Remote Working with VPNs and VoIP

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July 19, 2011

Remote working is becoming increasingly common. The staff that are allowed to do it love it, because it gives them more freedom and allows them to work in comfort, and companies love it because it saves them office space, and improves morale. A few years ago, remote working was a complicated proposition in terms of providing staff with access to communication tools and the information they needed to get their jobs done, but today it’s easy thanks to the proliferation of VoIP providers and MPLS VPN features.

What is an MPLS VPN?

An MPLS VPN is a Virtual Private Network that makes use of Multi Protocol Label Switching in order to provide fast, lag free, and secure communication. MPLS is already popular with VoIP providers because it allows them to offer high quality calls with minimal delay and high reliability, bringing VoIP up to the quality and efficiency of traditional carrier telephony. When you consider that VoIP calls are often free within the same network, and that international calls are generally low cost compared to traditional telephony, the value proposition of VoIP becomes clear.

Not only can VoIP save companies money, many VoIP providers have evolved to offer extra collaboration tools; including video calling, text chat, file transfer, and even more sophisticated groupware applications that make life a lot easier for remote workers. When these tools are combined with VPN systems it becomes possible for a worker to stay in touch with their colleagues and get work done as if they were in the office, no matter where they are at the time. Setting up a VPN has many benefits in terms of efficiency, and is generally far more secure than alternative ways of sharing files out of the office.

Security is an important consideration when choosing VoIP providers, but the good news is that most MPLS VPN systems are inherently very secure. Naturally, good passwords will need to be chosen for any accounts that are used on Internet facing systems, but VoIP and VPN communication is generally encrypted and transmitted securely, so there’s minimal risk of anyone snooping on your calls or company communications.

Investing in new technology can be intimidating – the concern for many bosses is what will happen if something bigger and better comes along. Voice over IP is an established standard already, however, and MPLS is something that is accepted and already gradually evolving, so anything you adopt now should continue to work for many years to come, and be easy enough to upgrade and iterate on as new standards and new technologies appear. This particular technology race is not one where you could end up with a useless brick in your server room if you make the wrong choice!
When choosing which VoIP providers to get quotes from, be sure to ask about their MPLS VPN offerings if you have a lot of remote workers. The ability to connect to your office from anywhere is incredibly useful, and your workers will thank you for it!

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