In the face of natural disasters and emergencies, users should evaluate their VoIP phone systems to ensure optimum functionality during any situation. Sure, there are a number of backup power supplies and auxiliary methods readily available, but would they be enough to maintain the quality performance of your system during unexpected circumstances? Would they even be enough to power your system(s)? Chances are that your VoIP system is not disaster proof—its okay, nothing really is; however, in light of recent disasters, many providers have begun to offer users a number of tools to help better prepare systems for any circumstance. It is ultimately up to the user to fit your system with the best alternatives and options. Though it may sound tricky, disaster preparation can be boiled down to a few steps.
First off, users should consider a number of circumstances when selecting their VoIP solution, one being emergency conditions. Though many solutions can be affected, and thusly have alternatives, users should look for a quality and scalable solution that optimizes emergency readiness. For example, the Hosted PBX solution is generally unaffected by disasters. As hardware is not kept on site, in the event of a natural disaster, users can access and activate their service from another location as all calls and numbers will be forwarded/routed to the new location. Even if users cannot make this move quick enough, the hosted solution still allows calls to be sent to the voicemail system, where users can access messages at a later date.
While the Hosted PBX solution offers auxiliary function, not all users want a Hosted system. So, in choosing any solution, users should always look for redundancy. Redundancy prevents the complete collapse and failure of service(s) by diverting data through an alternative route when the main route is unavailable or damaged. While a hosted solution typically does this fastest, other solutions offer this mode as well. In the same vein, users should also look for a provider that offers load balance—which routes calls over other networks to ensure they reach their intended receiver. Without load balance, networks can get overwhelmed by the volume of data even without any extenuating circumstances. Therefore, load balance is something users should look for even outside of emergencies, as it can also be helpful in ensuring quality during peak traffic times.
Aside from selecting providers with built-in auxiliaries, users that already implore a service should consider utilizing both VoIP and traditional landlines. In doing this, users are not completely reliant on VoIP and the internet. In using a DSL or Cable connection in addition to VoIP systems, users won’t lose their service if the Internet (or power) goes out. To do this, you may want to consider seeking out a relationship with a third party provider to ensure the proper steps have been taken for additional backup. Though traditional lines can be a helpful tool, users should keep in mind turnover time. While losing VoIP capability during any emergency or disaster may seem intimidating, fail over time is much quicker with VoIP as IP technology redirects network traffic much faster than traditional phone systems.
While each of the above options is useful in disaster proofing your system(s), one of the most beneficial steps users can take is learning their system extensively. Users should consistently engage their systems (regulate, moderate, and manage) closely. In doing this, users will be able to better gage how your system will react in the event of an emergency. Also, you will be in a better position to initiate a plan of action of how to remedy the problem. Aside from preemptive knowledge, users that are familiar with their contacts can prepare written backups to act upon if service should ever be compromised.
While VoIP systems systems provide cost efficiency and include extensive features and services, users should make sure their system is able to work at all times. Though it’s easier said than done, there are a number of everyday steps users can take to better prepare their system for any disaster or emergency situation.