Consider Ip Telephony From a Disaster Recovery Point of View

By: Guy Yasika

Unplanned downtime-Power Outage, Acts of God, Fire, you can name them small and large but all cost your company revenue. Preparing to recover your voice system can be intimidating and costly until hosted IP PBXs.

Here are some best practices to help your organization meet its Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) as it applies to your Voice applications.

1. Highly Reliable Telecommunication Carrier Infrastructure
Most providers will center their presentations around Disaster Recovery solutions based on what to put on premises for back up and redundancy. This is all in an effort to eliminate single points of failure. Before mitigating single points of failure at your location it is important to assess the resiliency and redundancy of your telecommunication provider's network. Is it redundant? Does it have single points of failure? How many soft switches do they maintain? Are their switches set-up to be geographically diverse? In a properly architected Hosted IP PBX model that is built for redundancy, (multiple switches at many locations with live failover) you can almost assure 100% inbound call capacity.

2. Where is the Call Control (Inside or Outside your building)
If the call control is maintained in the building than imagine the limitations. Someone needs to be in the building, someone needs to call a PBX maintenance person, then the typical two hour call to the local carrier, and then wait until the numbers are re-routed to your desired hot-site.
Lost time means lost revenue and added customer frustration. For many for have experienced this situation in the past it is not too hard to imagine
The ability to maintaining call control out of the building and using a network model as described above can immediately satisfy most of the telecommunications continuity needs. But the real value is giving the company or the IT department maximum control over the telephony infrastructure. With this added control you NEVER miss a call. Allow users to reroute their calls to cells phone, home office numbers, and recovery sites or wherever you choose and most importantly whenever you choose.

3. Component Redundancy.
Vendors will stress this point. While it is critical to have properly architected on-premise redundancy but in regards to telephony, buying twice as much equipment still does not protect failures outside your building. In a well planned hosted model, with the right network architecture, as describe above, will by design mitigated most single points of failure with NO NEED to buy extra hardware eliminating the customer from the responsibility and the cost to secure their infrastructure.

4. Ability to Work Remotely.
If an event precludes workers from working in their usual offices such weather, illness, family issues, or a regionalized disaster. Remote office features allow your employees to work from home comfortably while not incurring extra costs to your company. Your customers will not realize your employees are working from home since they will not change their calling patterns (dialing and receiving calls from the same numbers as they did prior to the disaster). Your managers will also have the ability to monitor what their employees are doing just as if the employee was working from the office (call stasis monitoring, call reporting, etc).

5. Consider This... Two plausible scenarios with a hosted service like Alteva's that will change the impact any disaster has on your business.
Your sales team is the life blood of your company. The T1 goes down to your building and you are told it will take 4 hours to get back up. In a customer premise on-site PBX, the customers dialing your phone number will receive a fast busy signal. However with Alteva this is not the case. With Alteva, your sales team is still getting calls because the call control is not in the building. All calls are being answered by the auto attendant then as your customers enter in their extension they are routed to a cell phone that is simultaneously rung with your staff office phone. Your customer does recognize an outage and your company does not recognize any revenue loss normally associated with a phone outage.

You have a fire in the building and it is a catastrophic fire. You have a lot of work to do to rebuild and get the company back on its feet. Because you have chosen Alteva service, during the fire your calls were still being answered by an auto attendant. You decided to have your calls routed to another number and it happened instantly. Within two days you had your people working from home. Your voicemails were intact, your people were sent new phones and they just plugged into their high speed home connections. Of all things you had to deal with, because you choose well by choosing Alteva, the phones were the least of your headaches.

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