Dead in the Water - Cisco 504G IP Phone

Business Continuity: Overcoming Internet and Power Outages

Business Continuity

As a small business owner it is critical to have backup plans for key areas of our businesses, such as our business data and communications.  Let’s face it, outages occur. Trucks hit power poles, trees/limbs take down aerial cables, and as we’ve seen all to often recently, damaging weather takes out communications as well.  With an increasing trend toward voice over IP (VoIP) and communications hosted in the cloud, it is now necessary to think about how you will operate in the event of an internet outage  in addition to power outages. How your business continues to operate amongst such outages is known as business continuity. Fortunately, there are new technologies that can help take the load off of you.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is a term used to describe the action taken to restore communications in the event of a major disaster.  While most people think of severe weather (tornadoes, etc.) when thinking of disasters, it could just as easily be an office building flood, fire, etc. The recovery from such a disaster needs to be planned out, if not put into writing. Some important questions to consider: [checklist icon=”asterik” iconcolor=”” circle=”no”]

  • Will you keep a secondary system cabinet on site to setup at a disaster recovery site?
  • Can your main line calls be routed elsewhere?
  • If so, will you need to contact your service provider to administer this?
  • How long will it take to restore calls to my primary location?

At first glance, this may seem like a daunting task. However, there are many features built into hosted (a.k.a. cloud-based) offerings that free you to worry about other things when an outage occurs.

[separator top=”40″ style=”single”]

Automatic Failover

Automatic failover is a technology whereby a hosted PBX or SIP trunking (VoIP) customer can designate a number to route calls to in the event there is an internet failure.  The benefit is that it’s automatic.  Every 30-60 seconds the remote switch and your end user hardware talk to each other.  The end user equipment is sent a message from the switch to see if it’s still reachable.  If so, calls are delivered as usual.  However, if the equipment cannot be reached due to a power or internet outage, the switch takes a “not reachable” action that you define, which may include: [checklist icon=”asterik” iconcolor=”#f6f6f6″ circle=”no”]

  • Forwarding calls to a mobile phone
  • Routing calls to a branch location
  • Sending calls to an automated attendant
  • Sending calls to a voicemail box
[/checklist] Your callers will still be able to reach you, even when your office phones are down. Another great thing about this type of service is when the power or internet outage is restored, your call routing reverts back to normal, requiring no input on your part.  One less thing to worry about.