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Making VoIP part of your disaster recovery plan

By Catherine Knowles, Thu 2 Apr 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

VoIP can be used as a tool in business continuity and disaster recovery planning, enabling a business to continue operating in the event staff cannot get to the office or equipment has been damaged.

Converging voice and data onto one network and ensuring a host of devices are linked in can ensure communications continuity and reduce downtime and loss of revenue.

A business can deploy a VoIP solution in a variety of different ways. For instance, it can deploy VoIP with an existing IP private branch exchange (PBX) or as an all-cloud solution.

It’s important to consider each option in relation to an individual business' needs.

Cloud-based VoIP solutions may be the ideal choice for an enterprise, but may not provide the flexibility of features another requires.

For instance, a business that has regulatory reporting requirements, including those in financial, legal and medical professions, may find an in-house PBX solution preferable when having to provide a detailed audit trail and confidentiality for clients.

When choosing a service provider, a business should keep disaster recovery in mind and choose one that has multiple geographically distributed data centres with redundant servers.

Then, if one data centre goes offline, others can pick up the load without a service interruption. Single or dual data centres won’t provide such a service.

An IP PBX can support in-house phone needs as well as remote office and workers. It can also make it easier for a business to reconfigure employees at a new location.

In an instance where the main corporate PBX server isn’t affected but an office space and staff are, inbound phone calls can be rerouted to unaffected remote offices, individual homes or an alternative off-site back up space.

As soon as VoIP is set up, businesses should fully develop and test contingency plans that take into account interruption of service resulting from the company’s phone system going down due to physical equipment damage or a focused cyber attack.

Planning and trialling re-routing phone calls from a desktop line to alternative extensions, mobile phones and home phones, can ensure a business is ready for an unexpected situation.

When a business is using a premises-based VoIP system as opposed to a PBX one, they can back up and recover all of their data systems as well as networks that are to be used for VoIP to ensure continuation of the communications system.

In order to ensure that recovery of systems is conducted as soon as possible after a disaster, a business needs to make sure their database is replicated at the distributor’s premises.

The primary focus is that in the event of a disaster, a business remains available for clients.

Creating VoIP disaster recovery strategy is of utmost importance and VoIP systems can be easily worked into a business' existing disaster recovery plan.

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