SD-WAN: Why You Should Consider Making the Switch

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) has recently become a hot topic in the IT world. SD-WAN offers numerous benefits for organizations of all sizes but is especially helpful to businesses with multiple branch locations. Many companies are virtualizing their existing WAN configurations and realizing the cost savings and operational efficiency of SD-WAN implementations.

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is a way for your company to automate, centralize, and simplify your network management. With SD-WAN, you have cost-efficient, secure, cloud-based WAN connectivity that reduces the need to purchase expensive proprietary hardware and network transport. SD-WAN securely connects a business to a public or private cloud or to a corporate network. It takes traditional physical networking and turns it into a software-defined virtual functionality. SD-WAN is deployed as a software-based solution or as a combination of hardware and software with WAN devices placed at each branch location. Each device is managed from one central location. All routing is based on application policies and security rules set in place by your IT staff and can be quickly revised as your network requirements change.

What are the Benefits of SD-WAN?

Lower Networking Costs

With SD-WAN, you can use the mode of transport that makes the most economical sense for your business’ situation, i.e. MPLS, Ethernet, WiFi and any type of Internet bandwidth. If you have some offices running on an MPLS network, but you want your new offices to access the cloud and your data center directly, this can be accomplished using low-cost Internet connections, while maintaining a high level of security. SD-WAN allows you to improve and expand your existing network infrastructure quickly and within budget.

Increased Security

SD-WAN helps improve network security in the following ways:

• Encrypted network traffic protects data as it moves back and forth from the cloud.

• Network segmentation limits the damage done from an attack to a smaller more manageable area. The SD technology immediately alerts your IT staff to the problem, allowing them to begin working on a fix right away.

• Central provisioning systems allow for better communication between all levels of your network.

Increased Productivity and Simplified Operational Efficiency

SD-WAN improves network performance and enables your employees to connect to their cloud-based software and files faster. It provides the ability to maintain a responsive, redundant network. By using automatic routing based on parameters set by your IT staff, if the Internet connection goes down in one office, the SD-WAN can re-route Internet traffic and VoIP phone service utilizing the network connection of another location.

SD-WAN also eliminates the need to employ IT staff at each branch location. Once the pre-configured SD-WAN device is connected at your branch site, it should come online, configure itself and be running within minutes. Your corporate IT staff can then manage each location using a software-defined management application.

Improved Voice Quality

SD-WAN is just as useful to companies with one location as it is for those with multiple locations. By implementing two or more Internet connections from different providers, SD-WAN can dramatically improve the quality of your VoIP calls. SD-WANs use application-based routing to direct voice traffic across the most favorable path. Additionally, by implementing an SD-WAN solution that features Forward Error Correction (FEC), you can improve your voice quality by compensating for packet loss. Lost packets are reconfigured and packets that are delivered out of order will be reduced.

Increased Network Speed

Network performance is crucial for unified communications and business applications. Some network traffic needs to move quicker than other traffic. SD-WAN has the ability to steer the traffic of applications and different users onto applicable paths. SD-WAN can also automatically re-route traffic onto a different path when the current path becomes overcrowded.

SD-WAN has many appealing features. The value of SD-WAN on its own is clear. Organizations are not only saving money but also benefiting from increased business agility and employee productivity.

The New Distributed Workforce

With remote teams of employees becoming much more commonplace, employers are tasked with effectively managing their distributed workforce. Many technologies exist to enable and control resources available to remote employees. Voice-over-Internet-Protocol, or VoIP, provides many features at a fraction of the cost including real-time collaboration, call recording, video conferencing and more. These features effortlessly deliver the communication options critical for today’s distributed workforce. Below are just a few examples of how VoIP and business Cloud applications support mobility and the distributed workforce.

Telecommuting Made Easier

Using a telephone system that is hosted by the Cloud, your employees need only an Internet connection to securely connect to the system. Many VoIP products offer communication features specifically designed to improve management of a distributed workforce. Features such as call routing and conferencing allow unparalleled access to employees working in remote locations by allowing them to use their smartphones and laptops as if they were working in an actual office. VoIP also provides a consistent and professional experience for your customers and prospects. Using the Presence Management capability of VoIP, calls can be automatically routed to any number or extension. The call transfers are seamless, making it appear as if the employee they are speaking to is in the office, no matter where they are located.

Increased Productivity

Because VoIP is an Internet-based communication system, your employees can make and receive phone calls from anywhere anytime. They can use audio and video conferencing to organize and attend business meetings, make sales presentations, or conduct training remotely.

Even when you or your employees are not in the office, you can:

• Check the availability of others in your business.
• Know when other employees are engaged and should not be disturbed.
• Easily communicate by instant message (IM) with anyone on your team.
• Use a smartphone to access voice messages and collaboration features.
• Get real-time call alerts online.

In addition, VoIP allows you to log a record of all calls. This gives you some insight into how your employees are managing their time as well as the number of contacts made with customers, vendors, and others.

Cost Savings

One of the biggest benefits of VoIP systems is that they are very cost effective. Whether audio or video, so long as it’s sent through the Internet, it’s virtually free. The costs of calls themselves are also greatly reduced as there are little to no charges for long distance or international calls. This is a tremendous benefit if you have a workforce that is spread across the country. And because VoIP systems have flexible and changeable structures, it’s easy to expand or scale back as needed. VoIP also makes it easier to manage your business. You can rely on the system to route calls using the most effective path, increasing your business’s efficiency. It helps you achieve the almost effortless communication necessary to run your business effectively and to ensure that you and your employees can be attentive to the needs of clients and prospects. Additionally, using VoIP to employ a remote workforce, companies can spend less on overhead expenses, possibly even eliminating them altogether.

Collaboration and Teamwork

The video conferencing option of VoIP gives employees a way to connect even when they can’t meet in person. Employees can hold meetings with team members and clients from wherever they are so long as they have an Internet connection. This saves time and travel expenses.
Businesses can also manage critical business data using a Cloud-based file management and backup solution, such as SecuriSync by Intermedia. Employees can instantly and securely access content from any device, share folders with colleagues, vendors or customers, and co-edit files in real-time with multiple collaborators. Your business data is automatically backed up and protected from ransomware attacks, hardware failure, or accidental file deletions.

The flexibility of VoIP systems means they can be tailored to fit your specific needs. Your Ideacom Network telecom provider can help you find and customize a VoIP telephony system that’s just right for your business.

That’s Not Your Neighbor Calling: Caller ID Spoofing and How to Protect Yourself

If you have a landline or a cell phone, you have most likely experienced an increase in the number of local phone calls you’re receiving, but when you answer the phone, it’s an automated telemarketing campaign or an obvious, or not so obvious, scam call. You are not alone. Caller ID spoofing is used every day by scammers and telemarketers in an effort to get you to answer the phone.

What is Caller ID Spoofing?

Caller ID spoofing is a technology that allows a caller to display a number other than the actual number from which a call is placed. With this technology, the caller can send and receive calls and texts that appear to be from any phone number that they choose. While there are legitimate uses and benefits to using this technology, scammers are using it to steal money and personal identities over the phone. In order for their phone scams to work, scammers need their targets to answer the phone. In recent years, scammers have started using “neighbor spoofing” to match the first six digits of their intended call recipient’s own number to make them think the phone call is coming from a local business or even a friend or family member. They know that their call recipient is much more likely to answer the phone if the call is local, increasing their chances that their scam will be successful.

Is Caller ID Spoofing Illegal?

Technically, caller ID spoofing is not illegal. Under the FCC’s Truth in Caller ID Act, so long as a person or business entity is not using caller ID spoofing with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, it is perfectly legal. Unfortunately, a person using caller ID spoofing for less than legitimate purposes knows that what they are doing is illegal and will continue to do it anyway.

How Does Caller ID Spoofing Work?

There are many internet-based services that offer caller ID spoofing. A caller provides the phone number they’d like to call along with the phone number they would like shown on the recipient’s caller ID. The call is then sent through a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service, where the outbound caller ID is changed, and the caller is connected to their desired recipient’s phone number.

Protecting Yourself.

While the Federal Trade Commission has done what they can to try and ensure that spoofing services are not being used to defraud consumers, there are precautions you should take to protect yourself from potential scams:

• Keep in mind that caller ID spoofing allows a caller to use actual phone numbers of individuals and businesses. This means a scammer can make it appear as if the call is coming from your doctor, insurance company, or financial institution. If you receive a call from a number that you recognize, but are uncertain of the caller’s authenticity, there is nothing wrong with hanging up and calling the number back to ensure it is not a scam.

• Do not give personal, financial, or credit card information over the phone unless you have initiated the call.

• Consider using a call blocking app to decrease the number of spam calls you are receiving or ask your phone carrier if they offer a similar service.

• Lastly, do not answer calls from unfamiliar phone numbers, even if it appears to be a local call. By answering the phone, you’re alerting the caller that the number they are dialing is a real phone number, putting you at risk of receiving, even more, calls in the future. If the caller is legitimate, they will leave a message.

You can also add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry at While it is unlikely to prevent scam calls, it may help to reduce the number of legitimate calls you receive from telemarketers, making it easier to screen for scammers. If you suspect a call you received was fraudulent, you can file a complaint with the FCC online at