VoIP has been implemented in many businesses because of its cost-effective ways, easy setup and features. It is one of the top five expenses in a business. Yet it’s not uncommon for many companies to have little or no provisioning for their voice systems when there is a disruption. A failure in the phone system could be detrimental to a company it could mean loss of customers, loss in revenue, important information received etc. A plan for data backup and restoration of electronic information is essential. It’s hard to understand why businesses forget about voice when it comes to disaster recovery.
Virtually all VoIP system manufactures, and most distributors have disaster recovery programs that deal with disasters. Unfortunately, these disaster recovery services are different from normal contract activities and it may be an additional cost to your bill.
Do not rush through the process of selecting a VoIP Provider. First, define your fault tolerance and according to that find out all the details about security and guaranteed. Be sure in asking the company you will go with if they do in fact have a DRP program in case of disaster. Also, investigate in adding a third-party firm that specializes in the backup/recovery of voice communications systems.
If you have your own VoIP deployment, then you need to create your own disaster recovery plans. The backup option could be a mirrored PBX system in the cloud or a hybrid deployment. The bottom line is that you need another option if disaster strikes your office. Gladly for everyone, OKay can help you on this.
Make a Plan in case of an Outage
Planning for disaster recovery is a process and has several steps. The steps can include project initiation, risk assessment, business impact analysis, strategy development, plan development, plan exercising and maintenance. To make the process easier people seek out disaster recovery software’s, checklists or consultants. Each option can help build a plan, but these tools are used to get something done quickly. However, they also may not be optimized specifically for voice communications.
Voice systems have their own attributes, especially older systems that operate independently from data networks and the internet. There is a risk in that the VoIP systems often utilize existing data network infrastructures and if those internal networks fail, the VoIP system may also fail.
You will want to take the process seriously if voice communications are essential to your business, you can protect your investment from unplanned events that could disrupt phone service operations by creating a plan. The basic is you want to have the right information and that information should be current and accurate in case of emergency. It’s a good idea to share your plans with your vendors so that they can add their input.
Backup for Internet Connectivity
Another aspect to think about in your DRP is that VoIP phones require the Internet to work. Do you have a second line to switch over if the primary one fails? What happens if your ISP goes down? Some organizations prefer to have a second line from a different ISP for this exact scenario. You should be able to continue working even if the Internet goes down for an extended period of time.
There are many options, some of them are:
- two links from different vendors (DSL or Cable)
- one link from a vendor (DSL or Cable) and another wireless link (3G/4G)
- one link from a vendor and a POTS line
The right configuration depends on your downtime tolerance and your budget.
Make Use of VoIP Monitoring Services
Do not implement a disaster recovery solution unless you have already put a third-party VoIP monitoring service in place. One of the crucial elements of disaster recovery is a notification system. How do you know when to kick your backup plans into action? VoIP monitoring systems can help with that. This service checks the status of the phone systems. It determines if there are network issues that affect the phone systems and provides you with the opportunity to resolve them in a timely manner. If you have any questions about using such monitoring systems, our IT support team can help. You can use OKay's Server Management Service which includes monitoring on your servers. This way, if we detect your VoIP deployment is down, we can trigger some commands and send you a warning about it.
Another option to help ensure your telecom system is operational after a disaster would be to take advantage of collocation services. These types of setups make sense for larger businesses with multiple locations and allow a company to centralize its systems and connect from anywhere in the world. For added redundancy, you should consider having circuits in place from more than one carrier. Though both carriers may be impacted by a regional disaster, during normal times it is unlikely that both carriers would have a simultaneous outage, giving you added protection from a carrier-based outage. Again, we can help you with this. OKay's load balanced VoIP Clusters is your option if this is your scenario.
To finish you should talk to your vendor and see what plans they have to recover from a disaster. After all, you’re depending on their ability to provide phone services to get you through a crisis. Suppose your vendor has 4 data centers. Are they all in the same location or state? Some disasters can strike a large area, so this might be a risk.
What happens if one of the data centers loses power? Are calls automatically routed to the others? How quickly can they notify you when something goes wrong? You need the answers to all these questions before a crisis happens. Not all vendors know how to manage disaster recovery. Make sure your provider is prepared as well as you are!
Contact us if you are interested in a VoIP DRP solution, we are confident we can come with something within your budget and your risk tolerance.