5 Things to Know before Purchasing an SIP Trunk

Posted on: 2016-11-29 | Categories:SIP

SIP trunks are quickly becoming the preferred choice for businesses of any size. Even a few small businesses are opting for SIP trunks now that vendors have started to offer services that are almost as easy to use as hosted VoIP. Some organizations are upgrading straight from PRI or landlines to SIP trunking. Others are making the jump from hosted VoIP services in order to benefit from the customization and control that SIP trunks offer.

SIP trunks or on premise VoIP has a reputation of being complex to design and time consuming to deploy. But quite a few vendors like GoTrunk now offer SIP trunk services that do not require much time or effort for smaller organizations to implement. It is one of the reasons that SIP trunking is seeing rapid adoption across the board.

With hosted VoIP, all a business needs is just a high-speed Internet connection and VoIP phones (mostly). You have to make more decisions when it comes to SIP trunks. There are a few things you need to know before purchasing an SIP trunk and some of them are quite easy to forget in the planning stage.

The Combination of Price and Features You Need

All too often, businesses become obsessed with finding the best price that they lose sight of the bigger picture. The point is not to get the cheapest service you can find but rather to maximize the value that you can get from the SIP trunks. If your business needs are simple enough that the most basic plan will suffice, by all means go for it. But at the end of the day, price should not be the sole consideration for selecting a provider.

On the other hand, it is also easy to believe all the marketing hype that vendors throw at you. Providers are constantly trying to upsell clients on the next best plan or convince you that ‘premium features’ are a must have for your business. It is entirely possible for you to end up paying for features that you’re never going to use. It is often hard to find a balance between a good price and features that will add value to your business.

One way to avoid such common mistakes is to consider the needs of your business before you start researching what options are available in the market. So when a vendor tries to pitch you their service, you should focus on your requirements or current problems that the existing PSTN systems is unable to solve. It does not matter if the service has shiny new features, what matters is if it can solve your problems or fulfill business functions.

Security, Security, Security

This issue often flies under the radar during the planning stage and problems arise only after the system has been deployed. Security is not something that businesses have had to worry about for their PRI lines. So it can come as something of a shock to discover that your new SIP trunks need security measures to protect them from unauthorized use, hackers and even unauthorized government surveillance.

Security issues that you should consider beforehand include access control (complex passwords, changing them every few months etc.), encryption for data, firewalls, SBCs and even physical security if needed. You may have to train employees on basic security techniques such as securing their personal mobile devices (if they are allowed to install soft phone applications for work purposes), not writing down passwords or giving it to colleagues etc.

Using One Provider for All Services

Some organizations prefer to get both the Internet connection and SIP trunking services from the same provider. It has its benefits such as faster troubleshooting and quicker resolution of issues. It also means that all your services will work together out-of-the-box without any modifications.

On the other hand, if there is a problem with the provider it could mean that you lose both your Internet connection and your phone lines. This is not good for disaster recovery or business continuity planning. Some businesses even go as far as to get 2 Internet connections so that one can act as a backup if the other one fails.

Service Level Agreements and Commitments

Contracts are not a standard feature of the VoIP industry but some vendors do provide discounts or extras if you commit to some term. Examine the contract closely for termination clauses, exit barriers and penalties in case of a breach of contract. Other things to keep in mind include clauses related to service levels (uptime, downtime, scheduled maintenance and so on), compensation in case service drops below the agreed-upon level, the timeframe for resolving issues etc. Do remember that customer support is also an important aspect of SIP trunk services and responsive support is always worth paying for.

Handling Dependent Services

It is easy to forget that there are many other services which depend on your landline network such as faxing, credit card systems, security systems alarms and so on. You need to have a plan to transition them or phase them out as the need may be. Some organizations absolutely require faxing services. In this case, you might want to have a few PSTN lines dedicated to faxing or select a SIP trunk service that supports digital faxing. One or two landlines can also serve as a backup system for emergency calling, should the need arise.

Keep these important points in mind before purchasing SIP trunks. A little forethought can go a long way in eliminating delays during deployment.