What is e911?

E911 Compliant is a topic that has generated quite a few inquiries. 17 states have passed E911 legislation. According to MiCTA, Michigan will follow in January 1, 2012. This legislation applies to all businesses over 40,000 square feet, or if you have multiple buildings, regardless of the telephone technology currently in use within your organization. What does it mean to be compliant and how is compliance obtained?
The legislation, specifics obtained from MiCTA, requires all businesses that operate a multi-line telephone system inside one or multiple buildings, buildings that share a single address, or are more than 40,000 sq ft in size, install all necessary equipment and software to provide building, floor, and room number info to their local PSAP (public safety answering point) that can localize a 911 caller to an area no greater than 7000 square feet.
The question everyone is asking is how do businesses accomplish this? The first thing to keep in mind is that Plain Old Telephone Lines (POTs) can no longer reasonably be used to dial 911 and comply with the law. Upgrading to either an ISDN PRI or SIP Trunks and implementing Direct Inward Dialing (DID) numbers for each extension will be required. This technology works by attaching the detailed location information to the DID number within your carrier’s network. Contact your carrier for specific details on how to input the necessary location detail. When a 911 call is placed your E911 compliant telephone system will push the DID number you have assigned to that specific extension out to your carrier. Your carrier then relays your address information, in addition to the more detailed E911 floor number and the wing location over to the 911 call center. The dispatcher can then dispatch emergency service to your approximate location. Note: Please check with your telephone system manufacture for E911 compliance. Many businesses will find they are not compliant.
As with many compliance issues, no central authority exists for establishing uniform standards. Multi-site companies need to understand the law for each locality that they have buildings/employees and comply with that law. Don’t forget about those remote IP Phones many employees have in their homes!
To further discuss this issue or if there is a technology issue you would like more information on please feel free to call or send me an email.

Craig Hodges




Be Smart When Using Your Smart Phone

The benefits of smart phones, tablets, and laptops are tremendous.  They have made our daily activities easier and our work more efficient.  We have access to data and the ability to work from anywhere at any time with lower operating cost while providing our customers quicker response times.    But this mobility comes at a potential cost.  The cost is not merely limited to losing or breaking the device but, more importantly, giving an unintended party a wealth of information about our lives, both personal and professional.

Think back over the day and what you have used your smart phone for.  You may have sent an email, logged into your calendar to check an appointment time, logged into your company CRM to check the status of part, checked the balance in your bank account, or used a mobile app to purchase an item. Are any of these sites preconfigured for easy login?

With the ability of our smart phones to do so much we need to be smart about security and to treat our mobile phone like our computer when it comes to security.  A recent poll showed 67% of smart phone users don’t use the screen lock pass code.  This statistic included me until I attended a webinar about mobile device security.

Here are some basic security tips.  Lock your phone with a pass code and when entering the code shield the numbers.  Due to financial incentives, mobile malware is on the rise so do regular software updates.  Don’t click on unsolicited links, use care when downloading apps, don’t jail break a phone and encrypt sensitive data.  If you access your bank account or even Facebook from your phone don’t have these sites preconfigured for easy login.

Assessing social media sites from your smart phone can pose a personal security problem.  Twitter and Foursquare are fun and beneficial.  Someone may Tweet about the newest restaurant or a restaurant that is running a lunch special.  You check in with Foursquare while in line at the local coffee shop and the competitor across the street sends you a coupon.  But the risk can outweigh the benefit.  Relay your Foursquare location to your public Twitter account and you just told the world where you are and that you are not at home.  Don’t have that many followers?  Check out pleaserobme.com  to find out how your information is accessed.

Follow your company’s security policy if you use a company issued phone.   From a personal security standpoint it is impossible to be aware of your surroundings if you are texting or talking on the phone in public.  Also, prevent the incentive to break into your vehicle by not leaving devices visible.

The bottom line is be smart when using your smart phone.

Craig Hodges