There are many advantages to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, but no system can be completely protected against power outages or Internet connectivity issues. However, there are ways to help reduce the time and productivity lost if the system goes down. Following are six steps to protecting business continuity.
1. Have a Backup Plan
If the power goes out, the best solution for maintaining business continuity is to have a backup battery. Small businesses can likely get away with a relatively low-power uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that will keep things running until the outage is over. Large businesses should consider what switches and routers need power, and find a balance between keeping cost low and spending more on a high quality UPS that will switch to battery backup faster.
2. Have Hot Spares Ready
With the reduced prices for VoIP systems, more businesses can now afford hot spares as a failover mechanism in order to protect business continuity. While it isn't cost-effective to have hot spares for every single router, phone system, or switch, businesses can analyze their VoIP chain and place hot spares at the spots where they'll be most beneficial.
3. Keep an On-Premise System
Companies that can't risk their business continuity for even a moment can choose to have an on-premise VoIP system rather than a hosted system. However, this means more cost all around: in gear, hardware, and an IT team who can maintain the system. If a business can afford it or already has the IT team, it may make more sense to have an on-premise system that can instantly switch over to a public switched telephone network (PSTN), instead of having to rely on a third party.
4. Maintain a PSTN
A PSTN should always be maintained as a failover in the event of an outage. VoIP gateways connect the VoIP system to the PSTN and when the network goes down, incoming and outgoing calls are automatically converted into an analog signal. Although nothing can ever be completely fail-proof, a PSTN is still one of the most reliable physical networks available today.
5. Minimize Damages With a Strong SLA
The service level agreement (SLA) is one of the most important parts of a hosted VoIP system. It can't stop a power outage or prevent connectivity issues, but it can offer a time frame for repairs and state in writing the provider's guaranteed uptime. If nothing else, an SLA will lay out when a business should receive credit for downtime.
6. Use Multiple Providers
Even before an outage, businesses should be thinking about possible problems when purchasing from vendors. Businesses can build a system that takes advantage of multiple services — so if one provider is having issues, the system can be switched over to a provider that isn't.
Protecting business continuity is a top priority for most businesses, and while there's no way to prevent events like storms knocking out the power, there are ways to keep downtime to a minimum. By following these six steps, businesses will reduce losses no matter what the outage. For more information on protecting business continuity, contact Enterprise Visions today.