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15 Critical IT Security Policies to Be Aware of

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IT security policies are the backbone of all procedures within an organization. Without the right policies laid out ahead of time, your business may be left open to security attacks with no disaster plan in sight. Let’s look at some critical IT security policies companies should consider having in place.

Why are IT Security Policies Important?

These policies align with the company mission and ensure the security of the company, employees, and customer information. An IT security policy defines what information needs to be protected and how it will be protected. These policies also determine how an organization prepares and handles security incidents. As such, an IT policy is crucial to the efficient and safe running of any business.

What is in an IT Security Policy?

In general, IT security policies outline the purpose, scope, policy, and procedures to be followed. The IT company policy will also highlight who must follow these rules and regulations. For example, certain rules apply only to an IT team while others may apply to other users (employees).

IT policies should include risks and consequences of not following the guidelines listed within the policy. They should also provide information about who to report to when a breach or issue occurs. When implemented and followed diligently, these policies protect your business’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability of systems and data.

15 IT Security Policies for Business

So, what IT security policies does your business need? There are a multitude of policies out there meant to protect company information and data. In fact, TechRepublic has a list of over 100 IT policies. However, not all apply to every business type and size. Here we list the most important IT security policies you should consider for your business:

1. Acceptable Use Policy

The Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) defines the acceptable use of computer and laptop equipment within the office. The AUP outlines what constitutes inappropriate use of computers and laptops and educates users on the potential risks. This IT policy also determines how employees should handle proprietary or sensitive information about the company, employees, and customers.

2. Security Awareness and Training Policy

This policy highlights how all workplace members and users must protect company information. Employees may sign a confidentiality agreement. They may also complete training as required by the business to educate employees on the business’s security policy and how the policy protects the business, employees, and customers. Key aspects of the training include safeguarding business and customer information, reducing downtime, etc. Employees may be asked to provide proof of completion of the training.

3. Access Authorization, Modification, and Identity Access Management

This IT policy operates on the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) which states that users, systems, and devices are given access only to the information they need to do their jobs. To effectively implement this policy, businesses must create a process for documenting, reviewing, and modifying access. The policy also outlines who will have what kind of access and when access will be terminated. Access can be granted based on valid access authorization, intended use, and other necessary factors.

4. Password Creation and Management Policy

This IT company policy, as the name suggests, focuses on best practices when it comes to creating, changing, sharing, and safeguarding strong passwords. Passwords and two-factor authentication ensure that your information and accounts are kept secure and don’t fall into the wrong hands. This policy should include training and awareness that educates users on how to create strong passwords, what parameters to follow when creating passwords, and why it is important to avoid reusing the same passwords. This policy may also include password log-outs and maximum retry attempts to safeguard from unsuccessful login attempts.

5. Network Security Policy

This policy focuses on best practices when conducting network and information system activity reviews. The core purpose of a network security policy is to ensure your systems and data remain secure. This involves making sure systems have the right hardware and software and that these are up to date. It also includes procedural auditing mechanisms to keep track of usage and changes.

6. VoIP Security Policy

A VoIP security policy looks after your business’s VoIP phone system. This policy identifies common VoIP vulnerabilities and potential risks. It is important to ensure that your VoIP system is secure by educating users on how to identify VoIP attacks as well as keep their devices and phone systems secure.

7. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

BYOD policies let employees bring and use their own devices to conduct business. While this policy has helped businesses cut down on equipment-related costs, it may lead to security breaches if not monitored. A BYOD policy outlines what steps employees must take to keep their devices safe, especially when connecting these devices to your business’s networks. Businesses with remote and distributed teams can use a BYOD policy to ensure information is kept secure.

it security policy
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8. Remote Access Policy

With the popularity of remote working and telecommuting, this policy is more important than ever to keep remote teams connected securely. A remote access policy outlines how users will achieve remote access. This is when working from outside the office and connecting to the company’s network. A remote access policy ensures users know how to keep information and devices safe. This IT company policy should include VPN access and disk encryption instructions. Additionally, employees should be educated on the appropriate usage of authorized devices such as not engaging in illegal activity or mandating the use of strong passwords.

Related: 5 Benefits of Unified Communications for Remote Teams

9. Incident Response Policy

An incident response policy outlines the business’s response to an information security incident. Although similarly categorized, this policy should be documented separately from a disaster recovery plan or policy. This policy must include information about the incident response team so users know who to report to in the case of a security or data breach. It should also outline actions and resources implemented to identify compromised data and a plan to recover this data.

10. Encryption and Decryption Policy

This IT security policy outlines encryption requirements for all office- and business-related devices such as computers, laptops, networks, servers, storage areas, and so on. All employees, users, and IT members should follow recommendations made in this policy. The purpose of this is to protect information and communication channels while deterring unauthorized access.

11. Vulnerability Management Policy

A vulnerability management policy defines rules for reviewing, evaluating, applying, and verifying system updates. The purpose of this is to reduce or mitigate vulnerabilities and risks within your business’s IT infrastructure. As such, the policy will also include ways to identify, classify, and remediate these vulnerabilities.

12. Change Management Policy

A change management policy discusses how changes are made to information systems. This policy ensures that changes made to computers and laptops are managed, approved, and tracked in a thoughtful manner that reduces negative impact on the business. Timely and accurate documentation is at the core of this policy.

13. Vendor Management Policy

This IT security policy validates a vendor’s compliance and information security capabilities. And by doing so, it evaluates which vendors may put your business at risk and how to avoid those risks. In other words, it evaluates whether a third-party vendor should have access to sensitive data. In order to conduct this evaluation, your business must assess the vendor’s ability to create, receive, and transmit confidential information. Your business should also maintain a list of vendors to keep track of risks and be prepared for a data breach. Additionally, prepare an internal response plan, in case a vendor fails and a data breach occurs.

14. Data Retention Policy

A data retention policy defines what type of data must be retained, for how long, and how it will be stored and destroyed. Your business may want to store company documents, transactions and contracts, customer records, emails, call center data, and so on. This policy will help your business store and retain data effectively while determining processes to take care of outdated and duplicated data.

15. Scheduled Downtime Policy

This IT policy defines how to conduct regular maintenance, updates, and upgrades of company systems, servers, and networks. It should also outline how the business will communicate the scheduled downtime to its users, vendors, contacts, and customers to ensure smooth operations.

Does Your Business Have the Right Policies in Place?

Depending on how you run your business and what systems you have in place, you may need some or all of these policies. Conduct a review of different departments, brainstorm with your IT team, and identify areas that need new policies. It’s better to get started now than have to remedy issues later when they may be too late to fix. Bring your business up to date and protect it with the right IT policies.

What is International Call Forwarding & How Does It Work?

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What is International Call Forwarding?

International call forwarding, also known as global call forwarding, is a service that routes incoming calls from a virtual phone number to another destination anywhere in the world. Calls can be forwarded internationally to any phone number(s), PBX, or SIP destination worldwide.

How International Call Forwarding Works

International call forwarding is the redirection of incoming calls to an international destination. When you set up international forwarding on a virtual number, calls to that phone number can be automatically routed to another office location or device that you have set anywhere in the world.

Callers will typically not notice that their call is being forwarded. Modern technologies have developed a number of features that make the forwarded phone calls indistinguishable from regular local calls. For example, you can set a local ringback tone that corresponds to many countries’ unique local dial tones or even configure a customized greeting in a local language.

Forwarded Phone Conversations Have Two Legs

A single forwarded phone conversation actually consists of two phone calls – which are commonly referred to as “Leg A” and “Leg B.”

First, there is Leg A – this an inbound call, from your customer for example, to your forwarding number. Leg A gets connected to your service provider’s network. After connecting to the network, Leg A call needs to get forwarded to the destination you chose.

Leg B is the outbound call from your provider’s network to the pre-specified destination. Subscribers are usually billed for both legs.

How Long Does It Take?

A subscription is required. International call forwarding can be set up in just a few minutes. Further, the full service can be integrated in less than a day. Some countries, however, require basic documentation in order to enable calls to be forwarded internationally. Once that documentation is taken care, calls are then seamlessly forwarded to your destination.

This service used to be reserved for large companies with international operations. Recent advancements in technology, however, have made it now possible for businesses of all sizes to use international call forwarding. In most cases, the forwarding takes place instantaneously.

However, there can be some latency issues associated with very long-distance calls. For example, a call from Australia to the United States has a long distance to travel. This can lead to minor delays.

To combat this, top service providers like United World Telecom have global infrastructure to minimize any potential delays. We know how important it is for calls to get forwarded instantaneously and with superior voice quality.

Can I Forward Calls to More Than One Phone?

The best part about a call forward service is that calls can be routed seamlessly to more than one phone. The service was created for business usage and it comes with a number of features to enhance this capability. For example, there are settings to enable simultaneous ringing, sequential ringing, and time-of-day routing, which forwards calls to different numbers at different times of the day. International call forwarding can support an unlimited number of extensions.

Top 3 Benefits of International Call Forwarding

We’ve been helping international companies expand across borders for more than twenty years. These are the most common international call forwarding benefits that real customers have reported to us over the years.

Working Remotely

Telecommuting has become a fast-growing trend for businesses in 2020. Major institutions like Facebook and Harvard have started to work remotely. In some companies, in-person operations have been replaced completely by remote work! One of the benefits of international call forwarding is the ability to work remotely.

A phone forwarding service enables employees to work from anywhere in the world. Not only can an international forwarding service help companies comply with an immediate need for remote work, it can also expand a potential talent pool to include candidates from other countries.

Expanding Internationally

As the name suggests, international call forwarding helps businesses expand internationally. The service is available from most of the 195 countries worldwide and it enables any business to establish a virtual telephone presence in those countries. There is a very minimal charge and the service is without commitment.

Enhancing Customer Experience

Let’s face it – your paying customers don’t want to have to pay more to get in touch with you over the phone. But that’s what happens when a multinational business doesn’t have international call forwarding set up.

Offer a free way for international customers to get a hold of your business over the phone. It will undoubtedly enhance your customer experience.

Hosted PBX versus SIP Trunking: What’s the Difference?

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When switching to a cloud phone system for your company’s communications, owners often have to decide between a hosted PBX and SIP trunking. Here we will discuss what these two types of service are so you can make the right decision based on your needs.

Hosted PBX versus SIP Trunking: Key Differences

In order to decide whether your company can benefit from a hosted PBX  or SIP trunking, it is important to first understand what each of these services is capable of achieving. Other factors to consider are:

  • Costs
  • Level of expertise required
  • Company size and calling (or call management) requirements
  • Security needs

But first, let’s look at these services and their benefits individually.

What is a Hosted PBX?

If you want a system handled and managed offsite, then a hosted PBX service will be more in line with your needs. Other terms for hosted PBX are virtual PBX, cloud PBX, and cloud phone system. A hosted PBX service is a service managed by a third-party provider and connects to a public switched telephone network (PSTN).

Benefits of Hosted PBX

Therefore, subscribing to a hosted PBX service means that your company does not have to buy or maintain any equipment or software to utilize the service. And so, you do not have to worry about high setup or maintenance fees. Additionally, you do not need to hire experienced IT professionals to manage the system.

A hosted PBX service will give you the opportunity to utilize Voice over IP services such as:

  • Call management tools to manage and route calls
  • Call transfer
  • Voicemail
  • Call recording
  • Interactive voice response (IVR system)

What is SIP Trunking?

SIP trunking also uses VoIP technology. SIP connects your existing PBX to the internet and enables the sharing of multimedia files such as voice, video, and text. Therefore, to use SIP trunking technology, you need to have an on-premise PBX system and a skilled and experienced in-house IT team to manage it.

SIP trunking

Benefits of Using SIP Trunks

SIP technology is growing more and more popular with businesses because of the many advantages of using such a system. Here are a few benefits of SIP trunking:

SIP trunks replace traditional phone lines by helping you make and answer calls over virtual lines instead. This enables long-distance and international calling at cheaper rates. Therefore, SIP technology is often preferred for its affordability.

Furthermore, you do not need to subscribe to 4-5 different services to handle your office’s communications. SIP trunks allow for transmission for various types of data all in one place, making business communications easy to manage. This is also helpful in increasing overall office productivity and efficiency as employees spend less time learning new services and more time providing better customer support.

Key Differences Between Hosted PBX and SIP Trunking

Now that we have a better understanding of what each service means, let’s look at the key differences between having a hosted PBX system and SIP trunking as part of your office phone system:

Hosted PBX SIP Trunking
1) Setup Costs Low Low, if you own PBX equipment on-premise
2) Ongoing Costs $15-$50 per phone line per month $20-$50 per user per month
3) Maintenance and Expertise Handled by your provider Handled by your in-house IT staff
4) Expertise Required No, handled by the provider In-house IT staff must be experienced
5) Call quality and volume Great for low call volume Great for a large workforce and a high call volume
6) Flexibility Geographically flexible and self-reliant Depends on PBX program licensing and support
7) Company size and type Recommended for companies with <20 employees Recommended for companies with >20 employees
8) Security Depends on the provider’s standards More secure infrastructure

Choosing a Phone System

Deciding on a type of phone system for your business can be overwhelming. To simplify the process, pay attention to what your business needs and what your budget allows. For example, can you afford a skilled in-house IT team or do you want your provider to handle maintenance? Do you need a system that supports a low or high call volume and traffic? And so on. Determining your business’ needs will help you make a better choice. To get SIP trunks and PBX, call United World Telecom and speak with an expert.

5 SIP Trunking Benefits You Probably Don’t Know

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SIP trunking has slowly revolutionized business communication. This business phone solution uses an internet connection to provide a high-quality and low-cost phone service. More and more companies are using SIP trunks to improve the way they communicate internally and externally. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider this service for your business.

What Are the Top Benefits of SIP Trunking?

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an internet protocol that enables communications between two parties through voice, video, and chat. SIP trunking, therefore, transmits voice, video, and other unified communications through the internet.

This enables businesses to have multi-channel communication options through voice over IP technology. Doing so improves and enhances internal (within the office) and external (between the business and its customers) communication. This is why everyone from small businesses to large corporations is using SIP trunks in their business communication systems. So, what are some benefits of SIP trunking technology?

1. Cost-Effective Services

The main reason why this technology is gaining popularity is because of its affordability while still remaining reliable. SIP calls are routed over the internet instead of traditional expensive phone lines. Furthermore, they give your business the opportunity to make local, long-distance, and international calls at cheaper rates. By routing your calls through international call forwarding services, you can reduce long-distance and international calling costs.

When you sign up for such a service, you are immediately made aware of what the charges for your entire phone system will be. SIP trunk pricing depends on the provider you choose and the various virtual communication tools they offer such as call recording, video conferencing, etc. The cost is predictable and flexible based on your needs and usage. Additionally, most providers do not offer long-term contracts and so if you need to adjust or change your service, you do not have to worry about high cancellation rates either.

2. Unified and Easy-to-Manage Communication System

With this technology, you do not need to have 3-4 different services to manage your company’s communications. SIP trunking allows for different types of data transmission; all in one place. You can access and share voice, video, text, instant messaging, and other files via SIP channels. Having all of your communications in one place can help increase office efficiency, as less time will be spent on finding, learning, and using new software or services.

3. More Office and Employee Productivity

Companies want to improve their communication system to provide better caller experience and service to their customers. In other words, a seamless connection between the business and its valued clients is essential.

Part of such development is providing employees with the right tools to help them be productive and reduce errors. With SIP trunk technology, employees spend less time figuring out how to connect with customers. Managers can access log and activity reports, review recordings of calls, and more to study employee performance. This gives employees additional incentives to do a good job as well.

4. Mobility and Flexibility

Another benefit of SIP trunking is the mobility and flexibility it offers your team. With this technology, you can answer calls not only on traditional phone systems but also on computers, smartphones, tablets, and more. Therefore, you can convert almost any device into a business powerhouse.

Plus, you are not limited in terms of where you can make and answer calls. SIP and VoIP technology enable users to make and receive calls anywhere in the world. This is most useful to businesses with remote offices and employees or those that have employees who travel for work. SIP trunking makes it cheaper to stay connected across borders.

5. Improved and Reliable Phone Service

Most importantly, SIP technology is a reliable phone service with low costs and high quality. Even during a power outage, calls can be directed to employees’ mobile devices or other offices to keep the business running. Failover options make this service one of the most reliable when it comes to secure communications.

Considering SIP Trunking Technology for Your Business?

There is no time like the present to start boosting and enhancing your business’ communication system. SIP trunking can help you create a smooth and interruption-free mode of contact between you and your customers. This, in turn, will help you serve them better and increase customer happiness. Ready to get SIP trunks for your business? Start by signing up for a virtual number with us or call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 to learn more.

What is SIP Trunking and How Does it Work?

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Any business looking to grow successfully or maintain its success must keep checking in on its business communication system. If your business phone system is flawed or missing essential components, employees and customers will have trouble communicating effectively. As a result, this can lead to losing valuable customers. Here we look at business SIP trunking as a cloud phone solution and its benefits for companies of all sizes.

What is SIP Trunking?

As a new business owner setting up your business communications, you must have come across the term “SIP trunking” and wondered what it was and if your business could benefit from it. Here, we will discuss the significant details of global SIP trunking and its advantages so that you can make an informed decision.

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. Business SIP trunking is a method of transmitting voice communications over IP. SIP usually works alongside an IP-PBX, which is a private branch exchange system boosting a company’s internal phone system with extensions. SIP makes it possible to send and receive voice, video, and other unified communications through an internet connection. It does so by breaking down voice signals and transmitting them from one destination to another.

How Does SIP Trunking Work?

A SIP trunk can carry multiple SIP channels where each channel is an inbound or outbound call. In standard SIP trunking, the SIP trunk connects IP channels to a PSTN or VoIP system. This allows for multiple calls to occur simultaneously. With this, your business can easily place calls to customers and other businesses as and when needed.

SIP trunks send voice, video, text, and other files to an end recipient using internet protocols. Originally, calls were connected through public switched telephone networks or PTSN cables. But, thanks to SIP trunking, we can now use IP to deliver calls as well. Because of SIP trunks, your existing PBX system can communicate through voice over internet protocol.

How Much Do SIP Trunks Cost?

Every SIP provider’s pricing will differ depending on what they offer and how much or what services you need. The price for elastic trunking depends on a variety of factors such as:

  • The type of subscription — monthly or annually; per user or per account.
  • Outbound calling rates — whether using a metered or unmetered plan.
  • Add-ons — additional services and features, usually advanced.
  • Set-up fees, if any — additional equipment and/ or installation fees.

Here is a guide to United World Telecom’s elastic SIP trunking prices:

  • Monthly subscription: Customers subscribe to a monthly subscription for their phone number. This number will be used as their caller ID for outbound calls. They can add more numbers, if desired. Our US phone numbers start at $7.95 per month. Subscribers can even opt to buy a monthly call credit for $25.
  • Outbound/ international calling rates: Our call rates are metered, which entails a monthly fee plus a per-minute charge for outbound calls. Each country has a different calling rate.
  • Add-ons: Outbound Call Recording can be purchased for $5 monthly, plus 3¢ per minute.
  • Set-up fees: No set-up fees or long-term contracts.

To get a clear idea of how much SIP trunking for a particular country would cost, check out our SIP trunk pricing page or call us for custom quotes!

What is Elastic SIP Trunking and How Does it Work?

Elastic SIP trunking is an advanced form of standard SIP trunking. Elastic trunking uses cloud-based virtual solutions to create a more flexible and reliable business phone system. Since this type of SIP trunking works over the cloud, it is much easier to integrate with other cloud communication services. As such, you can create a unified communication system for your business that is easily accessible and mobile.

Elastic SIP trunking takes this to another level by adding advanced features that traditional trunks lack. With elastic trunking, you can use more virtual communication tools such as virtual phone numbers (toll free, local, vanity numbers, etc.), DID numbers, call forwarding, and more.

how does elastic sip trunking work

 

Difference Between SIP Trunking and Elastic Trunking

SIP trunking and elastic trunking are very similar and yet they differ in certain ways. For instance, one major difference between standard SIP trunking and elastic SIP trunking is the way a user pays for the service. With standard SIP trunks, account users pay for the maximum number of simultaneous or concurrent calls, irrespective of how many calls you have running at a time. With elastic SIP trunks, you pay as you go. In other words, you pay for what you use and no more. Businesses that have fluctuating call volumes during different times of the year will benefit more from elastic trunks.

Let’s have a look at the other differences between these two communication models:

SIP Trunking Elastic SIP Trunking
System base On-premise hardware and equipment Internet connection; cloud system
Concurrent call capacity Based on the plan Unlimited; more flexibility
Geographical coverage Limited Global reach; more flexible
Billing model Based on the number of lines Based on the amount of calling
Payment pricing Billed a flat rate per month Billed on usage; pay-as-you-go
Set-up costs $0-$150 per trunk $0
Average costs $25-50 per trunk, per month $0.005-0.0009 per minute
Maintenance In-house IT team required Taken care of by the provider

7 Benefits of SIP Trunking

SIP trunking can do wonders for your office’s phone system in a number of ways. It can help you communicate better internally as well as externally. In other words, within the office, and with your customers. And, you can expand your network and reach by connecting with prospects from all over the world, thanks to virtual communication lines. From small businesses to large enterprises, everyone is switching to global SIP trunking and VoIP systems for many reasons. Here are some ways SIP trunks can boost your business communications:

1. Affordability

SIP trunks are relatively inexpensive, compared to traditional phone lines. Furthermore, you will be getting high-quality service for a reasonable rate through a more stable connection. And this is significant because you will be using this connection to transfer important business files and information. Instead of being forwarded through traditional phone lines, SIP calls route over the internet, making these calls less expensive.

This is even more useful for businesses that have a global reach and thrive on international communication. SIP trunking enables such businesses to forward calls internationally through international phone numbers while reducing long-distance calling costs.

2. Unified Communication Platform

With elastic trunking and cloud communications, your business and its teams can access all communication and business-related services in one unified communications platform. Voice, video, text, and other file-sharing among employees are made possible and the features are easy to use. This way your teams stay well-connected and have access to important and updated information as and when they need it.

3. Mobility

You can carry your service with you. For example, if you need to close up shop and relocate your business to a new location. Being able to take your communications with you, without worrying about losing important data or becoming inaccessible, is one less thing for you to worry about.

4. Advanced Communication Tools

Access to premium communication features and tools. United World Telecom offers:

  • Call recording
  • Outbound calling with customizable caller ID
  • SMS plans
  • Call forwarding
  • Interactive voice response (IVR)
  • PBX, and lots more

5. Global Coverage

Global SIP trunking can help you connect with prospects from neighboring cities, states, and countries with virtual local, international, and toll free numbers. Use an international call forwarding service to route calls over the internet to avoid international calling fees.

6. Improved Scalability and Flexibility

One of the most attractive benefits of SIP trunking is scalability. Organize, add, and manage your lines as needed and based on your business’ requirements. You can run multiple virtual lines simultaneously because SIP trunks host unlimited channels. They are sold in smaller quantities making them easy to set up and use.

SIP trunking enables businesses to expand or scale upwards or downwards as necessary. They can easily add or remove SIP trunks, use as many SIP channels as they need, and more without changing their phone system. Additionally, they can use these services from any location, making remote work more manageable.

7. Increase Connectivity and Productivity

Lastly, businesses can increase global connectivity with SIP trunking. Locals from around the world can easily connect with these businesses without paying high calling rates. And businesses can answer international calls from any location. All that is needed is a reliable internet connection.

Furthermore, the unified communication platform and easy connectivity lead to employees being more productive and efficient. Calls are managed well and communication between teammates is clear, irrespective of the distance.

Related: 5 SIP Trunking Benefits You Probably Don’t Know

Ready to Get SIP Trunking for your Business?

Business is all about evolution and adaptation to change. This is necessary if you want to succeed. Get SIP trunking by signing up with United World Telecom. We offer businesses a variety of services to aid in international connectivity and global customer support. To learn more about SIP trunking and how you can get started, speak with one of our experts or call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 today.

Who Are The World’s Largest Tech Companies?

June 8, 2019 Mountain View / CA / USA - Googleplex map and office building at the campus in Silicon Valley; The "double o's" of the logo are decorated in rainbow colors in honor of LGBTQ Rights

This decade has seen a gradual rise in tech companies across the board. From new phone models to social media to smart homes. The largest tech companies have changed our lives at home, at work, and at play. In every aspect, tech is making processes more convenient, effective, and fun.

Top 2021 Largest Tech Companies

Most of the companies on the list below have been in action for quite some time and have been gradually expanding. They are common names and their services are known and used by many, even if people don’t realize it. So, who are some of the largest tech companies of 2021?

Alphabet / Google

Country: United States
Business Type: The leading search engine. Side projects: innovative tech developer Google X, smart home projects Home and Nest, phones, and life-extension company Calico.

An obvious contender, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has been strategically growing over the past several years and is one of the largest tech companies expanding its coverage. Google started as a search engine and now has grown into much more, dipping its toes in home security, smart home tech, phones and network coverage, and biotech with Calico. And Google has even greater plans for growth and expansion.

Apple

Country: United States
Business Type: Phone/ technology company

Apple, founded in 1976, now has over 115,000 employees and more than 468 stores in 17 countries. Also one of the largest tech companies in the world, Apple has an annual revenue of $29.2 billion approximately. Apple offers phones, iPads, iPods, its music streaming service, Apple TV, Macbooks, and more. And its products and services are preferred by many across different age groups.

Samsung

Country: South Korea
Business Type: Electronics, electric appliances, and phone company

Samsung was founded in South Korea in 1969. And it has grown to be one of the largest tech companies offering reliable electronics, phones, and electric appliances used the world over. The company has over 319,000 employees in about 80 countries and an estimated annual revenue of $211.9 billion.

Microsoft

Country: United States
Business Type: Software/tech

Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975, Microsoft began by inventing computers and then expanding to more tech-related services. Microsoft, an American multinational tech company, now develops, manufactures, and produces computer software, PCs, and electronics. The company offers operating systems, its office software suite and tools, and cloud computing solutions. And, Microsoft products are used by businesses and individuals worldwide for basic to advanced purposes. All of this makes Microsoft one of the largest and most valuable tech companies.

Facebook

Country: United States
Business Type: Social media platform

Facebook, founded in 2004, still is one of the highest-ranking social media platforms. Originally developed as a social networking site, the company has grown to do more. It is now also one of the biggest advertising platforms and is used for marketing efforts. Facebook has purchased over 70 companies including WhatsApp, which was one of its biggest purchases. And it has done all of this in only 15 years of existence, making it one of the top tech companies in the last two decades.

Amazon

Country: United States
Business Type: E-commerce giant

Everybody knows and uses Amazon’s services across the world. Amazon started as an online bookstore and has grown to become much more. Since it was founded in 1994, Amazon has continuously been making it easier for users to gain access to products and services from anywhere in the world at reasonable prices and with quick deliveries. Now, Amazon plans to utilize automation to make its service quicker and more efficient. The e-commerce giant hopes to achieve this by using robots in its manufacturing and packaging plants and by using drones for delivery.

Tencent Holdings Limited

Country: China
Business Type: Tech products and internet-related services

Founded in 1998, Tencent specializes in internet-related products and services, AI, and entertainment tech. It is also the world’s largest gaming company as well as social media company. And the company’s services include mobile and online games, e-commerce, social networking, music, smartphones, and more. Tencent has more than 700 million active users and 120 million subscribers, making it one of Asia’s most valuable tech companies.

Intel

Country: United States
Business Type: Microprocessor, semiconductor manufacturing company

Intel was founded in 1968 however, it did not become a part of primary business till the development of personal computers in 1981. Then when Intel’s stock price rose dramatically in the 1990s, the company grew tremendously. And now Intel’s products have become an essential component of PCs and laptops used by millions. More recently, Intel has been entering the artificial intelligence (AI) market.

Hon Hai Precision / Foxconn Tech Group

Country: Taiwan
Business Type: Multinational electronics manufacturer

Hon Hai Precision Industry was founded by Terry Gou in 1974. The company’s original trade name was Foxconn. It currently employees more than 1.3 million individuals. Hon Hai Precision manufactures and produces electronic products and components for other companies. Popular clients served by Foxconn are Blackberry, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox One, iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Playstation 3 and 4.

Largest Tech Companies: 2021 Forecast

The question remains, will these remain the largest tech companies in the new decade? Many of these companies have enjoyed their time in the sun for the past few years consistently. However, tech companies like IBM, Oracle, and so on are slowly making their way to the top. Let’s see what the new year and decade has in store for our favorite tech giants.

Samsung Galaxy A20 Review: Samsung’s Most Affordable Phone

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This holiday season, gift a loved one (or better yet, yourself!) a new phone with quality specs and a reasonable price! Samsung’s new A series phone is under $250 and makes for a very usable budget phone. No wonder, it’s been getting some serious attention. Let’s look at what makes the new Samsung Galaxy A20 so appealing.

Samsung’s New Model: Samsung Galaxy A20

The fifth model in Samsung’s A series’ 5th generation, the Samsung A20 is not very different from most smartphones available. Before you purchase a new phone, it is important to consider its specifications to determine which is most suitable for you. Do you need a large screen? Or the latest android version? Or a fingerprint scanner? Or a high res camera? Here’s a list of the Samsung A20 specs:

  • Display: 6.4 inch AMOLED Infinity-V Display (1560 x 720)
  • Width: 2.9
  • Weight: 169 g
  • Version: Android 9.0 (Pie)
  • Rear Cameras: 13 MP, 5 MP
  • Front Camera: 8 MP
  • Memory: 32 GB ROM / 3 GB RAM
  • Battery: 4,000 mAh battery, Fast Charging
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes
  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 7884 Octa (International) or 7904 Octa (US)
  • Wireless Network: 3G, 4G, LTE
  • Ports: USB Type C, 3.5 mm audio jack

As you can see, the specs are quite impressive for a phone under $250. But certain features make the phone stand out more. So, why should you consider buying a Samsung Galaxy A20?

Outstanding Battery Life

A 4,000 mAh battery gives the Samsung A20 power enough to run for a full day. This phone also comes equipped with Samsung’s lightning-fast charging, which is usually reserved for the pricier phones. The phone lasts for about 13 hours, which is more than the average 10-hour battery-time for most smartphones. The Samsung A20 also utilizes a USB Type C charger. It is a good switch with the USB Type C, as it revolutionizes charging cables with adapters connecting it to HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, and other major connectors. It is slowly replacing the need for regular USB ports/cables.

Sharp Camera for a Budget Phone: Live Focus Camera Mode and Impressive Selfie Camera

The camera is Samsung A20’s most attractive feature. The phone features a slightly protruding dual-camera module with a 13 megapixel lens and a 5 megapixel wide-angle shooter. Having the second camera gives the A20 the ability to capture depth-of-field photographs. For lovers of portrait modes, the phone features a Live Focus option ― a feature from Samsung’s more expensive models. The Live Focus gives users control over what to focus on and how to manage the blurry background. Additionally, the 8 megapixel selfie camera’s depth option provides extra depth for selfies.

Galaxy A20 review
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Performance Lag: No Good For Gaming

Considering this is a budget phone, it is not as powerful as Samsung’s other flagship models. The Exynos 7885 processor brings in an acceptable and workable amount of power. The same goes for the Exynos 7904 processor. These less powerful chips keep the phone’s cost low while providing decent power. But the downside is that demanding apps don’t perform well and lag as a result. This is why this phone is not recommended for mobile gaming.

And Yet, It’s Good For Your Pocket

Even among budget phones, Samsung has been working its best to include features from its pricier phones. And this is why these low-cost phones get so much attention. You have access to useful features and a decent camera for a comfortable price. In fact, you can pay as little as $10 a month plus tax for 24 months through T-Mobile or other providers.

Buy The Samsung A20 To Be Your New Business Phone

So, what do you think? With the Samsung Galaxy A20, you can get a phone that has relevant features and that doesn’t dig a giant hole in your pocket. And if you decide to buy the phone to work as a business phone, you can get a toll free number from United World Telecom! We can hook you up with a phone number for your company to keep your personal and work life separate. Freelancers and remote employees find this most useful to balance between their personal and business calls. Sign up for a business number today or contact us at 1-877-898-8646 to learn more.

Need Help: My iPhone Won’t Turn On

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Every person’s worst nightmare: their phone stops working. iPhones can stop working when something’s broken internally, or the phone lost a war with water, or simply when its time has come. So, what can you do besides running around screaming, “my iPhone won’t turn on?” Here are some troubleshooting tips for getting an iPhone to turn on that will hopefully offer some insight.

My iPhone Won’t Turn On Because . . .

Common reasons why iPhones don’t turn on are because of software or hardware crashes. Either the software needs to be reset or restored, or the hardware problem needs to be fixed. Therefore, the first step to fixing the problem is identifying the problem. Did your iPhone just randomly stop working? Or, has it not turned on since you dropped it? Before attempting big fixes, try charging your phone for 15-30 minutes. If the issue still persists, try the following fixes.

How to Fix a Software Crash

It is absolutely necessary to always back your phone up in case of a situation like this. A backup can help you restore your iPhone. Software crashes may lead to a blank screen where even though the phone actually is on, the screen is black. To fix this, you need to do a hard reset.

For iPhone 6S or older: To hard reset your phone, press and hold the Power button and the Home button at the same time. Hold them together for 20 seconds or until the Apple logo appears.

For iPhone 7 or newer: Press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons together.

For iPhone 8 or newer: Press and release the Volume Up button, then press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Power button (iPhone 8 and 8 Plus) or the Side button (iPhone X, XS, and XR).

If this doesn’t turn your phone back on, your problem might be a hardware-related one.

My iPhone Won’t Turn On
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How to Fix a Hardware Issue

Hardware issues can be from a faulty charging point, adapter, or cable, an unresponsive display, or a drained battery. Here are some possibilities.

Charging points: Try charging your phone with a different cable or by connecting it to a laptop instead of a wall charger. The charging screen should appear in a few minutes.

Unresponsive display: If charging the phone doesn’t turn the screen on, then try plugging your iPhone to your computer to see if iTunes recognizes it. If it does, then use iTunes to perform a back-up. This suggests that the issue lies in your display and that it needs to be repaired. If you don’t see your iPhone in iTunes, then you may need to restore it to factory settings. To do so, put your phone in recovery mode while connected to the laptop/computer. Follow the hard reset prompts (mentioned above) until you see the recovery-mode screen. Once the phone is in recovery mode, click the device icon in iTunes, and select “Restore iPhone.”

Water or physical damage: If you dropped your iPhone in water, check for water damage, and immediately put your phone in a box of rice. Rice absorbs water. So letting your phone sit in rice for 12-24 hours can help remove water that seeped in. If there’s any minor physical damage, Apple may ignore it and replace your phone under warranty.

If The Phone Still Doesn’t Turn On . . .

The issue may be much bigger than you’d like if it still will not turn on. You may need to send the phone to Apple or another repair shop for repairs. Contact Apple Support, if you still have a black screen after charging or force restarting or you see a black screen, but you can hear notifications and vibrations. Next time someone tells you, “my iPhone won’t turn on,” you’ll know what to do to fix it.

United World Telecom is a phone service provider offering local and international call forwarding services for virtual, local, and toll free numbers. We can help you activate a virtual phone number on your iPhone. Contact us or sign up for a virtual number on our website today.

SMS vs. MMS: What is the difference?

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Set up dinner plans for a large group over group messages. Send a funny GIF to a friend who is having a bad day. Share your new favorite song. Send out mass texts to update customers or community groups about new changes. Or simply let someone know you are thinking of them. Almost everybody uses instant messaging, or texting, to communicate. However, not many know what processes are in play when sending a simple text or a more complex multimedia file. Read on to understand more about SMS and MMS services. SMS vs MMS: which of these services will improve your communication and increase response and engagement?

SMS vs MMS: How Do They Differ?

What does SMS mean? Short Message Service (SMS) is a communication protocol that sends and receives text messages over cellular networks. In simple terms, SMS is instant messaging or texting between cellular phone numbers. Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), on the other hand, acts as an extension of SMS that allows sharing of multimedia content. Therefore, MMS lets users send pictures, audio, videos, GIFs, website links, and phone contacts. With such messaging services, you can send short and quick messages easily without any disruption.

Companies and start-ups are increasingly using business phone systems with SMS/MMS to increase customer engagement. SMS/MMS are quick and easy methods to reach customers as opposed to interrupting their day with calls. Additionally, mass texting apps allow businesses, managers, and other leaders to send out texts to a large group of people at a time. This is helpful when they need to send product updates, event reminders, promotions, etc.

Both messaging types are highly versatile and very useful. Often, used interchangeably, these terms are not the same. So, what is the difference between SMS and MMS?

Characters and Space

The main difference between SMS and MMS is the space available for the type of message being sent. SMS usually has a max of 160 characters and can only send words. Some phones and networks may support emojis, but not all of them do. This means that each text needs to be straight-forward and to-the-point. Users must pay attention to the economy of words, doing their best to capture attention with the fewest words.

MMS, on the contrary, can have up to 1600 characters and has the additional benefit of sending multimedia files. You can send multiple files at a time, depending on their sizes. Users can use MMS’ capacity and space to share images, videos, and attract more attention.

Interactive Texting Experience

Texting, by default, makes communication quicker and more efficient as most texts are sent with the intent to get straight to the point. They enable people to be in touch with one another with little to no extra effort. MMS, however, adds more to this texting experience by allowing users to send a variety of media. You can send audio files, pictures, videos, and hilarious GIFs, stickers, or emojis. All of these little details make the texting experience more interactive.

SMS vs. MMS What is the Difference?
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SMS vs MMS in Business

When you consider SMS vs MMS, you will realize that both are great ways to market yourself and your products. Both methods are useful in keeping your customers engaged and staying on their radar. However, MMS does have an advantage here because humans are visually-inclined and having images draws more attention than just text. Because of MMS’ ability to share multimedia files, they are, naturally, more preferred. They can be used as a great marketing tool where businesses send promotional flyers and coupons to customers.

Cost of Use

Both work through a cellular network, however, MMS requires data or an internet connection to send larger and more complex files. This makes MMS slightly more expensive. Businesses with a tight budget may need to limit their MMS use. Individual users may opt for free web-based texting apps to reduce costs.

What To Include In Your Business Phone Service?

So, after considering SMS vs MMS and how one can use the two, it’s time to consider what your organization needs. However, the first step is to get a virtual business phone number. These numbers come with the added benefits of call forwarding, call recording, unlimited extensions, and more. United World Telecom’s SMS Forwarding feature automatically forwards texts sent to a business phone number to the desired email address. Use these for record-keeping or to study your target demographic. Sign up for a business phone number today with United World Telecom and improve communication between you and your customer.