3CX is not a Free Communications Tool. Here’s why.Grant Maye
The communications market is awash with free solutions. Others are offered at exorbitant prices. Yet at both ends of the spectrum, it’s doubtful that anyone anticipated the COVID-19 outbreak and the impact it has had on demand for remote communication tools around the world.
Many businesses who were ill-equipped for remote work have had to make a snap decision and choose a communications solution in the midst of panic. The immediacy of the change left little time for research. As a consequence, many have turned to free solutions to bridge the gap. After all; a free platform won’t impact already wounded business finances and they are available instantly, which is a major draw. Lost in the rush, these buyers have forgotten a sacred rule in business, “If the product is free, then the product is YOU.”
As communications experts, it’s our job to highlight the possible security risks of such platforms and explain the difference between them and 3CX.
Are free communications tools secure?
The problem with many free solutions is the security risk they pose. Contrary to what marketers may tell you, there are few miracles in the telecoms industry. Developing secure solutions incurs costs. These costs need to be passed on to consumers in order to remain profitable. Seems simple, right?
Well in the case of a free system, no costs are passed on to the consumer. However, wages still need to be paid, offices maintained and marketing campaigns activated. This can mean one of two things. Either the funding is raised through other means (advertising being a prime example) or development time is reduced in order to keep costs as low as possible.
Take Zoom® for an example. In past weeks multiple stories of data leaks, illegitimate call routing and hack attempts have surfaced in the global media, with some zoom callers being shown distressing and illegal video footage by successful hackers. Other stories relate to hackers entering the conference and taking screenshots of confidential material. Both are causing many to question the security of their data and of their employees. On paper, the free version of the software is comprehensive enough to meet the needs of an SME or even a larger enterprise but it’s important to consider the impact of losing data for your clients’ businesses. Ultimately, the impact of a hack and of intelligence theft could cost far more than the cost of a secure, enterprise-grade UCaaS solution. The world is now responding, with many organizations banning free video conferencing software from employees’ devices.
3CX – Secure by Design
3CX is always putting the security of their system first, so whether they’re introducing new features to the PBX or enhancing their WebMeeting platform, you can be confident that your customers’ data is in safe hands. Here are some just examples of security features we’ve implemented:
PBX server security
- The system randomly generates all system passwords, with minimum mandatory characters
- Calls from the clients and mobile apps are encrypted via HTTPS / DTLS / WebRTC
- Calls abroad can be blocked from the management console by de-authorizing international codes (depending on office hours, via PIN, etc)Malicious IP addresses are automatically blacklisted
- Global blacklist reports malicious IPs to our database and blocks them for all PBXs using the feature
Web conference via Web Meeting
- Access to the Web Meeting portal is via HTTPS only and secured by a certificate of trust
- Users access without downloading an application so there is no need to communicate email addresses and other confidential data
- Media streams are transmitted via WebRTC, which is secure and encrypted using DTLS and SRTP
- Media streams are managed by the nearest MCU server, by default
- When a session is recorded, an email with the link is sent to the organizer- the link has a lifespan of 7 days after which the data is completely deleted from our server
But hang on- 3CX is free for 3 Years?
We see how this could be a little confusing! As this article’s title suggests, 3CX is NOT a free communications solution, it’s just temporarily joining the ranks. The UCaaS platform we offer is robust, secure and loaded with enterprise-grade features. A painstaking amount of development time goes into each release and on a permanent basis, we couldn’t offer it for free. To remain profitable, we need to pass our development costs onto consumers.
However, in light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, we know that businesses around the world are struggling financially. To enable you, our partners, to support businesses affected in your local area, we decided to waive the cost of our standard licenses for three years. The offer is only available to 3CX customers whilst the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing. Once the situation is contained, we will be re-examining our promotions in line with current economic circumstances.
The same concept applies to the free 8sc call standard license. We want to make a professional solution accessible to SMEs or start-ups that have reduced budgets, without compromising in terms of security features. We know that these smaller companies will grow over time and they might then require our paid pro and enterprise licenses, so it’s an investment we’re willing to make.
What should I be doing?
There’s no escaping the influence price has on budget holders investing in new communications systems. Nevertheless, as a reseller and trusted advisor of your clients, you should be educating both current customers and new prospects on the dangers of free software (communications and otherwise). You can also set the record straight- and explain how 3CX is different.