How Voice System Resiliency Is Essential to Business Continuity
A voice system is vital to business operations. It connects people in ways other media cannot. A voice system also provides additional details and information that keep employees, customers, suppliers, and business partners informed. Unplanned downtime of a company’s communication system can come with a high cost, such as a loss of revenue, loss of reputation when customers cannot reach you and even loss of life. Voice system downtime can impact your business just as much as a network outage.
Statistics vary, but one survey found that almost 30 percent of companies do not currently have a contingency plan for business continuity or disaster recovery, in place. This plan is like a playbook for responding to major incidents, which can blindside a company without warning. Building a resilient voice communication system, or knowing how your provider handles resiliency, should be part of every business continuity plan.
What makes a voice communication system resilient?
Most voice systems have common functionality built in to protect against everyday congestion issues, as well as threats and incidents. For example, routers use quality of service (QoS) to prioritize network traffic to ensure that most users have acceptable service even when usage is high. Firewalls and network address translation (NAT) help to block unsolicited incoming traffic. And diversely routed paths essentially let you rely on a secondary internet connection when the primary connection goes down.
But additional features and functionality are needed for truly resilient systems. A provider that offers both voice systems and internet service should be able to protect your ability to communicate when facing technical or natural incidents in at least three ways: equipment diversity, network diversity and mobility.
Equipment diversity comes into play at the provider level with high availability and geographically diverse, redundant equipment. That means hosting pairs of servers or redundant server clusters and other related equipment in different parts of the country. If a weather event, construction or security incident affects one set of servers, the other set continues to provide service with little to no interruption.
Network diversity at the customer level should include primary and secondary customer sites with redundant communication equipment and transport like IP VPN that can help to eliminate internet attacks. This involves multiple trunk groups that are built into the engineering design to back up each other. By configuring failover options ahead of time, if one trunk goes down, the other is used to keep network traffic flowing.
A provider’s mobility feature works in the background like a transfer agent. If a business line goes down, mobility provides auto-forwarding of incoming calls to another number, which is often tied to a user’s cell phone or a desk phone at a secondary location.
The combination of equipment diversity, network diversity and mobility can mean the difference between your company continuing to communicate during and after a hurricane or an attack on your Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system versus radio silence.
How APIs can provide continuity
An application programming interface (API) is a connection between different software applications that enables them to interact; it lets one application provide services to another.
In a digitally enabled environment, APIs used with voice systems can help streamline business continuity and eliminate human error. For example, consider an API that quickly and efficiently changes E911 addresses for telephone numbers so that caller location is as accurate as possible.
Ask your voice communication system provider, or potential providers if you’re evaluating new services, how they’ve built resiliency into their systems and processes. When a disaster strikes, what assurances do you have that your voice system will continue to provide service? And then incorporate what you learn into your company’s contingency plans to be better prepared for future events.
Learn more about Lumen Voice Complete.
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