Thinking of switching your business to VoIP?

I was a somewhat late proponent of VoIP telephony, despite the growing interest in the technology, and I hesitated to include it in our services portfolio. While the allure of significant cost savings combined with some useful and (admittedly cool) features, we still had zero tolerance for poor call quality.


Not too many years ago, I received an important call from a partner using his firm’s shiny new VoIP phone.  After two torturous moments, he told me that he was going to call me right back from his cell phone so that we could hear each other. That experience validated my prevailing VoIP opinion. 

Working with a demanding clientele, my hesitation also stemmed from the fear that if one of our clients had a poor call quality experience while speaking with an investor, that it would mean my head prominently displayed on a pike in Central Park. 

If you think about it, VoIP, in its purest sense, lets you communicate over the Internet (the “IP” in “VoIP”). This is great until you begin to think about the variability in your general web browsing experiences and you get an idea of the performance risks involved.  Hybrid technologies came into play that combined the best of both worlds utilizing VoIP with standard switched technology and often proprietary tech.  The experience was quickly improving.

In the post 2008 environment, interest in VoIP gained further traction, not so much due to the tech, but as a means of reducing operating expenses.  Fortunately, the voice quality associated with select, properly implemented VoIP systems had improved to the point that voice quality had reached acceptable levels, but there was still room for improvement.

While not really needing any more convincing, there was one last element to consider beyond call quality and feature sets – ease of implementation and support. 

Last month, we had two clients relocating offices over the same weekend.  In addition to relocating major on-premise network infrastructure, we were also putting new VoIP systems in place. Now, a relocation is not necessarily the ideal time to introduce major changes, voice or otherwise, however the ease with which we were able to get these new systems implemented to the client’s exacting specifications, was simply astounding – particularly when compared to traditional phone system roll-outs.

Beyond exceptional call quality, VoIP’s long running promise of substantial cost savings were immediately recognized.  All in all, these redundantly configured systems not only brought increased functionality, but in this case they did so with a 50% reduction in monthly telephony costs.

As an aside, that Monday was business as usual with all IT systems running beautifully. In their post-relo feedback, both firms specifically singled out their pleasure with the new VoIP implementations.

Learn more about our preferred VoIP system here.

Act fast in a ransomware attack

Our Founder Bruce Leibstone gives some insight to IA Watch on the importance of swift action when you find yourself under ransomware attack.


Final part of a series: Time matters if your firm finds itself under a ransomware attack

Bruce Leibstone lives cybersecurity, so when he received an e-mail recently from Verizon alerting him that there was urgency that he click a link and …


Read the full article from IA Watch Weekly Briefing: February 6, 2017*

*With permission from Regulatory Compliance Watch (844)421-6333


Cloud-Delivered Network Security

cloud security

Some of the solutions presented to advisors to address cybersecurity were, from a budgetary perspective, terrifying.  A sophisticated platform capable of prevention and proper reporting could easily run into six figures – a figure not typically in the cards for an RIA with twenty-five employees.

Warren searched and evaluated many solutions that could be easily implemented and supported, however in this case, one of our most important criteria was that the solution be inexpensive enough that the purchase required little to no thought.

Enter Cisco Umbrella, previously known as OpenDNS.  Umbrella is a cloud-based security solution that detects advanced attacks and blocks malware, botnets, and phishing.  And, it does this for a surprisingly affordable monthly subscription.

Umbrella is not like traditional antivirus software that reacts to known threats, but instead uses predictive intelligence to proactively protect your business.

We encourage you to dig a little deeper and let us know if we can be of assistance in helping you address your cybersecurity needs.

Learn more about Cloud Security from Cisco Umbrella here.

Please don’t fire me because I unleashed a ransomware attack!


By now we have all been well immersed in the importance of cybersecurity.  The initial emphasis on technology itself was much needed as it introduced many advisors to best practices on topics like perimeter security and mobile device management.  As an IT provider, we welcomed the additional attention on the subject matter as the SEC provided us with a re-focused captive audience.  Okay, “welcomed” may be a bit of an overstatement.

As we reviewed more systems, we were pleased to find that the vast majority of recommended changes came at no cost to the advisor and merely required that policies and procedures be revised to reflect the new world order.

The area often overlooked was in the creation and communication of a corporate culture whereby anyone triggering a malware attack could comfortably come forward and blow the whistle on themselves knowing that they would still be employed and that they did the right thing in immediately bringing the breach to management’s attention.  Embarrassed, but employed.

There’s no use hiding. At the end of the day, your IT people will identify the origin of the attack anyway, so come clean knowing that you’ll still be going to work the next day and that your lack of hesitation will have been the first critical step towards a successful remediation.