5 Key Elements of a Successful Database Strategy

The way you manage your company’s data plays a large role in its success. Falling short of this obligation is one of the many reasons why around 20% of small businesses fail within a year. Having the right database strategy in place can take your business’s performance to the next level, but many entrepreneurs don’t know how to get started.

The good news is the answer is easier than you might anticipate. We’ve created a brief guide with the key information you should consider when moving forward. Let’s explore what you need to know.

1. Cyber Security

As you might assume, proper data protection is crucial for getting the right results from your database strategy. The cybercrime industry is estimated to cost the world over $10 trillion by the end of 2025.

A large portion of this value stems from the amount of information hackers will compromise from businesses. Using updated software and implementing access control will help prevent contingencies.

2. Analytics

The only way to optimize your data management is by consulting your analytics. This offers key insight into areas of concern that need your attention. It also allows you to emphasize strategies that currently work.

Keep in mind that analytics information sometimes comes with a learning curve. It’s worth hiring a professional in many cases to better understand this information.

3. Collaboration

More often than not, you’ll have multiple team members working with the same data while collaborating. Collaboration features will help ensure everyone stays on the same page and has access to updated information.

The easier it is for users to work together, the faster they can complete projects. Collaboration features go a long way toward data preparation and maintaining data quality, as well.

4. Streamlined Data Management

Your database won’t be effective if you don’t have streamlined data management. For example, you should conduct a speed test to determine how quickly you can navigate to the required information. This is especially important for large databases.

Manually searching through these is impractical and often impossible. A key part of the management is proper documentation.

Your database strategy should document comprehensive information about the database’s use and performance. This information can be referenced in the future to make improvements or resolve issues.

5. Accessibility

Your database should be easy for the appropriate parties to access. Features like remote computing and multi-factor authentication are essential. Many database applications also come with real-time monitoring functionality.

They’ll alert you of unauthorized changes as soon as they occur. This is made possible through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Never Neglect Your Database Strategy

The information in this guide will help ensure you choose the right database strategy for your needs. From here, you should have no trouble avoiding issues you would’ve otherwise encountered. Voice and Data, Inc. has proudly served our clients since 2006 and strives to implement best-in-class products and services. Whether your needs are simple or complex, we are prepared to help. You can learn more about what we can offer when you schedule a consultation today.

Why Your Organization Needs a Robust Data Governance Strategy

Are you among the 38% of organizations globally that are prepared for a data attack? If not, it’s time to step up your game plan. With a better approach to data management, you can help stave off security breaches while making data more accessible.

The benefits don’t end there, either. Read on to learn why your organization needs a robust data governance strategy!

Understand Why a Data Governance Plan Is Necessary

First, consider how data governance can improve your organization. When your organization starts amassing data, you don’t want to store it somewhere and forget about it. Instead, you want to secure it and help your team members handle it responsibly.

A good data governance plan will set policies for how data should be used – and by whom. It will make it easier to access data for reports. And it will help keep your organization’s goals aligned when more people can analyze common sets of data.

Make Date More Usable

When employees are accessing data to build reports, is it easy for them to find the right data? And are all teams looking at the same data sets? With a data governance strategy, you’ll be able to streamline internal processes so data is more functional.

With commonly shared data sets, you can align labels and descriptions. And you can assign responsibilities for data management within teams. As a result, you’ll be able to ensure that your organization is complying with regulations related to data management.   

Manage Data Availability

You want the teams within your organization to have access to data they need to collaborate. An enhanced approach to data organization can make sure this happens. You’ll feel confident that teams can access data on the cloud or within other software easily. 

On the other side, with data auditing, you can determine who has access to data at your organization. You might be unknowingly granting access to critical information that some individuals should not see. The more you can grant access to only essential parties, the better. 

Provide Better Data Security

The last thing you want is for your company to experience a data breach that compromises sensitive data. Additionally, you could incur financial losses if the wrong party has access to important security codes. Part of your data governance strategy should include a security audit. 

A reputable data service can help you with this process and identify lapses in security. Once addressed, you’ll have a more secure system, and that will become an asset when you’re working with clients. You’ll be able to point to your data security plan to reassure them. 

Build a Data Governance Strategy

A good data governance strategy ensures that your organization’s most confidential data stays safe. You’ll also improve data availability so your employees are on the same page when they use data for projects and reports. And finally, you’ll build more organizational trust when everyone is involved in using data responsibly. 

At Voice and Data, we have 18 years of experience as a telecommunications broker. We help organizations find the data security plans to keep business data safe. Contact us today to learn more! 

What Makes a CRM Strategy Work? Smart Advice for Businesses

Imagine running a company that offers premier services and products in its industry. You also have no trouble keeping your team motivated or getting your brand in front of the right people. However, you can’t seem to retain customers no matter what you do.

Issues like these are why around 20% of small businesses fail in the United States during their first year. Developing strong customer relationships can help you improve customer experience and increase retention, but not everyone understands how to get started. Let’s explore the key information you need to know about how to build a CRM strategy.

Clearly-Defined Goals

Before moving forward, it’s imperative to clearly define your goals for your CRM strategy. There’s no universal answer to your concern, and it will depend on factors like your target audience, the products you offer, and your marketing budget. The more you emphasize this part of the process, the greater your chance of success.

Understanding of the Customer Journey

It’s crucial to have a strong understanding of the way your customers interact with your brand before making a purchase. For instance, they might be fairly apprehensive before spending money on your company and want to learn as much as possible about your products before moving forward.

You can use this information to nudge them in the right direction. Using the aforementioned example, you could ensure your customers have access to useful information on your product pages.

KPI Tracking

To properly track your performance, you’ll need to consider key performance indicators. These could be your conversion rate, total number of sales, or total customer volume. There are countless KPIs to track, but it’s best to focus on the ones that are most valuable to your company.

Consider how these metrics change over time. If you’re not seeing more of the KPIs you’re tracking, do your best to determine the root of the problem so you can make the necessary changes.

Use of Automation

Without the use of automation, you can’t expect to consistently meet your audience’s needs. This is especially true as your company grows.

Common marketing automation examples involve sending your customers offers based on their past activity on your website. When someone looks at a specific product page, for example, they could get an email with offers on products similar to the ones they viewed.

Not only does automation save substantial time, but it also minimizes the chance of human error. There’s nothing worse than damaging a customer relationship because you made a preventable mistake.

Understand How to Build a CRM Strategy

The information in this guide will help ensure you get started on the right track. From here, you shouldn’t have an issue understanding how to build a CRM strategy and achieve the best results for your situation.

Voice and Data excels at identifying, implementing, and supporting enterprise-level solutions for your company. We’ve proudly served our customers since 2006 and will continue to exceed their expectations. You’ll learn more about the many benefits we offer when you get in touch with us today.

A Quick IT Security Audit Checklist for Business Owners

IT integration is necessary for businesses to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. Although these solutions are important, they can become the cause of a significant crash if not handled correctly.

Implementing IT solutions and leaving them to work isn’t enough to protect your business. You need to follow trends and check on your network often.

With this security audit checklist, you can learn what to do to keep your business secure and compliant.

Operating System Updates

The first thing to include in your security audit checklist is automatic updates for your operating system. With upgrade automation, your system will install updates as soon as they become available.

Your business data is at risk if you don’t regularly update your antivirus and antimalware software as well.

System updates ensure smooth corporate processes and operations.

System Accessibility

During a cyber security audit, check who has access to your system. It’s important to limit accessibility to avoid potential threats.

Before granting access to your system, consider running a background check on contractors and employees. It may seem excessive, but it will help keep your network safe.

Train employees on your cyber security policy when they gain system access. Misconfigurations caused by human error are the biggest threats to IT security.

Encrypted Communications

Hackers penetrate networks through non-encrypted communication channels. Part of your data security audit should be to check that your communication is encrypted.

If you haven’t already, implement encryption methods to secure communications, especially when sending and receiving sensitive data.

Train all employees how to use an encrypted email solution and business portals if you have them.

Email Awareness Training

As you implement protective data tools like email encryption, consider making a training program out of it. In addition to encryption communication, employees should be aware of what a questionable email looks like.

Employees with training will exercise caution before clicking on unsafe links. They will learn how to examine an email’s attributes before continuing.

Share how and where employees can report questionable emails.

Backup Data

IT services can help you routinely back up your data. It’s best to back data up to an encrypted, secure, and off-site location to minimize downtime. If your business is disrupted, you can continue working with regular backups.

You can also utilize cloud solutions to back up data without relying on hardware.

A backup strategy ensures smooth recovery after human mistakes, cyber security attacks, and natural disasters. Regular data backups also keep your business data compliant with local regulations and laws.

Security Audit Checklist: The Bottom Line

This security audit checklist can walk you through how to test the security controls and policies your business has in place. It will help record suspicious activities, reduce downtime, and ensure compliance.

Voice and Data, Inc. is a full-service Nationwide Telecommunications Broker. Since 2006, we’ve helped clients create successful work environments with data protection and cloud solutions.

Using our preferred carriers, you will find cost-effective solutions that meet your goals. Ready to make security a priority and audit your current solution? Contact us today to get started.

Protecting Your Client Data With the Right Cybersecurity Frameworks

It might surprise you to learn that the average data breach hit a record $4.4 million in 2022. It’s essential to protect both your company’s and your clients’ information.

Otherwise, you can encounter a large number of issues. This could involve reputational damage and legal problems.

Using the right cybersecurity frameworks can go a long way toward keeping your info as safe as possible. Not everyone understands the best steps to take, though. Let’s explore the key information you should consider about cyber security threats.

HIPAA

This is also known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA sets guidelines for how healthcare organizations store and maintain data.

Breaching these standards can result in costly fines and fees. It’s always in your best interest to take them seriously.

A key part of adhering to HIPAA also includes holding frequent risk assessments. This helps ensure client data protection.

FISMA

The Federal Information Security Management Act is a comprehensive framework. It aims to protect government systems from cyber-based threats.

FISMA requires continuous monitoring so that immediate action can be taken if threats arise. This framework also extends to vendors and third parties. Those who work with government entities must follow FISMA regulations.

ISO 27001 and ISO 27002

These frameworks were created by the International Organization for Standardization. ISO certifications demonstrate that a company adheres to cybersecurity standards. This can make it easier to acquire new customers, as they’ll know their information is safe at your organization.

However, obtaining these certifications requires time and resources. It’s not recommended to pursue them unless you’re sure there will be tangible benefits. Otherwise, the payoff might not be worth it.

SOC2

Service Organization Control Type 2 was created to ensure partners and vendors manage client data securely. It specifies over 60 compliance requirements. It also has comprehensive auditing processes.

In some cases, a cyber security audit can take over a year to complete. As you might expect, SOC2 is difficult to implement and isn’t suitable for most organizations. Companies in high-risk industries (such as tech or finance) can benefit from the most.

NERC-CIP

This term stands for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation-Critical Infrastructure Protection. It focuses on companies in the power and utility industry.

Key components include making plans for recovering cyber assets and making vulnerability assessments. It’s more specific than other cybersecurity frameworks. However, implementation is straightforward.

Making Your Choice

When choosing a framework, it’s essential to consider your needs. This will help you narrow down your potential options.

It can also help you save as much time as possible. For example, adding an unnecessary framework can waste time and resources that are better spent elsewhere.

Ensure the framework is appropriate for your organization. Using the wrong one can perpetuate cyber risks.

Leverage the Right Cybersecurity Frameworks

The tips in this guide will ensure you utilize cybersecurity frameworks appropriately. From here, you can maximize how safe you keep data at your organization. You’ll then have no trouble taking your company’s performance to the next level.

Voice and Data is a nationwide telecommunications broker that offers best-in-class services. We’ve been proudly serving the industry since 2006 and strive to streamline each project. You’ll learn more about the benefits we provide when you get in touch with us today.

How Can You Create a Data Collection Plan for Your Company?

You can’t afford to not collect data for your business. In fact, 6 out of 10 organizations report that big data gives their company a competitive advantage. 

If you don’t currently have a data collection plan that is working for you, then you need to dedicate the time to create one. But don’t jump into this endeavor without first knowing what you’re collecting and why. Keep reading to learn the best practices you need as you follow the data.

Best Practices for Your Data Collection Plan

If you’ve ever sat with a potential investor, you know that they love to see reports with detailed business data regarding your business. Don’t shy away from these conversations. You can benefit and grow from gathering data for your business so you can track and attain your goals. 

From customer data to sales history and billable hours, you need to know the key data points for your business. And there are certain best practices you must follow so you don’t make mistakes in your data collection. 

1. Know What You Want to Measure

Before you jump in and start gathering every data point regarding your business, take a moment to brainstorm what data is relevant and important.

If you’re tracking sales history, you not only want to measure your sales but also where your top customers found you. This secondary information allows you to make informed decisions about your marketing plan. 

2. Understand Why You’re Collecting the Data

Again, you’re not collecting data simply for the sake of reporting numbers to shareholders. You need to know why you’re gathering certain information. Understand how these types of data will help you going forward with growing your business. 

3. Determine How and Where You’ll Collect the Data

As you start gathering information, you’ll need to decide how and where you’ll store that information. A key factor is deciding who will need to access the information and if they’re on-site or not. 

If the majority of your team is remote, then a cloud-based DMaaS database will likely be the best option for you. However, if you have a small team that is mainly on-site, then a simple spreadsheet might suffice. 

4. Follow a Data Management System

Nothing will hurt you more in your data collection plan than not following a clear system. Anyone on your team should be able to not only find, categorize, and store the data but they should also be able to find it with ease

Create detailed checklists and policies with steps for your team so they’re sure to catalog everything uniformly. Regardless of your system, be sure to stay consistent. This will ensure that everyone knows where to find the information they need. 

All Others Bring Data

Renowned economist W. Edward Denning is famous for saying, “In God we trust, all others bring data.” This still stands true decades later. 

Don’t delay in beginning your robust data collection plan. Follow the best practices above, and you’ll have the data you need to grow and scale your business. 

Here at Voice and Data, we pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop for our clients. We can provide the level of service you need using your preferred carriers. Contact us here to learn more about how we offer best-in-class, yet cost-effective, services to our clients every day. 

Your Quick Guide to Data Management as a Service

Data is the lifeblood of most businesses. The information a small business collects will dictate its future decisions and help optimize its strategies. For example, having a better understanding of your target audience allows you to offer better products and services.

You might be surprised to learn that 43% of collected data goes largely unused. Outsourcing to a third-party provider can help acquire and manage data more effectively. Let’s explore the key information you should know about data management as a service (DMaaS).

What Is Data Management as a Service?

This process involves using cloud-based storage to consolidate data from multiple sources. It’s generally offered as an enterprise solution and covers the entire data lifecycle.

This includes collection, storage, movement, protection, and analysis. The primary goal of DMaaS is to maintain data accessibility, usability, and security.

How DMaaS Works

Using DMaaS is a relatively simple process. You’ll work with a service provider to determine which data management option meets your needs.

This lets you forego buying equipment and managing the data infrastructure yourself. In many cases, this can save a substantial amount of time and money. Reputable providers will use a combination of automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).

Benefits of DMaaS

One of the primary benefits of data management as a service is streamlined data handling. With a reliable service provider on your side, you’ll sift through data more efficiently and find the information you’re looking for.

Increased data protection is another attribute you shouldn’t overlook. Through the use of automation, your service provider can take measures to secure data from common cyber threats.

In context, it can identify and resolve issues before they evolve into something more serious. Considering that the average data breach cost a record $4.4 million in 2022, this is key information to keep in mind. DMaaS is also highly scalable.

Your company can easily manage its data as it grows. Large businesses often have data spread across several cloud servers. You can use your data management platform to automatically locate information based on certain criteria.

This allows you to update, modify, or remove information much faster than you could manually. Having more control over your information also helps your company stay compliant with industry standards.

Getting Started

The first step is finding a reputable third-party service provider. They have the required tools and resources to ensure you get the data management results you need. Look at their past reputation before making your decision.

There should be no shortage of positive feedback from other clients. You should also ask about the pricing structure. If they aren’t transparent about where your money goes, continue your search elsewhere.

Do they have a solid customer support policy? The last thing you want is to handle issues on your own. With enough research, you’ll find the ideal solution.

Take Action ASAP

The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll utilize your company’s data to its fullest extent. As long as you do your due diligence, you can effectively leverage data management as a service and take your performance to the next level.

Voice and Data, Inc. has proudly served clients since 2006. We offer cost-effective solutions that encourage creativity and facilitate a successful work environment. Book a consultation today to learn how we can help.

What Is a UCaaS and What Is Included?

It’s estimated that the cloud computing market will be worth $2082.2 billion by the year 2032. Cloud communication systems and software have revolutionized communications and storage services.

As the workforce turns more remote, we can only expect their usage to increase. However, despite its popularity, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding certain cloud services.

One common one that people often haven’t heard of is UCaaS. So what is a UCaaS? And what types of services can you expect from it?

In this guide we’ll be answering these questions and more so you can determine whether or not this type of communication service is right for your business.

What Is a UCaaS?

UCaaS is an acronym that stands for Unified Communications as a Service. Essentially, it’s a cloud service that allows business teams to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

It does this by putting things like voice/video chat, enterprise messaging, SMS, online meetings, screen sharing, file sharing, and analytics into one asynchronous channel.

That means that multiple parties can connect across multiple channels in real time. It doesn’t matter if they use different devices or reside in different geographic locations.

Since it’s estimated that 35% of workers are currently remote, UCaaS has become an invaluable tool for optimizing work communications and team collaboration in these types of settings.

What Types of Services Does It Include?

Different UCaaS services will include different things depending on your provider. For example, here at Voice and Data, Inc., our UCaaS comes with:

  • Phone (including desk phones, PC/laptops, and mobile devices)
  • Messaging (including text messaging, MMS, and email)
  • Audio/video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Collaborative tools
  • CRM integration
  • Call flow management
  • Remote work symmetry
  • Cloud redundancy

Ready for the Unified Communications You Need? Contact Voice and Data, Inc

We hope this guide helped you answer the question, What is a UCaaS? Here at Voice and Data, Inc. we’re passionate about helping companies find new ways to communicate and collaborate.

That’s why for nearly two decades we’ve helped with implementing services that foster creativity without breaking the bank.

From cloud solutions like UCaaS to other Voice and Data products, we’re confident we can help you improve your business. So contact us today to learn how to get started.

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Cloud Back-Up Services for Your Business

Data security and efficiency are vital to every business. Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and about 43 percent of them target small businesses, many of which never recover.

With technology constantly evolving, it can be difficult to know if you have the best protections in place. And security is one aspect of cloud services. Optimized productivity and user-friendly software are others that can make or break a company. 

That is why it is so important to choose the right cloud back-up services. There are a lot of options available, and it can be tough to know where to start.

Below are three tips for choosing a cloud service. Keep reading to find out how to select the best one for your unique business needs.

1. Learn What Services and Protections They Provide

There are lots of different cloud service vendors. The first question to ask when looking for one is what they offer. A good way to do this is to lay out your business’s specific needs, and then see how the company can address them.

Ask about backup capacities and available networks from whatever devices your staff uses. Make sure the software is user-friendly and intuitive for even non-tech-minded personnel. Inquire about data encryption and other protections the company might offer.

Also, ask where their data centers are located. Specifically, find out if cloud data is stored in more than one place and how the companies handle external threats–including natural disasters and cyberterrorism–against their facilities.

2. Compare Prices

Pricing is obviously a factor when choosing cloud services. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples among companies.

Some cloud computing services will offer low introductory rates for comprehensive services, only to jack costs up or cut packages down the road. They are banking on businesses not spending the time and effort to transition to a completely new service.

Understanding these parameters at the outset can save you a lot of hassle and money in the future. Even with specific companies, make sure they can offer the cloud back-up services you need without charging you for ones you do not.

3. Ask About Scalability

Finally, businesses grow and change over time. What you require today in terms of cloud back-up service may be different than what your business needs tomorrow. Make sure you are going with a company that can easily adapt to these changes and make accommodations where necessary.

The good news is that reputable cloud solutions companies already do this well. But it is important to have these conversations at the outset, so that everyone has the same expectations going forward.

Lineup Cloud Back-up Services Today

Now that you have some tips for choosing the right cloud back-up services, you can get started. Spending time researching and speaking with prospective cloud companies can go a long way to protecting your data and increasing productivity going forward.

Voice and Data is a full-service telecommunications broker. Since 2006, we have provided services and products that optimize efficiency, creativity, and a collaborative work environment. Contact us today to set up a free solution review and analysis of your business.

Leveraging Business Technologies to Advance Your Business

There are over 32 million small businesses in the United States. With so many companies to compete with, it’s crucial to take every step you can to stand out. One of the most important parts of running a successful business is leveraging different business technologies. These will go a long way when it comes to taking your performance to new heights.

Let’s explore the different types available and how you can take advantage of them.

Automation

This is one of the most important to keep in mind. Automating repetitive or low-level tasks can have an astronomical impact on business profit.

To clarify, you can make your employees far more productive by automating tasks that take their attention away from core responsibilities. In some cases, you can also avoid hiring an employee for a specific role. This is especially useful for small businesses, as they often don’t have the budget to hire employees or contractors to handle certain types of work.

Common tasks to automate include emails, scheduling, responding to customer inquiries, etc. In context, chatbots are some of the most useful forms of automation.

VoIP / UCaaS (unified communications as a service) Services

This technology allows you to make phone calls using an Internet connection instead of a conventional phone line. It operates by converting the user’s voice into a digital signal that is transmitted over the Internet.

In many cases, this allows you to substantially increase accessibility while minimizing costs. Businesses can also experience clearer voice quality and higher scalability. Keep this in mind when moving forward.

Productivity Tools

There are many productivity tools out there that can help take your performance to the next level.

For example, you could use software that allows you to upload a large number of files at once across different platforms. Chances are that there is a tool available for your needs.

So, it’s worth defining the bottlenecks in your company’s productivity so you can determine which areas need the most improvement. From here, you can look for solutions.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

It’s much easier to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new ones.

The way you manage your customer relationships is crucial, and CRM software can help keep this bond as strong as possible. It allows you to track all communications you have with your customers and nurture your relationship with them.

For example, you’ll have access to every text message, email, social media message, etc., and can pull from this information at any time. You can then take the appropriate action when necessary to close a deal or provide a better service.

Don’t Neglect Business Technologies

Keep the above information in mind when considering which business technologies to leverage. This will go a long way and maximizing performance and reaching your target metrics. You might even find that you far exceed your initial goals.

Get in touch with us today at Voice and Data. Our team has all the tools and resources to get you started on the right track.