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Communications In the Cloud Blog

5 Ways to Make VoIP Part of Your Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Plan

August 7, 2018

Any technical outage puts a significant dent in an organization’s productivity, whether network downtime makes it impossible to access critical software applications or a disconnected phone system prevents employees from helping clients. Gartner Research estimates that American businesses typically lose $5,600 for every minute of downtime, depending on characteristics such as the industry they are in and their risk tolerance. This equals an average of well over $300K per hour — an expense that most companies cannot afford. Although some disasters and the resulting outages cannot be prevented, it is critically important to shield businesses from disruptions and get services back up and running ASAP.

Hosted VoIP phone systems are becoming increasingly common due to the significant benefits they provide, including the low amount of space and hardware they require, low startup costs, as well as their flexibility and scalability. But they are not immune to service interruptions and factoring them into your Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan can go a long way in protecting your operations and productivity.

Below are 5 tips to help you plan ahead and minimize the effects of outages on your voice communications and business.

Invest in Backup Connections to Support Your VoIP Service

VoIP Phone Systems rely on internet connections to function, so if your internet service is interrupted by severe weather, voice communications are disabled along with it, freezing your staff’s ability to connect with clients, vendors, partners and their teams. Investing in a second Internet connection from a different ISP (Internet Service Provider) ensures your phone system stays functional even when your primary connection is out of service.

Deploy SD-WAN for Reliable Network Service and Seamless Failover

While backup connections are a great way to ensure business continuity in times of trouble, they do remain unused most of the time, making many organizations reluctant to invest in one. SD-WAN Technology solves this problem by enabling your multiple Internet connections to function as one unified system. Its intelligent software automatically reroutes your traffic to the best available connection when one of your ISPs is experiencing downtime, and aggregates bandwidth to provide you with fast voice and data transfers during network uptime. SD-WAN can be fine-tuned to prioritize workflows important for your business, such as your VoIP phone system, and its seamless failover capabilities prevent any disruptions in calls when traffic is rerouted. SD-WAN technology ensures that your VoIP service stays reliable at all times and allows you to make the most of your Internet circuits both during outages and when service is steady.

Empower Your Staff to Go Mobile

When disasters such as fires, floods or storms render your offices unsafe, your business needs a fast solution to return to normal operations and minimize the financial losses associated with inactivity. A mobile-ready VoIP solution provides your team with desktop and mobile applications that enable them to continue working from anywhere, whether that’s their home or a new temporary office location. Desktop and mobile apps connected to your phone system give your employees access to the same extension and features that are available on their desk phones, ensuring they can stay productive and professional from any device.

Plan for Data Backup and Recovery

Most hosted VoIP providers include backup and disaster recovery into their service. But it is important to ask them the right questions and assess the level of protection they offer to ensure that your cloud phone system is shielded and can be restored fast after unexpected events.

  • Are your system settings, call data and contacts backed up and ready to retrieve after a disaster?
  • Is your system and information stored redundantly in geographically disparate data centers?
  • How long will it take to restore services after a storm, electrical outage or flood?

The right answers can provide you with peace of mind and save you the cost and hassle of in-house recovery or third-party backup/recovery firms.

Customize Your Business Continuity Plans

While your hosted phone system provider can take most of the burden of recovery off of your shoulders, your business may need additional measures to ensure it can stay open and productive during unexpected events. Work with your VoIP provider during installation or disaster preparedness planning to send your voice traffic to an answering service when one of your offices is down, or redirect client calls to an available location. With VoIP technology, automatic failover protections are easy to set up, and pre-established routing policies can take effect as soon as the first call cannot be completed.  A good hosted voice provider will patiently and attentively work with you to ensure that your system settings and routing protocols are fine-tuned to your business and its continuity plans.

Unexpected events, such as electrical outages, storms or fires can take your phone system down in a matter of seconds, costing your business thousands of dollars in lost revenue. But a well-thought-out plan can go a long way in protecting your company from downtime and restoring your service fast after a disruption.

S-NET’s VoIP Cloud Phone Systems come with built-in Disaster Recovery to ensure that our clients enjoy the best possible voice communications service at all times. Our VoIP solutions include mobility services to keep your workforce productive. We offer enterprise-grade connections and SD-WAN so that your business stays up and running at all times. Customer onboarding begins with an in-depth discovery process and we ensure that all your system settings and recovery plans are customized to your unique business needs.

If you want to protect your business with a Disaster Preparedness and Recovery plan, give us a call, we’d be happy to help.

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