Vendor Newsletters | March 2013
Telecom Association Names TelePacific
TelePacific has won the Telecom Association's 2012 Partner Choice Award in the Regional CLEC category and also been named a Top 10 domestic MPLS provider. The awards were given based on validated reviews from the 3,800 members of TA, a professional membership organization of telecom and technology consultants, agents, brokers and sales partners. This is the sixth consecutive year that TelePacific has been honored with TA Partner Choice Awards since they were established in 2006.
This a special honor because TA members are independent consultants. They don't have to recommend us to their clients. But they choose to recommend us, and they do so knowing that their own reputation is on the line depending on our performance.
Watch Out for Phreaking
Large enterprises spend a lot of money to stay one step ahead of hackers. But with limited budgets, smaller organizations aren't as proactive, and industry analysts and technology bloggers say that needs to change as the threat landscape grows more complex.
The Ponemon Institute's recent survey of small businesses throughout the United States found that 55 percent of those responding have had a data breach, and 53 percent had multiple breaches. The primary causes of the data breaches were employee or contractor mistakes; lost or stolen laptops, smart phones and storage media; and procedural mistakes.
Computer hacking and data breaches get most of the press. But as telecommunication networks and phone systems continue to become more software oriented and IP-centric, PBX hacking horrors are becoming more and more common. Call "phreaking," a form of hacking that exploits weaknesses in phone systems to make long-distance calls for free, tap into other calls, take control of lines and the like, costs businesses billions of dollars annually, and is five times more common than credit card fraud. And, unfortunately, more phone fraud originates in the U.S. than in any other country.
Some of the more recent and high-profile phreak attack horror stories, courtesy of the webzine TelecomReseller:
The Million Dollar Phone Bill Nightmare: A small business owner Massachusetts was slapped with a lawsuit after refusing to pay for his almost $1 million phone bill for illegal calls to Somalia. His PBX was hacked for four days. With no telemanagement fraud alert system nor a firewall in place, small businesses can be key targets for hackers.
More than 26 percent of small and medium sized businesses cannot be found in online searches because their websites earn a Google Page Rank of zero or have no Google Page Rank, finds vSplash in an audit of 3.9 million U.S. SMB websites. In addition to issues related to discoverability, the audit reveals other deficiencies in key categories of digital presence:
The Growing Importance of Online Local Marketing
There has been quite a bit of chatter online and in the blogosphere recently about the trend toward online local marketing. Ed Parsons, the Geospatial Technologist of Google, recently announced that one in three searches now have local intent. In 2010, the ratio was one in five searches. So searches with local intent have increased by about 65 percent in just over two years. That is a huge shift, which is probably the reason why so many national brands intend to invest more in online local marketing tactics this year.
Of course, Google has seen this trend coming for some time now. Last year, in a bid to better integrate its social platform with its other products, Google replaced its Google Places pages with Google+ Local pages. These pages, which link from location pins in Google Maps, have much of the same functionality as their predecessors, but include Zagat ratings and curated overviews for many businesses. Google+ Business pages, which in certain cases are being merged with Google+ Local pages, are beneficial in that small business owners can leverage them to target and publish information to select circles of people that have "plussed" them. (For a peek at what Google+ is all about, visit the TelePacific Google+ page.)
To stay ahead of the curve, SMBs might consider some of the following tactics, courtesy of the CPC Strategy blog:
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