In today’s business world, communication is everything. Your customers need to reach you, and you need to be able to contact your employees. So if your phone system goes down, it can seriously impact your business. In fact, according to a 2016 report by Ponemon Institute, downtime can cost a company up to $9,000 per minute.
When your network and connectivity are disrupted due to an outage, natural disaster, or cyberattack, your business cannot function optimally. And this means your customers may not be able to connect with you – leading to a drop in customer satisfaction. By having a redundant phone system in place, you can rest assured knowing that your business will stay connected, especially in an emergency.
Voice redundancy is an important part of your business’s disaster preparedness plan and helps maintain business continuity.
Before we look at how to build a redundant phone system, let’s look at how voice redundancy works.
What is Voice Redundancy?
Voice redundancy (also called geo-redundancy) is the process of designing a phone system to remain operational, even in the event of a disaster. A redundancy plan typically includes:
- cloud-based technology
- backup power sources and servers
- teams and servers spread across multiple locations
- backup routing strategies
- and various phone lines.
For phone systems, redundancy is often achieved by using VoIP technology. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems use the internet to make and receive calls. This cloud communication infrastructure and technology gives you much-needed freedom and flexibility as you are not tied to one location or device.
VoIP and redundancy go hand-in-hand because if one server or location’s connection goes down, you can easily switch to another without any service interruptions. With VoIP, this means forwarding incoming calls to a different active location or group of employees.
Benefits of Voice Redundancy
Besides ensuring your business is optimally run at all times, what else can you achieve with a redundant phone system? Here are the core benefits:
- High-availability phone service with high uptime
- Business continuity
- Access to failover options and features
- Network reliability
- Increased customer trust and satisfaction
What to Keep in Mind When Building Redundancy Into Your Phone System?
There are a few things to consider when planning a voice redundancy system:
- The size of your business
- Your business’s voice needs
- Your budget, and
- Available solutions.
Let’s look at them in more detail:
1. Business Size
The first thing to consider when building a redundant phone system is the size of your business. Voice redundancy for a small business will differ from one for a large enterprise. So, it’s important to evaluate your business’ unique infrastructure. Do you have teams (local, global, remote) spread across multiple locations? And will they be included in your redundancy plan? What equipment and offices must be protected? And so on.
2. Business Voice Needs
Then determine your business’s voice needs. How many phone lines does your business need? What are your peak call times? Which departments need to be available and accessible at all times? Do these teams need backup teams? Do you need the ability to forward calls to different locations or devices? What devices and calling features do your teams need to maintain business continuity?
You want to make sure your IT infrastructure can support these goals. And, you will need a VoIP provider that offers failover capabilities.
3. Available Solutions
Once you’ve identified what you need your phone system to do, you can look for the solution. There are a number of voice redundancy solutions available on the market. The best solution for your business will depend on your specific needs and requirements.
Consider everything from equipment to software. Look specifically for cloud providers who can support your communication needs and work well with your phone system. In some cases, this means upgrading your current systems with new software and integrations. In other cases, you may need to replace your entire setup. Speak with different providers to understand what works best for your needs.
When looking for a VoIP provider, find one that offers:
Next, consider your budget. The expense of implementing a redundant phone system depends on your needs and resources. It is, however, an important investment in your business’s continuity, making it worthwhile.
When you break it down, you’ll realize that it is not always complicated or labor-intensive. For instance, your business should already have backup equipment and servers in place. So, you will need a cloud phone service provider who supports redundancy. Most VoIP providers will offer voice redundancy within their service. This is generally a more affordable option than building it all from scratch. Shop around to find the right solution for your business.
5. Set up Geo-Redundancy
Finally, we come to setting up voice redundancy within your business phone system. The first step is to include backup initiatives within your disaster recovery plan.
Start with your network and its elements. Work with your IT teams to set up backup power, servers, routers, switches, access points, etc.
If using cloud communication tools such as a CRM or VoIP service, check with your provider about how they maintain continuity. In most cases, cloud services come with their own geo-redundancy. For instance, if their main server fails, they have backup servers enabling users to get back to work with little to no enterprise downtime.
On top of that, they may even offer failover features and capabilities that you can customize and set up. For example, you can use failover forwarding to automatically send calls to another line, location, or device, in case the primary receiver cannot answer them. This way, if your main office is inaccessible, you can forward calls to a satellite team or your smartphone.
Protect for Business Phone System by Planning in Advance
Redundancy is key when it comes to building a reliable and high-availability phone system. By taking the time to understand your communication needs and budget, you can put together a phone solution designed explicitly for your teams.
If you are considering building a redundant phone system for your business, contact a telecommunications consultant to discuss your options!