Internationally many businesses have implemented Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as an alternative to the traditional plain old telephone system (POTS). The increased functionality of VoIP offers many benefits, including the enhancement of a client’s shopping experience, effective utilisation of staff, and possible cost savings. Business management may be able to gain a competitive advantage by utilising the advantages that VoIP holds, but there are a number of risks to be considered and mitigated. Managing these risks is ultimately management’s responsibility. Risks include amongst others eavesdropping or hijacking of calls, and balancing quality of service with security control implementation and costs. This article investigates the use of VoIP compared to POTS as a communications tool in the South African business environment. The article includes a literature review of the topic, an explanation of the basic concept of VoIP, and the identification of major advantages and risks. The article aims to provide management with insight into what VoIP is what possible benefits it could hold for their business, and what the risks are. It is hoped that this article will serve as a tool in the decision-making process by consolidating data that is currently available.
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