Tech Tips: VoIP Solutions and Broadband Protection

VoIP Solutions for Law Firms: Overview

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an emerging communication technology used by law firms throughout the country. As an alternative to a traditional phone line, VoIP uses the internet to allow users to place local or long-distance phone calls. This technology can allow your firm to eliminate the need to pay for both internet and phone service. The disadvantage is that your service may not work during power outages or other service interruptions. Keeping a smartphone as a backup is always a good idea.

The question you will want to ask yourself is whether or not VoIP is a good idea for your law firm. You may want to consider it if you frequently travel internationally for clients or other business. You will be able to make and receive calls through a central phone number, transfer calls to other extensions and voicemail boxes, access the company directory, and more.

The other added benefits of VoIP is that the technology is typically very adaptable, being able to accommodate a wide range of office environments and are easy deployed and managed once it’s set up.

Here are a few issues to consider:

Q: Dear IT Guy, the outsourced IT Department at our law firm is proposing a Voice Over IP solution for our 50 attorney office. Our older PBX seems to work fine but is in need of an upgrade due to our expansion. Do you have any recommendations regarding our upcoming decision regarding VoIP?

A: Thanks for the question reader. VoIP is becoming a great option for many firms, with easier MAC's, voicemail through email options and interconnection between firm offices. This is particularly true if you go with the VoIP leader Cisco and are removing your old PBX completely or adding a completely new location without any existing system.

If completely removing your existing PBX is not possible, I would research other companies that are using the hybrid PBX/VoIP system that your IS Department is proposing. VoIP has the advantage of allowing attorneys to work from any networked office by plugging in their handset. This also can be extended to a home system set up with a VPN connection. In a time of expensive workspace, this can have a great ROI on your VoIP investment.

Q: IT Guy, I do a lot of travel and am concerned about the broadband Internet access I receive at the hotels I have been getting access through. What can I do to protect myself from unauthorized access into my laptop?

A: Dear traveler, your concerns are well grounded. Many hotels do not have secured networks and more frequently they are becoming targets for malicious attacks due to the level of classified information commonly found on executive traveler's laptops. I recommend software by ZoneAlarm, for a small cost your IT Department should be able to install this personal firewall that will eliminate most threats of unwanted entry.

Technology changes quickly. For a more up to date discussion on this topic, please visit the Legal Hardware section at FindLaw’s Technologist blog.