Downtime can be incredibly costly for businesses. A recent study from BigPanda indicates that businesses with 1,000 to 2,500 employees can expect to pay an average of $1,850 per minute for downtime. While this amount can be less for smaller companies, often the impact is more significant, and the risks of downtime are higher. There is a considerable risk if your client or business is not prepared to minimize downtime with a reliable business continuity plan. Cloud-based phone systems like VoIP offer inherent advantages, and when you choose the right partner, they can offer peerless business continuity.
We will explore VoIP and how it can improve business continuity, and why preparation is necessary for organizations. You will understand the advantages of VoIP for business continuity and how to choose the right communications provider to ensure your development projects for your client or business include the necessary technology to make sure they’re prepared for any communications emergency.
What Is VoIP and What Can It Do for Business Continuity?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows business users to make calls over the internet rather than a public switched telephone network (PSTN). It takes control from the telephone carriers and puts it in the hands of your client or business. VoIP allows the business to add numbers and users from a simple web portal and lets the organization create a disaster recovery plan or business continuity plan for its VoIP communications.
Most organizations have a disaster recovery plan for their servers, networks, and computers, and VoIP allows them to implement a plan for their phone communications. An excellent telecommunications provider can offer redundancy and resiliency through its network.
Related: Cloud Communication Migration Pitfalls to Avoid
VoIP phones rely on a cloud-based network for inbound calling using Direct Inward Dialing (DID). With the right VoIP provider, the network will offer dynamic routing to route calls immediately through another physical connection if an inbound route is currently down. Dynamic rerouting also works with SIP and other communications like SMS/MMS.
Why Is Business Continuity Critical to Any Organization?
VoIP offers inherent benefits to business continuity and can help improve a company’s overall preparedness. As the COVID-19 pandemic taught many companies, business continuity is essential to maintaining operations during an event like a pandemic. Your client or company should also be prepared to respond to incidents like floods, fires, natural disasters, power outages, and cyberattacks.
Even if the business is located in an area where natural disasters are uncommon, cyberattacks are becoming more common and must be a part of your business continuity plan. If your client or business uses an API for communication, it can be a popular vector for malicious attacks.
According to a Salt Security study, malicious API calls have increased to over 26 million per month. Without vigilant IT security specialists ensuring the network is safe, a successful attack can disrupt or shut down your business or client’s network and communications.
An event that shuts down the business operations or office can be devastating, and some businesses never open after a major outage or incident. Protecting the business and preserving as much productivity as possible will give the business a chance to bounce back.
When no assistance is available from the government or insurance, your client or business is on its own. Even when assistance is available, the organization can be irreparably damaged before receiving it.
So what should be included in a business continuity plan? Every element that your employees and overall operations require to continue running the business. If your client or business’s operations can only continue with their computer network and communications, the organization should develop a business continuity plan that includes their networking and communications.
How Business Continuity with VoIP Works
As discussed above, there are various reasons to implement a disaster recovery plan. Your company or client needs business continuity to continue operations during an emergency or situation that limits normal capabilities. VoIP offers several benefits over traditional phone carriers that can improve business continuity. Here’s how it works.
VoIP systems inherently have more availability than traditional phone carriers. Since users connect to the internet to make calls, VoIP phones provide reliable service wherever there is a steady internet connection. The availability of VoIP and SIP makes it not only an excellent choice for remote work but also one of the most effective elements of a business continuity plan.
For instance, during the pandemic and lockdowns, many organizations shifted to a virtual office or work-from-home dynamic. Businesses with the flexibility of an existing VoIP or SIP were able to continue communications with minimal interruption, but organizations with a traditional carrier had to scramble to implement a workaround.
Remote availability is also vital to business continuity when the office must close, such as during a fire or natural disaster. If your business or client’s employees are instructed to work from home or a temporary office, VoIP communications can come with them.
Mitigation of Downtime
Downtime due to a disruption in the phone network is often not preventable by your client or business and can impact remote as well as on-site users. It can cause calls to be dropped and phone communications to be down for some time. Downtime can also be a part of internal business operations, such as planned maintenance and upgrades to the network infrastructure or private branch exchange (PBX).
When an organization does not have smooth communication, it can cause major problems and impact productivity, customer service, and the company’s profitability. It is important to minimize downtime.
A VoIP solution with high reliability will ensure that disconnected routes are dynamically rerouted to another physical connection of your business or client’s private network. They ensure that as long as the user’s VoIP phone has an internet connection, there will be an operational inbound route for DID calls.
While preparing for remote work and downtime is critical, it is also important to give users the option to forward calls to another phone number. When your client or business’s office is forced to close down because of a disaster, the equipment employees use daily may not always be at their immediate disposal. Call forwarding allows business calls to be routed to new or existing equipment the employees can use outside of the office, such as their mobile phones.
Call forwarding allows callers from within or outside of the business to call the business phone number and have it routed to the forwarded phone number of an employee.
Business Continuity Best Practices With VoIP
Now that you know how business continuity works and why it is critical to your client or company, you can implement it into your development projects. While every business’ needs are different, you can ensure your plan will address your client or company’s needs by following these best practices:
- Follow local regulations for data safety, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
- Encourage management and key personnel to be aware and trained in their roles for business continuity and disaster recovery to ensure the transition to the business continuity plan is as seamless as possible.
- Migrating services and applications to the cloud ensures that users can access tools and information almost anywhere. You can improve resilience and mobility with reliable cloud applications and services.
- Encourage the use of devices and processes that offer mobility and flexibility, so users can take their devices and processes to remote locations and continue to be productive.
- Monitor data and risks to the company’s communications and network. Improve security where necessary.
- Re-evaluate and update the business continuity plan frequently.
Related: Essential Considerations When Migrating To a Cloud-Based Communications Platform
How Can You Ensure Your VoIP Provider Offers Business Continuity?
While VoIP offers several advantages that can improve business continuity, choosing a communications partner that facilitates VoIP continuity plans with flexibility, network resiliency, and guaranteed delivery is vital. Look for the following when selecting a communications provider.
While cloud-based VoIP and SIP services have an inherent element of flexibility, an extremely flexible service will allow you to provision numbers and users from a web console. Flexible payment plans, such as metered or per-minute, allow your client or business to pay for only the minutes used. The plan scales with their needs without any overage charges or unutilized call time.
If the delivery of your client or business’ communications is not guaranteed, it will never be sure that business can continue in an emergency. A service with business continuity for DID built-in will ensure that mission-critical voice traffic always reaches its destination.
Critical business sectors often cannot afford to miss a call. In the past, when a carrier network experienced an outage, the organization would be forced to port their numbers to another service—a process that could take days. With built-in redundancy on a quality VoIP network, you ensure there are multiple routes for mission-critical calls to reach their destination consistently.
A resilient communications network will ensure that when a route fails or is unavailable, your business or client’s voice traffic will be routed to a physical failover connection.
A secure platform will offer a version-controlled API and a carrier-grade network with security experts to ensure your client or business’s data and communications are safe. Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle to adequately secure their network and communications due to the cost of hiring qualified IT security specialists. Your business’ cloud-based communications are secure and maintained when you rely on a reputable platform.
Build Business Continuity Into Communications With VoIP
When your organization needs to keep mission-critical communications running around the clock, a reputable VoIP provider with a reliable network will ensure continuous operation. A cloud-based voice application offers high reliability and availability for on-site and remote operations. When you partner with a quality platform, your connection will be secure and redundant to ensure callers can reach your client or business.
The Flowroute HyperNetwork™ integrates failover routing to provide a redundant physical connection during an interruption or failure. Inbound DID voice traffic is routed to a failover connection to ensure every call reaches your business or client’s intended recipient. Flowroute also provides network resiliency, flexibility in calling and pricing, and guaranteed delivery for voice traffic with 99.999% uptime. Get started with superior business continuity from Flowroute.