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If you’re thinking of getting a virtual number for business, you will come across free virtual phone numbers. The fact that they’re free is enough for ordinary users to opt for them. But there are certain security considerations you should keep in mind if you plan to use a free virtual phone number for your business.
In this article, we explain what virtual numbers are, whether they’re safe and what you should know about their security risks.
Also called a cloud phone or softphone, a virtual number is a number that’s linked to an account and not a location. Using VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol technology, virtual phone numbers allow you to place calls using internet connections.
Virtual numbers provide several benefits to businesses. Since they can work on any connected device, businesses can save money they would have spent on devices. Virtual numbers also connect remote and hybrid teams with ease.
Digitalisation has created free versions of almost all products and services. From email to private networks for secure browsing, you can always find a free version of a digital product. Similarly, there are free virtual phone numbers popular with ordinary users.
Google Voice is one of the most popular free virtual phone numbers that use VoIP technology. In certain markets, users can get a free number that allows them to make domestic calls without any charges.
Skype, FaceTime Audio and WhatsApp also enable people to make and receive calls over the internet. But these allow internet telephony only within their networks.
You can use a free virtual phone number for business. But it’s important to remember that free virtual phone numbers do not come with tools to help optimise your business communication.
A good business phone system should make your business look professional and credible. For that, you need voicemail, auto-reply, contact organisation, enhanced messaging capabilities and other marketing features.
Free virtual phone numbers won’t give you all these tools. Plus, they come with unreliable customer support. If you face any interruption to your service, your only resort is online forums.
In short, yes. Virtual phone numbers are safer than conventional analogue telephone lines. If you plan to use it for regular calls and messages, it shouldn’t bother you that much. But to best use a virtual phone number for business, you should be aware of the security risks that affect all digital products including virtual phones.
To begin with, do your due diligence. When you compare top-rated virtual phone numbers, pay attention to the provider’s security certificates. Do an online search and look out for any security breaches – especially for businesses – and for news of any systemic hacking.
If a provider offers a free virtual phone number, you have to wonder about their security protocol. Would free virtual numbers have the same security architecture as those developed with additional functionalities?
More importantly, as a business, do you want to take that risk? Do you want to put your financial data and customer information on a security architecture from a free service provider?
Your phone number can be used by scammers, which will affect your privacy and security. This is another reason to use a dedicated number for work. Virtual phone numbers can also be used for phone scams. But there are certain measures you can take to improve your virtual phone number’s security.
Make sure that you and your team use secure passwords for your virtual phone systems. These should be frequently updated. Access to your system should only be given after authorisation. Employees who leave should be mandated to hand over their security credentials and be removed from the system.
You should also conduct regular system updates and install antivirus software. If necessary, invest in an enterprise-level VPN service. Multi-factor authentication is another way to increase the security of your virtual phone system.
It’s easy to get a virtual phone number for business with Chalkboard. Download the app and you can get your new dedicated number for work, which means that you don’t have to share your personal number with your customers and business associates.
But more importantly, unlike free virtual phone numbers, Chalkboard is built for business use. The app organises your business and personal contacts, which will make it easy to search for their communication. You also get broadcast SMS to connect with multiple customers in one go.
With enhanced messaging features, you can talk to your customers like friends and build long-term relationships. Auto-reply allows you to respond to missed calls and keep the conversation going. You can also share your phone number with your team members to improve internal collaboration and customer service.
An in-depth guide for business owners looking for more information about virtual phone numbers