Voice over IP has come a long way, especially in the business world, but many financial services firms still have hesitations about making the switch. To assist hedge funds and private equity firms in making a decision about voice solutions, we're debunking some common myths.
MYTH 1: Poor Call Quality – Everyone Will Know I’m on VoIP
A main concern of VoIP is call quality, which can be impacted by a number of features including the network, available bandwidth and even the type of phones being used. However, a well-designed business-caliber VoIP system can deliver quality of service comparable to an in-house phone system. In business settings, where calls are made over private IP connections, Quality of Service (QoS) can be monitored and guaranteed because the entire IP connection is controlled by the party making the call.
When evaluating VoIP for financial firms, it is important to inquire about the underlying network and how voice traffic is prioritized and routed. You want a provider that has full control over network traffic and can ensure high quality of service. For added confidence, ask to speak with existing VoIP customers (over the phone!) to hear about their experiences first-hand.
MYTH 2: VoIP is Unreliable – I’ll Experience Downtime
Modern cloud voice solutions are designed to ensure reliability and can often surpass the reliability of tradition telephone networks. A natural extension of the call quality concern is the reliability concern. While consumer-grade VoIP services rely on the Internet as their primary means of connectivity, business-grade VoIP services typically only use the Internet as a backup connection to their primary private IP point-to-point circuit. This level of circuit redundancy preserves voice quality while offering protection against unexpected circuit disruptions.
MYTH 3: I’ll Lose Critical Functionality Required by My Financial Services Firm
This is a case where not all business VoIP services are created equal. It is important to ask providers about the availability of financial industry-specific features such as bridged appearances and IP ringdowns. VoIP services built for the investment industry should deliver these features.
Eze Voice, for example, provides true “bridged appearances,” which enable flexible push-button collaboration between colleagues. By adding a colleague’s phone line to your phone, not only can you join live conversations, but you can also place and answer calls from that “bridged” phone line. This is a must-have feature for fast-paced trading operations and collaborative teams.
MYTH 4: I Can’t Keep My Phone Number
Under the Federal Communications Commission’s “local number portability” (LNP) rules, as long as you remain in the same geographic area, you can switch telephone service providers and keep your existing phone number. The LNP rule applies to VoIP and is no different from a traditional phone service.
Per the FCC, if you are moving from one geographic area to another, however, you may not be able to take your number with you. Therefore, be sure to ask your VoIP provider about how they handle number portability when moving outside a geographic region.
MYTH 5: Someone May Hack My Phone System
Because VoIP operates through the Internet rather than across traditional wires, users assume that it isn’t as secure. Yet these same users rely on the Internet every day to access confidential information such as credit card statements, bank accounts and email. VoIP networks require layers of security just as data networks do and should include the “VoIP building blocks” defined by VOIPSA including: security technology components (SBCs, firewalls, etc.), architecture and network design (NAT, VPN, port security, etc.), network management, and endpoint access and authentication.
When choosing a VoIP provider for your financial firm consider asking:
Can you control the access that each user has?
Is there end-to-end encryption?
Is their system actively monitored for threats and problems?
MYTH 6: I Will Be Limited On Features
Since VoIP is a cloud-based service, many features and updates are delivered virtually and seamlessly without downtime. Whether you need more conference bridges or voicemail boxes, changes can be made automatically through the cloud.
MYTH 7: VoIP Doesn’t Allow Mobility
Regardless of where you are - whether it be the office, home or on a beach, cloud voice solutions allow you to authenticate to your secure business-grade VoIP system for incoming and outgoing calls. Call quality will remain consistent and all features will still be available. This feature is also important for security so that clients and vendors do not gain access to your private home and cell phone numbers.
The Solution? Eze Voice!
VoIP is now a proven technology that can increase the quality, reliability and uptime of your telephony infrastructure if implemented and maintained properly. To learn more about Eze Castle Integration's Voice over IP solution, Eze Voice, take a look at this quick :30 video!
Editor's Note: This article has been updated and was originally published in 2014.