Find out why professional services organisations are now looking at SIP trunking as an ISDN replacement and what the benefits are.

 

ISDN standard was set in the late ‘80’s:

During this era:

  • The world wide web was just being invented
  • Mobile telephony was just finding its feet – and still analogue
  • Urgent business documents were often sent by fax

Since the launch of ISDN, many changes have taken place in the business world:

  • Remote working, flexible working and hot-desking have exploded
  • Many employees use both mobile and fixed line telephony services during the workday
  • There has been increased focus on service, efficiency, business continuity and disaster recovery
  • IP-based services are commonly used by many organisations

In many ways, still using ISDN is like driving a classic sports car:

  • The car represented cutting-edge technology when it was launched
  • These days it’s not as efficient as its modern counterparts
  • The cost to keep the old model running is higher than a modern alternative
  • Reliability is a worry and issues can take days to resolve
  • Although a classic, sticking with the old model may no longer meet your basic needs

At this point, you’d consider upgrading to a newer model that is fit for purpose.

Here’s why you should do the same if your business is still relying on ISDN:

  • ISDN lacks the agility needed to meet the needs of today’s fast-moving consumers
  • The management of multiple offices can be time consuming, maintaining consistency of service across offices is often difficult
  • Scalability is slow and often expensive
  • ISDN-based telephony systems often require substantial capex investment
  • Disaster Recovery is slow
  • It can’t be combined with modern technologies like Ethernet to enhance voice services

That is why it’s time to add ISDN replacement to your business agenda…

Next generation technology SIP trunking is fast becoming the ISDN replacement solution of choice, as it can bring many benefits to your business, including:

  • Improved service features for greater efficiency gains
  • Increased flexibility to meet the changing needs of your workforce
  • Improved scalability to help drive business growth
  • Enhanced quality of service for customers
  • Improved resilience with built-in disaster recovery provisions
  • Reduced cost with significant savings to be made on call costs and line rental
  • Increased visibility of performance metrics to improve productivity and overall
    business performance

Technologies like SIP trunking offer a more flexible, cost-effective telecoms solution for your organisation to help you achieve your business goals.

For your replacement options, that best fit your business, get in touch with us HERE

As the way we work has changed dramatically, how can we continue to assist your business with that change, long term? 

Through recent weeks, thousands of companies – those who had no effective measures in place to cope with the situation – have worked with telecom vendors to quickly deploy temporary cloud-based telephony solutions, enabling them to mirror their phone system’s functionality on remote devices and replicate staff’s desk phones on their mobiles, making and receiving calls as normal.

For many, this was done as a short-term fix, signing the shortest contracts possible to hopefully see them through the current crisis.

But as these firms start to see how much easier everything is with hosted systems, and how well they can enable staff to collaborate, access files and applications, and continue business as usual, the question has to be asked:

The world is moving to IP telephony in a few years anyway. Why wait any longer to move comms to the cloud as a full-time, LONG TERM solution?

 

How a hosted system can work for you

  •  EASILY MIRROR your company phone system on remote devices
  • ‌‌‌ EFFECTIVELY MANAGE calls to your switchboard / main number
  • ‌‌ ENABLE STAFF to work together as effectively from home as in the office
  • ‌‌ CALL CENTRES quickly get teams up and running remotely
  • ‌‌ FINANCIAL FIRMS meet compliance requirements while working remotely

 

If we can assist you with this change, let us know!

 

 

 

Business Continuity Plans – informal online round table session on Thursday 2nd April at 11am

For years, telecoms companies have been telling businesses about the “ISDN cut-off” in 2025, when ISDN services will be completely withdrawn from service, and encouraging firms to embrace the benefits of IP telephony solutions sooner rather than later.

Hosted VoIP systems in particular offer the flexibility to work from anywhere, on any device; the ability to scale up or down at the click of a mouse; the ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and clients remotely, like any normal day in the office.

All this time, however, making the move to more flexible, lower cost VoIP solutions has remained on the back burner for many companies, with other projects taking priority: “this can wait, we’ll address it in a year or two”.

Everyone thought they had all their bases covered.

Until a few weeks ago.

Business continuity plans that looked robust on paper suddenly revealed cracks. Or in some cases, major holes. For millions of companies all over the world, the last few weeks have been a frantic scramble to implement contingency plans.

For firms already set up on hosted platforms, telling employees to do their jobs from the safety of their homes has, for the most part, been a relatively simple, pain-free process. However, for many of those with more rigid systems in place, it has been a logistical nightmare.

Many companies, even larger organisations, now have their main number diverting to a single staff member’s mobile phone. Or switchboard numbers just ring out, or go to voicemail…

As firms begin to settle in to their new way of working, no matter how effective or appropriate their DR plan is, many CTOs, CIOs and IT Directors will be asking themselves “is the business continuity plan we have in place right now really good enough for the long term? Can we continue operating effectively like this? What if this happens again?”.

DoubleEdge Professional Services will be running a free, informal online round table session on Thursday 2nd April at 11am GMT, answering questions and offering advice to help IT Managers and company directors navigate the current crisis and put fast, effective solutions in place to get back to business as usual. If you would like to join the discussion, please register below or email steve.dourdil@edge-edge.co.uk  for access details.

Thousands of UK firms are struggling to operate normally after sending their staff home. Many larger businesses have switchboard numbers going to voicemail or being forwarded to a single staff member’s mobile, with no way to pass calls through. Many companies are unable to use their existing phone numbers when staff are working remotely.

This becomes an even bigger issue for regulated financial firms whose staff’s calls need to be recorded.

Many employees are unable to collaborate with colleagues or access vital documents and applications. For firms who have been able to provide remote VPN access to all of their staff, some are finding their network just doesn’t have the bandwidth to support the extra traffic.

The list goes on.

What can we do

Do you need a remote working solution – FAST – so staff can continue making and receiving calls as usual, while working remotely?

DoubleEdge can help you get your employees set up to work from home, BY TOMORROW*, and carry on business as usual

  • NO CHANGE to presented phone numbers – continued displaying and receiving calls to existing business numbers
  • MIFID II, FCA COMPLAINT call recording included (optional)
  • NO upfront costs
  • SAME DAY provisioning and connection **
  • NO new hardware needed
  • EASY set up and user experience
  • MOBILE APP and software options
  • NO engineer visits
  • INCLUSIVE UK calls

Please contact us HERE for more info and our T&Cs

**Subject to T&Cs

London, Thursday, 5 March 2020 – Stamford Bridge, London

Always a pleasure to get out of the office, and to see what the Gamma Roadshow has in store. The senior management team of Gamma have been touring the UK over two weeks in February and March. With previous roadshows hosted at a series of unique venues including cinemas, theatres and stately homes, this year’s roadshow was football themed. The ‘Gamma 2020’ roadshow was held at four iconic stadiums; Hampden Park in Glasgow, Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Villa Park in Birmingham and Stamford Bridge in London.

The action packed agenda addressed the latest industry trends and opportunities for the channel to target, an update on Gamma’s ever-expanding UCaaS and Connectivity product portfolio and a panel discussion that explored the future of the Channel and defined where the Channel’s value lies in a digital world.

A great opportunity to meet with industry experts,  get a preview of what’s to come, all the latest trends and what we can add to our services.

As we enter 2020, is it time for you to rethink communications structures within your business?

 One aspect of many businesses, historically split between various providers, is their Voice, Mobile, and Data solutions.

Does it really make sense to have one provider for data, another for voice and another for mobile? The most sensible solution would be to find one provider that can deliver all three to your business.

This aside, the potential complications of juggling multiple vendor contracts, invoices, and service issues, can cause unnecessary headaches…not only that, a single provider can offer significant advantages:

  • Cost Savings
  • Simple Upgrades to Services
  • Network Security
  • Unified Standards
  • One Single, Centralised SLA
  • Faster Issue Resolution

All this contributes to a more efficiently run business and the avoidance of issues within your business communications, which ultimately ensures productivity.

 

The Hard Part

Finding a unified communications vendor who can offer the best solution for you.

DE can manage this, seeking out the best solution to fit your business. We also deliver services around these solutions and offer a smooth, stress-free changeover – click HERE to get in touch with one of our experts.

On Friday, 15th November, DoubleEdge teamed up with Soteria™ to host a breakfast briefing at Searcy’s at the Gherkin. Attendees were invited to join the briefing, focusing on “a single, unified platform for proactive, real-time communications AND Trade Surveillance”.

 

Soteria™ is a compliant multimedia communications software solution that captures, encrypts, stores and surveils data in real-time.

 

With an ever-growing need for companies to remain secure and capture their data safely, whilst ensuring communications efficiencies within their business, such technologies offering a single unified platform, can add significant value. Here is a glimpse of some of the features discussed on Friday:

 

CAPTURE ALL COMMUNICATION & MARKET DATA

Whether electronic, audio, or market data, Soteria™ captures all media in real-time, and securely from the source. Archived data can be ingested from legacy systems to help consolidate operational architecture.

 

GLOBAL & REGIONAL REGULATORY COMPLIANT PAAS

Soteria™ complies with all major financial regulations including SM&CR, MiFIDII, GDPR, MAR and Dodd-Frank, and can be implemented by other governed sectors or Command & Control and Customer Services.

 

SINGLE GLOBAL & HIERARCHICAL VIEW OF ALL DATA

Common tagging of objects is applied at capture across all disparate data sets, enabling a truly single global view of media. Permission Hierarchy Management allows control of individual and group access.

 

If you would like to know more about this, or any DoubleEdge services, please get in touch with one of our experts.

WhatsApp Compliance Monitoring

Continuing to build on their strong presence in the Financial Services arena and the growth of their Communications Compliance portfolio, DoubleEdge have partnered with Telemessage to provide a compliant WhatsApp recording service to financial firms both in the UK and worldwide.

The increasing popularity of WhatsApp among traders, brokers and other regulated individuals has been causing a major headache for Compliance departments. Under MiFID II, Dodd-Frank and SYSC 10A regulations, to name just a few, firms need to ensure that all relevant communications are recorded.

With its end-to-end encryption, however, WhatsApp poses a challenge. And then, for firms with Bring Your Own Device policies, there’s GDPR…how do you record people’s WhatsApp chats on their own personal phones without falling foul of data protection laws?

Some companies, prepared to take the resulting hit on productivity, have simply banned WhatsApp use through policy.

However, Telemessage’s WhatsApp Archiver solves these problems. While it looks and works exactly like the standard WhatsApp application, with the same interfaces and capabilities, it allows all messages to be captured and archived, along with any multimedia communications and attachments. All communications are UTC time-stamped, tamper-proof and easily searchable.

For employees using personal devices, a second number can be used for their enterprise WhatsApp account so that all personal messages remain strictly private, while business WhatsApp communications are all captured and securely archived in accordance with regulatory requirements.

DoubleEdge Managing Director, Steve Burges, states “from conversations with our clients, it’s become increasingly clear that recording WhatsApp for compliance has become a real pain point, particularly among commodities traders and brokers where WhatsApp is proving to be especially popular. This relationship gives us yet another way to help our clients solve their problems and bring more value through innovation.”

Any firms looking for a way to compliantly capture and archive WhatsApp communications can obtain further details and arrange a free trial by contacting DoubleEdge at compliance-solutions@edge-edge.co.uk or calling 020 3869 2442.

Compliance Monitoring Systems – The Need for an Effective, Holistic Surveillance Solution

In a perfect world, compliance monitoring systems would be redundant. Financial regulators would exist solely to define the policies and procedures needed to protect consumers, with compliance departments acting in a purely advisory role to help firms apply these principles according to their own unique requirements and structure.

In this utopia, the process of enforcing these policies would simply be a matter of lending a guiding hand when required. All members of staff, from the most junior clerk to the CEO, would take it upon themselves to adopt and adhere to these principles, working together for the best interests of their clients.

As a result, compliance monitoring systems, surveillance, detection and investigation of misconduct; abuse; crime; or even just the occasional honest slip-up, would barely be required, if at all. And pigs might fly.

While working towards this ideal culture is undoubtedly commendable, the reality is that the roles played by regulators and compliance, risk, governance, monitoring, surveillance and audit teams are becoming increasingly complex and ever more vital.

Even with the best of intentions, humans make mistakes. People have their own agendas and, with the opportunities and pressures inherent in an industry that focuses specifically on managing the flow of vast sums of wealth, some may be tempted to bend or even break the rules.

Or coerce others to do so on their behalf. Fear and greed can both play a part. Some organisations are ineffectively structured and/or badly managed. Some people just act irresponsibly now and then. Digitalisation and globalisation present further challenges. The alarming pace of technological change provides many opportunities for both good…and not so good.

The explosion in the ways that people can now communicate and do business with each other means that strict regulation and enforcement are now more crucial than ever.

With the risk landscape growing more and more complex and new, increasingly granular regulations being continually introduced in an attempt to keep up, compliance departments must also become more sophisticated in the way they conduct eComms surveillance to monitor and control these risks.

Capital Markets Compliance in the “Golden” Age of Communication

Once upon a time, in the early 1990s, things were simpler. Mobile phones looked like bricks and cost a small fortune.

Telephone calls were all made over copper wires, and email and the internet were strictly the territory of academics.

Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg had just started primary school, getting his first lessons in Atari BASIC programming from his Dad.

The closest thing to “Social Media” back then was reading someone else’s newspaper over their shoulder on a crowded train. And the “Cloud” was still just a fluffy white thing in the sky…

Man with comic retro style mobile phone

Compliance monitoring systems essentially consisted of nothing more than document storage, bulky, expensive tape drives and endless reels of tape, with no easy way to locate specific calls and certainly no way to perform any kind of meaningful analysis.

There was no such thing as e-communications surveillance monitoring because, well…e-communications didn’t really exist.

The mass adoption of email over the following years, along with the explosive growth of the internet into the mainstream – fuelled by huge investment in infrastructure to provide superfast data connectivity – signalled the beginning of a massive transformation.

The commoditisation of mobile phones and rapid expansion of GSM networks revolutionised the way people communicate, to the point where there are now over a billion more mobile connections on the planet than there are people.

With the development of smartphones and the rollout of 3G, 4G and now 5G mobile data services, mobile phones have become indispensable to businesses. Unified Communications and cloud computing allow organisations and their employees to work flexibly, from almost anywhere in the world, with constant access to their corporate network and the systems and tools required to carry out their roles.

Communication with colleagues, clients, partners and other third parties now takes place in countless ways, over numerous forms of media – voice calls over fixed lines, dealer boards and mobiles; SMS; video calls; social media; and an ever-growing list of instant messaging applications, from WhatsApp to Yahoo chat, Skype, Bloomberg chat and everything in between.

Great for staying connected with each other, but a potential minefield for Risk and Compliance departments…how do you control risk and ensure your organisation is compliant when you don’t have proper visibility of what your staff are doing?

The Expanding Scope of Regulatory Requirements for Voice, E-Communications and Trade Surveillance Tools

With the adoption of new forms of multimedia communication over the years, regulators have had to expand the scope of existing legislation, and introduce new directives, to attempt to mitigate this risk, particularly in the wake of the 2007/8 financial crisis.

The UK Financial Services Authority’s COBS 11.8 directive in 2009, outlining the parameters of a new regime for the recording of voice and electronic communications, included several important exemptions. Most notably, all conversations and communications (except email) over mobile devices were excluded from the recording requirement.

Discretionary Investment Managers were also able to claim exemption for any communications that could reasonably be expected to be recorded on the other end, i.e. by the entities which were carrying out the execution of transactions.

With the increase in mobile usage and the growth in mobile call recording solutions, the mobile phone exemption was eventually removed in November 2011.

Surveillance in Financial Services

The subsequent introduction of MAR and MiFID II across Europe, and Dodd-Frank in the USA, have significantly widened the scope of monitoring, surveillance, recording and reporting requirements and provided a far more detailed breakdown of firms’ obligations and the compliance monitoring systems they are expected to have in place in order to be meet legal requirements.

Certainly in the UK, and no doubt elsewhere, it has become clear that there is a significant disconnect between what many firms have considered to be “reasonable steps” and the expectations of the regulators.

As a result, the extension of the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR) in December 2019, to include all FCA-regulated bodies, has caused some considerable concern among many firms.

Industry polls taken in June-July 2019 suggest that an overwhelming majority of firms (84.3%) conduct little or no Voice and eCommunications surveillance, many (62%) still have “a lot more” or “everything” still to do to implement SM&CR and most (84%) feel that “internal set-up and culture” are a key challenge.

Considering the level of personal accountability being introduced with the regime, it is no surprise then that firms’ trade surveillance technology and communications compliance monitoring tools are now coming under intense scrutiny.

To put it bluntly, when it’s your own head on the block, you want to make sure it doesn’t get chopped.

The Limitations, Costs and Inherent Risks of Data Silos

The underlying issue for many firms originates from the piecemeal way in which new forms of communications media have emerged over time, and the phased expansion in regulatory requirements associated to monitoring, capturing, storing and analysing communications.

Years of having to adopt different systems for new forms of communications data have led to most organisations (both large and small) eventually finding themselves with a fragmented array of disparate vendor, technology and data silos for the surveillance, capture, storage and analysis of various media types.

For example, on one end of the scale, a small, single-site fund manager might have one system to record landline calls, another to capture mobile calls and SMS, another to capture video calls, and a number of others to capture various forms of instant messaging, with some or all of these media types then being stored in separate repositories.

A global investment bank, on the other hand, might have accumulated dozens of recorders over the years, from multiple vendors, spread across numerous countries, just for capturing fixed line calls. These recordings may also be stored locally within each jurisdiction, creating further silos of data.

The dispersal of companies’ communications data across so many disjointed legacy platforms, and the absence of a single, unified view of the data across each of these silos, is the root of many of the problems that businesses face.

Data silos

Having to work with such a wide range of different systems means firms are not only incurring significant costs (hardware, maintenance, licencing etc.) but are severely limited in their ability to extract any useful information from their data, and are subsequently exposed to very real operational and regulatory risks.

Real-time communications surveillance becomes practically impossible. Any proactive monitoring must be done manually, which is both resource-intensive and ineffective, and leaves firms unable to effectively deal with the volume of false positives often generated by their market surveillance systems. The ability for timely case reconstruction, necessary for Dodd-Frank and MiFID II compliance, is also severely impaired.

If required by regulators to reconstruct a trade within a certain timeframe, many firms would simply be unable to do so. At least, not without spending an arm and a leg on external consultancy fees.

Historically, many might have preferred to just pay the fine – possibly a less attractive option under SM&CR.

The Search for a Holistic Surveillance Solution and The Budgetary Tug-of-War

To address this, most organisations have now recognised the need for a more holistic surveillance solution.

Some of those with deeper pockets are already working with various regulatory compliance software companies to pull together their many systems to form a coherent whole. In general, this has involved deploying a layer of middleware to sit over the top of their myriad legacy systems and provide a central hub.

However, although this does give a more complete view of their data to those firms who can afford it, it is still adding yet another layer of technology and cost, to essentially form a “patchwork of data silos”, as opposed to addressing the root issue itself and breaking down data silos altogether.

In addition, depending on the solution(s) used, firms may still struggle to meet regulatory case reconstruction requirements and deadlines in time; especially if, for example, source data is stored in other countries or is spread across multiple jurisdictions.

For many firms though, budgets and resources are an issue, and taking an expensive and inefficient silo-based approach to compliance monitoring and surveillance is simply not an option.

Even in larger organisations, there is often a tug-of-war between IT and Compliance departments as to whose budget should be used…with the Finance department stuck in the middle.

Using holistic compliance monitoring software for effective market abuse surveillance, however, is now a vital requirement for all firms, and affects all departments.

Integrated unified surveillance

A solution is required that removes cost as an obstacle. A solution which, by eliminating data silos and replacing them instead with a single, unified platform for monitoring, capturing, normalising, storing and instantly recalling all forms of voice and electronic communications and market data, allows firms to reduce costs rather than add to them.

Such a solution would have far-reaching benefits, solving critical problems faced not only by Chief Compliance and Risk Officers, but also by Heads of Technology, Operations and Finance – as well as, ultimately, Chief Executives.

And of course, most importantly, resulting in a better, safer service for end customers. Which is the whole point…right?

The Holy Grail of Compliance Monitoring Software – “What If…?”

Technology and cultural change will always be around, forcing organisations to adapt. Mankind, by our very nature, will always ask “what if?” – forever pushing the boundaries of possibility, until the “impossible” eventually becomes the norm.

The challenges facing regulated firms will continue to evolve constantly. What may appear almost insurmountable now, will eventually become commonplace.

For now, financial institutions need to undergo a significant shift, moving away from the use of layers of legacy compliance monitoring systems and controls to a single, unified, holistic surveillance solution that allows them to meet the challenges of today and the road ahead.

The question is…what if? What if this solution already exists? See https://edge-edge.co.uk/soteria.

Eliminating Data, Vendor & Technology Silos for Effective Communications Compliance Monitoring & Surveillance

The universal challenge facing financial firms, in the face of increasing legislation, stricter controls and harsher penalties for non-compliance, is the dispersal of communications data across numerous disparate “silos”, making it virtually impossible to implement effective measures to proactively counter market abuse in real-time; let alone assemble historic data for case reconstruction in time, if required to do so by the regulators, without incurring fines for late delivery, incomplete records or substantial human resource spend.

These silos are usually a combination of multiple data repositories (which are often geographically dispersed), using multiple vendors and numerous different technologies. All this is currently leaving the vast majority of firms on the back foot when it comes to regulatory compliance – the fact that most firms are still thinking in terms of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Line of “Defence”, provides evidence of this.

With the introduction of SM&CR looming, senior managers of financial firms are now, more than ever, incentivised to address these issues as a matter of urgency.

Our breakfast briefing will delve into these problems, the reasons for their existence…and, crucially, showcase what has so far eluded financial institutions everywhere: a tangible, working, cost-effective solution.

By reducing or eliminating data, vendor and technology silos for the capture, storage, analysis and recall of all forms of multimedia communications, and integrating with existing trade monitoring and market abuse tools, firms can now not only streamline their compliance monitoring and trade reconstruction processes, but also reduce the number of false positives that need to be manually investigated, while at the same time reducing total cost of ownership.

This SaaS solution, SOTERIA, has already been deployed, in its first version, by 10 of the top 12 global Tier One banking institutions and over 180 other financial organisations. Its latest version, following hugely successful launches at the 1LoD summits in London and New York in March-April, is now attracting unprecedented levels of interest from firms of all shapes and sizes, from all over the globe, and has been shortlisted in 11 categories for the RegTech Insight 2019 Awards taking place on the 3rd May.

At our event, firms will have the chance to learn how the SOTERIA platform works, understand its capabilities, see it in action and engage in a Q&A. As well as enjoy a tasty breakfast of course!

For anyone wishing to attend, please register here or contact Steve Dourdil on 020 3869 2442 / steve.dourdil@edge-edge.co.uk.