How to make sure you’re backed up
Your phone system is the heart of your company’s infrastructure. It connects you with your clients and suppliers, and also gives your employees a way to stay in touch. Communication is key in business, and your phone system is what keeps everything running like clockwork. But have you ever wondered what you would do without it? What would the flow on effect be if your system stopped working for a few hours or worse -a few days? Unfortunately it’s a possibility that you might experience damage, a fault or loss of service one day. That means no phone system. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make sure you always have something to fall back on.
Redundancy and Business Continuity
Redundancy simply means that you have a backup plan for when your existing phone system fails. It’s more than likely that there are other areas in your business where you have a redundancy plan in place, such as backing up important documents by saving in different locations or creating a hard copy.
Being one of the most crucial aspects of your business, your phone system needs a backup plan, too. With some foresight and planning, you can ensure that in the event of an emergency or system failure, you will not lose this crucial communication tool.
There are a few other redundancy options available.
Option One: Built in Redundancy and Call Continuity
Many providers now offer VoIP and SIP phone services that will automatically redirect your incoming calls to designated devices. When your internet services fails, your employees can still receive incoming business calls on any other mobile device or phone number.
Many of these services will also make the call features that are normally used on your system handsets accessible via the mobile device to which the call has been forwarded. That also includes the company voicemail messages, which will be activated instead of the personal message on the device.
Option Two: The Mirrored System
This option would mean purchasing and maintaining a second, ‘twin’ PBX system that is identical to your main system. It would need to be installed, maintained and paid for in the same way as your existing service. Also, you’ll need it in working order in case of damage, an emergency or system failure occurs.
Having an entirely separate, second phone system with the same installation, hardware and maintenance costs can be expensive. When you do need it to come to the rescue, you could find that these expenses may be entirely worth it. However, there is another option available for redundancy.
Option Three: A Shared System
You can avoid the cost of purchasing and maintaining an entirely separate system by sharing the load with other companies. In this case, the cost of a second system would be divided between those who will share it. When the time comes, it can be used by whichever company experiences a failure in their existing system.
The chances that one or more company will use of the shared redundancy service at the same time is minimal, so the shared option carries a low risk.
Option Four: A Separate Internet Connection
When it comes to using a VoIP or SIP service to manage your business phone system, it all comes down to your internet connection. Having an alternate service that’s available for backup is another redundancy option.
Many businesses are opting to have a second data connection, delivered in a different form to the first. This ensures that they’ll always have an internet service available for their phone system, should a failure occur. You can gain call continuity in the event of a system failure by having a backup wireless or ethernet connection. There’s also the option to have your second service with a different provider to the first. That way, you can simply disconnect your phone system from the failed service and connect it to the backup service.
Our preferred carrier partner, SpringCom, offers a lot of information about the different types of internet on their website, from ADSL and NBN, to mobile and fixed line options. It’s worth a look; just knowing what your options are can help you make the redundancy decision a little easier.
A Note on Dedicated Services
Generally, though, we will suggest to our clients that they have a dedicated data service for their SIP service, anyway. That’s because a phone system that has to share data with general office internet can become a phone service that experience interruptions. Even a millisecond can cause a whole lot of frustration for both you AND whoever you are communicating with. A separate service means other heavy internet use will never interrupt your phone call. You could have this service delivered in a different form to your internet service, or by a separate provider. Read more about Quality of Service.
Making The Choice For Your Business
In the past, some businesses have opted out of a VoIP or SIP service because of the fear of redundancy. They’d now be missing out on a massive amount of benefits for the sake of a problem that can be easily solved.
With the options listed above, there are ways to guarantee the continuity of your phone service in the face of disaster. Remember that a few hours or even a day without your phone service could be disasterous for your company. Act sooner rather than later in making the decision about how your business is going to avoid it.