • Carry phone calls
  • Need to connect different corporate sites together,
  • Employ remote workers who need to connect regularly to your company network.

Do I need a leased line?

This depends on how critical a stable and reliable internet connection is to your business, and how heavy your internet use is. If your business depends on the internet for high bandwidth activities, it is certainly worth considering. Leased lines tend to offer far more in the way of performance and availability guarantees than standard business broadband.

A dedicated leased line provides a private fixed bandwidth point-to-point data connection. It’s used to connect offices to the Internet, and to link offices to other offices. And it’s perfect for business use. Leased lines are exclusively for your company’s use. The bandwidth is reserved solely for you, at all times.

Many business applications need substantial amounts of data to be sent upstream, and a leased line ensures there’s far more upstream bandwidth available than there would be if you had a standard ADSL connection.

CASE STUDY: Beaumont Financial Planners

IT support_business_ mobiles_broadband_Shropshire

Key Facts

  • IT infrastructure for a brand-new office building
  • Overhaul of existing IT system and equipment
  • Mobiles, broadband and hosted IP

Beaumont

Beaumont Financial Planners is a firm of independent financial advisers based in Oswestry. They have been providing financial planning solutions for their clients for over 15 years. Their team consist of qualified financial planners backed by a professional team of support staff.

From their Oswestry base, they cover the whole of Shropshire, Cheshire, North Wales and the Midlands, offering services such as cash flow modelling, pensions, savings and investments and estate planning.

Beaumont aim to be the number one choice for independent financial advice across all services. They pride themselves in investing client funds with integrity, honesty and professionalism to maximise long term returns in the most tax efficient manner while delivering exceptional client service every step of the way.

The Challenge

Beaumont has experienced a period of expansion as a result of organic growth and was in the process of acquiring additional office space to accommodate the growing operation. To ensure a smooth transition and ongoing collaborative working between the office locations, the company wanted an IT system that would connect the two sites for secure file sharing and to expand their current hosted IP telecoms system to increase efficiency and control costs.

The company also wanted an ongoing IT support package which could deliver instant support for any staff member when and where they need it.

The Solution

Ocean Telecom has been working with Beaumont since 2013, supplying mobile phones, landlines, broadband and hosted IP. As Shropshire’s leading provider of specialist communications solutions, Ocean Telecom recommended expanding the current hosted IP provision with additional handsets, proving their ease of scalability. Additional benefits of hosted IP include:

  • Free local and national calls
  • Free standard calls to UK mobiles*
  • Better business continuity
  • Economies of scale by using a single internet connection
  • Work from anywhere with a single phone number

Ocean Telecom was approached to provide the IT networking for Beaumont’s offices – which, alongside the existing telecoms provision – would provide a totally unified communications package.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) was installed which would allow a secure connection between sites. Powerful PCs with integrated Office 365, 30 exchange email accounts and premium business security were supplied.

Following the installation of the network and PCs at the new site, Ocean performed a health check on the original office building equipment and discovered the main server hard drives were performing very poorly and a temporary fix was applied while new equipment was ordered.

The final part of the project was to provide the highest level of ongoing IT managed services both remotely and with onsite support included.

According to Mark Evans of Beaumont Financial Planners: “Our IT and communications systems are vital in providing a first-class service to our clients. Ocean’s approach in proactively supporting our telecoms over the years has allowed us to seamlessly expand the team without interruption to our services. Their enthusiastic approach impressed us from the start, consistently and promptly meeting our needs, suggesting better ways of working and in turn helping us to achieve our business objectives. The addition of IT support has been a big boost and having a single point of contact for all our IT and communications has already proved valuable.”

Ocean’s Approach

  • Unified communications package
  • Cost effective
  • Dedicated account manager
  • Telephone and on-site support
  • Delivery and set-up on site
  • Proactive support

5G, the strong business mobile data connection

Everyone in the tech and telecoms sector is talking about the mobile data connection in the UK compared to other countries around the EU and Europe. The new fast mobile data connections are being trialled around the world at the moment. This may still take a while until it makes it to our phones.

Network providers globally are getting ready to test 5G networks throughout 2018. The first 5G-ready smartphones expected to be released early next year.  Super-fast mobile streaming could be just around the corner.

If everything goes to plan, the idea is that 5G will bring us broadband-equivalent download speeds over mobile networks. No more waiting for videos to buffer or web pages to load. It can even make it easier for driverless cars to transfer vast amounts of data really quickly. If you can get a mobile signal, of course.

It’s still not clear which manufacturers and networks will upgrade to 5G first, or how long it’ll take. Here’s everything you need to know about the slow shift to 5G.

What is 5G?

5G networks will be able to handle more data and connect more devices simultaneously. All at faster speeds than is possible using existing technology. Current 4G download speeds max out at around 50 megabits per second. 5G networks have been demonstrated that run at up more than 100 times that speed.

With a good 5G connection, you’d be able to stream a 4K video straight to your smartphone with no lag at all.

5G networks can handle loads of devices at one time.  This makes it handy for connecting together a large amount of Internet of Things devices in smart buildings and cities.

Why is it so much faster than 4G?

All the existing mobile networks use radio waves. However, 5G is faster because it uses bits of the electromagnetic spectrum that aren’t currently being used by other kinds of network. There have been new developments in receiver and transmitter technology. This allows 5G networks to communicate using very high and very low-frequency waves which, until recently, was impossible using existing technology.

When will we get 5G?

Right now, there’s not a single 5G-ready smartphone on the market, but Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC and 14 other phone manufacturers have already announced that they’re working with the chip manufacturer Qualcomm to bring out 5G-ready devices in 2019.

A widespread of mobile manufacturers, including Vodafone, Verizon and AT&T are already trialling 5G networks powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 50 Modem. While some operators, such as AT&T, are hoping to develop full 5G networks by the end of 2018, others are taking a slower approach. Vodafone has plans to start by trialling radio towers that transmit 4G and 5G before it considers switching over to full-5G networks. These dual towers have the benefit of offering the reliable range and coverage of 4G while adding the huge speed increases that come with 5G.

 

Business phone systems: The features

For small start-ups, setting up your hosted business telephone service can be as easy as setting up a phone in your home.

If you’re a larger company or a company that plans for growth, your phone service may need an update. You’ll need to consider how many users you’ll likely have, what calling features you’ll require, and how many long-distance or international calls you’ll likely be making and receiving.

How does it work?

Hosted and managed IP telephony service runs on highly-resilient and secure next-generation network and provides the functionality
of a high-end telephone system. With no physical on-site
switch. To connect to it all you need is a reliable, quality voice IP connection.

Usage

Business lines are used a lot more than residential lines, this is why it is important to have a hosted phone for professionality. Businesses rely on phone lines for daily communication with customers, clients and co-workers across the country or around the globe. Your business may need to make more long-distance or international calls, so it’s important to evaluate how you will be using your business line before selecting a plan.

Equipment

The hosted IP telephones are a bit more complicated than your standard landline. While your home phone might include features like an answering machine, speakerphone and caller-id, your business phone will need to be able to handle multiple lines, call-forwarding, conferencing and other features.

If you’re using a VoIP service provider for your business telephone service, you will need to purchase digital IP phones. These allow you to take advantage of the wide range of services VoIP has to offer. We can help you decide which equipment is most suited to your needs.

Call features

Residential lines may only need one or two phone lines that have more limited calling features. It would include voicemail, call waiting and 3-way calling. For a small start-up or home-based businesses, these features might be enough to get by. However, for a company with plans for growth you need to think about the future.

Most businesses require multiple lines and more features from their phone service, including call forwarding, automated call handling, extension dialling, conference calling, dial-by-name directory, fax and more. To determine which call features would be the most useful for your business, it’s important to estimate the volume of calls you believe you might receive at any given time. If you expect to receive multiple calls simultaneously, a two-line residential phone wouldn’t be able to accommodate the high call traffic.

Phone numbers

The process for assigning phone numbers to a residential line compared to a business line is essentially the same. Unless you purchased a unique number for your business. Unique numbers can be randomly assigned, but most companies offer business owners the chance to pick an easy-to-remember vanity number.

For a more professional image and make it easier for your customers to get in touch with you (and easier for you to identify incoming business-related calls), setting up a separate number for your business is wise. You won’t have to use your personal number of marketing materials or risk having your anyone else answering business-related calls.

Ideal for home and flexible working

Perfect for homeworkers or staff on the move that need to work productively whilst out of the office. Hosted IP makes flexible working a reality.  In business, it is often employees need to be in other parts of the country. With VoIP platform, you can choose a number from a wide range of both geographical and non-geographical ranges from across the world.

CRM integration

Connect multiple sites easily and cost-effectively with one system. Transfer calls to different locations seamlessly, integrate with your company CRM and corporate directory and implement call schedules in minutes.

Integration with a CRM system is one of the most important features of any modern business. Most hosted CRM systems seamlessly link to your VoIP system to bring excellent customer services to even the smallest of businesses. This can mean anything from huge improvements in call handling quality and to automated diallers that keeps your outbound sales team constantly prospecting from your customer database.

To find out more calls us on 01691 661166 or visit our Fixed line, Hosted IP & Broadband.

What does GDPR mean for your business?

The UK is getting ready for stricter regulations and stronger fines across all industries.

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) date is set for 25th May 2018.

GDPR regulation is on everyone’s minds but are you prepared for the changes? Here are key things you’ll need to watch out for and act upon.

What is GDPR?

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR for short) is built around two key principles:

  1. Giving people more control of their personal data.
  2. Simplifying regulations for international businesses with a consolidating regulation that stands across the European Union (EU).

GDPR will apply to any business that possesses personal data of EU citizens. This also applies to companies based outside of the EU.

The government confirmed that Brexit will not affect the GDPR start date or its immediate running. It’s also confirmed that post-Brexit, the UK’s own law will directly mirror the GDPR.

How GDPR will affect your business

As stated above, GDPR applies to any business that processes the personal data of EU citizens. This includes customer, supplier, and partner and employee personal data. You need to check how often your business deals with personal data. This includes your customer data as well as:

  • Supplier data
  • Past and present employees
  • Anything else you’ve collected, that doesn’t fall into these two groups.

If you’re collecting any of this data routinely, you’ll need to comply with the GDPR, whether it is on a spreadsheet, on your computer network, your mobile phone, or in the cloud.

Businesses must employ a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if you have ‘regular or systematic’ process of checking extensive personal information or involve in handling large volumes of ‘special category data’.  Their role will be to ensure the company complies with the requirements under the GDPR. They’ll also be the contact for any data protection queries. The GDPR doesn’t yet fully define what constitutes ‘large-scale’, but some examples include the processing of patient data by hospitals, travel data and transport services, and customer data by an insurance company or bank.

Customers and clients will have more rights on how businesses use their data. In some cases, the ‘right to be forgotten’ if they no longer want you to process their personal data. If the individual is no longer a customer and the contract is void,  this does not give you a right to keep the data.  Failure to comply will result in harsher penalties.

The GDPR will apply to any business that processes the personal data of EU citizens, including those with fewer than 250 employees. Serious breaches must be reported immediately to the regulator. In the UK it would be Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), within 24 hours where possible, but at least within 72 hours

Employ fewer than 250 people? 

Being a small business doesn’t mean you fall out of the GDPR range, even if you don’t need to employ a DPO. It’s recognised that small businesses have fewer resources and pose less of a risk to data protection, so there could be more leniency by the ICO in relation to any non-compliance.

Your business must still comply if it’s involved in regular processing (which includes collecting, storing and using) of personal data. It’s easier to follow the GDPR and get compliant than to spend time figuring out how you can avoid it.

If you’re contracting with a larger company that conducts large-scale processing you may also be subject to the stricter end of the GDPR’s regulation.

GDPR regulation list you need to check for your business:

With this list, you need to take into account past and present employees and suppliers, as well as customers as well as anyone else’s data you have or, will have.

Get to know your data if you don’t already

You’ll need to demonstrate an understanding of the type of data you hold, where they’re coming from, where they’re going and how you’re using that data such as:

  • Personal data – Name, address, email, bank details, photos, IP addresses.
  • Sensitive (or special category) data – Health details or religious views.
Consent to process personal data

If you’re relying on consent for data this may become more difficult under the GDPR. The consent needs to be clear, specific and explicit. You should really avoid relying on consent unless absolutely necessary.

Customer or individual ‘consent’ has been redefined and become much tighter. Requests for consent can no longer be hidden in small print but must be presented clearly, and separately to other policies on your website or communications – so no more pre-ticked boxes.

Scrutinise your security measures and policies

You’ll need to update these to be GDPR-compliant. If you don’t currently have any, you need to get them in place. Broad use of encryption could be a good way to reduce the likelihood of a big penalty in the event of a breach.

Access requests

Subject Access Rights are changing. Under the GDPR, customers and clients have the right to:

  • Access all of their personal data,
  • Rectify anything that’s inaccurate,
  • Object to processing in certain circumstances,
  • Completely erase all of their personal data that you may hold.

Each request has a timeframe and deadline of one month from the original date of the request. This can only be extended in mitigating circumstances.

Train your employees for breaches

This is the most common cause of a data breach. Every employee should understand what is included in a personal data breach and how to pick up any dangers. It is important that everyone in your business is aware to report any mistakes to the DPO or the person or team responsible for data protection compliance.

Check your supply chain contracts  

All suppliers and contractors should be GDPR-compliant, this would avoid any impact by any breaches and penalties. Check you have the right contract terms in place with suppliers. This should put the crucial duties on them, like notifying you if they have a data breach. For processors, the GDPR carries a specific set of legal obligations some of which will require you to:

  • Keep up-to-date personal data records. This includes details of your:
    – Processing activities and categories
    – ‘Data subject categories’ i.e. customers, employees, suppliers, etc
    – Categories of processing carried out i.e. transferring, hosting, altering, receiving, disclosing, etc
  • Keep details of any transfers to countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Implement appropriate security measures, may include pseudonymization and encryption, and prove you’re regularly testing these measures.
  • Be ready with a general description of the technical and organisational security measures you keep in place

What are the GDPR penalties?

The GDPR toughens up penalties already existing under the DPA. These existing penalties include:

  • Maximum fines of £500,000
  • Prosecutions, including prison sentences for deliberate breaches
  • Obligatory undertakings, where your company has to commit to specific action to improve compliance

Penalties will be getting heavier in May. Businesses in breach will see a dramatic increase in fines with penalties reaching an upper limit of €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher. Bankruptcy will be a real risk for non-compliant businesses as a result of these fines. There is the possibility that individuals can also sue you if they suffer as a result of your data management. This could be for material damage or non-material suffering, such as distress.

Peak Practice for telecoms firm

Ocean Telecom

A Shropshire businessman is going to extraordinary heights to raise money for a local children’s charity.

Jeremy Rose, who runs Ocean Telecom on Mile Oak Industrial Estate in Oswestry will be taking on the ‘Three Peaks Challenge’ in May this year to raise money for charity The Movement Centre, which provides life changing therapy to improve movement control in children who have a disability.

Jeremy felt inspired to raise money for The Movement Centre after visiting the charity at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt hospital last year.

Jeremy said: “After visiting The Movement Centre and seeing them in action and meeting a young child who goes to the charity to receive Targeted Training therapy, I was so impressed that I wanted to do something to contribute to the fantastic work going on there.”

The Movement Centre, founded in Oswestry treats up to 60 children each year from all over the UK through a 12-month intensive course of Targeted Training therapy. The Movement Centre is the only provider of Targeted Training, which helps children who have a movement disability to gain control of their movement, which makes them far more independent.

Three members of the Ocean Telecom team, Robin Talbot, Chris Spriggs and Sean Bolas will be joining Jeremy on the challenge which will see them scale the three highest mountains in the UK. Starting in Fort William, the team will climb Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak in around five hours, before driving almost six hours to Scafell Pike in the Lake District. The last leg of the journey will be to Snowdon in North Wales, where the team have been carrying out regular training.

Although Jeremy has completed the Three Peaks once before, the team accompanying him vary in experience when it comes to mountaineering but are determined to complete the gruelling physical and mental challenge in 24 hours.

The team started their training in February and have already climbed Snowdon twice in very icy conditions.

Anyone wishing to donate, should visit Jeremy’s Just Giving page. 100% of the donations will go to The Movement Centre as the cost of the challenge is funded by Ocean Telecom.