How can VoIP for Businesses Help during a Disaster?

Posted on: 2017-09-19 | Categories:SIP

A disaster recovery or business continuity plan is something that every organization should have. Unfortunately far too many businesses realize the need for one too late. You need to be thinking about disaster recovery well in advance of any emergency that might come your way.

Some of the questions that your business continuity plan should address include

  • How quickly can I resume service for clients?
  • How easily can my employees get back to work after a disaster?
  • How long can the business continue to function at less than optimal resources?

Depending on the nature of your business, your clients will allow some leeway when it comes to working through an emergency. But if you provide a critical service or resource to someone, you will be expected to resume service as quickly as possible. Whether you can manage or not comes down to the communication system in place.

VoIP Is the Cornerstone for Any Disaster Recovery System

One of the main focus of any disaster recovery plan is to protect business assets. You have to protect your employees, the premises, your data (digital and otherwise), your equipment, technology, inventory etc. Naturally the first priority is human life followed by the rest.

But any disaster recovery plan will fail without adequate communication. You might have a sophisticated system for data backup or evacuating employees. But how do you start the process if you cannot communicate with your staff? How will your employees coordinate with each other during and after a crisis? How will you inform them that the emergency is over?

Emergency management experts will tell you that any strategy should have a plan B. No matter how thorough or detailed your plans are, they can fail in certain situations. So you should always have an alternative to fall back on. But what happens if your phones fail? What’s your backup option then?

Keeping the Phones Working during a Disaster

We know that keeping the phones functioning during a disaster is not always easy. A small incident that affects only your business or the nearby area can perhaps be managed. But what happens if a hurricane is affecting the entire state? It is very likely that utilities like the phone lines or electricity will be unavailable. This is why it is important to have a backup for your phones.

Hosted VoIP services performed remarkably well in this area. One disadvantage of on premise SIP deployments is any disaster that affects your office will effectively knock out your phones as well. Since VoIP services are offered to the cloud by service providers, a local natural disaster will not have any effect on your communication. Even if the actual building is uninhabitable for any reason, you can relocate your employees to another place. They can then continue working with mobile VoIP apps or replacement devices.

An enterprise disaster recovery plan will have several parts. Each part will deal with the different aspects such as preventing any disruptions, protecting assets, recovering from a crisis and so on. When you use hosted VoIP service as part of your recovery plan, you are assured of a means of communication throughout.

A disaster that affects one of your offices doesn’t have to bring the entire organization to a halt. Hosted VoIP services give you the flexibility you need to get your business up and running. Suppose your office building has a fire and employees have to evacuate immediately. Let’s compare two different situations – one when you have hosted VoIP and the other when you don’t.

With a hosted VoIP system in place, you know that you don’t have to protect any equipment or hardware. All of the PBX boxes and equipment required to provide phone services are sitting in a data center far away from your office. Employees can stay in touch throughout the crisis and make sure everyone is safe. VoIP can help in the aftermath as well. Your staff can move into another building or even go home and still continue to work. Your customers don’t have to experience any service disruption because of the disaster.

In the absence of a VoIP system, the situation could be much worse. If the hardware and equipment you have in your building are destroyed, your phones will no longer work. With the typical PBX box, you don’t have the option of portability. You will have to wait until the phones can be relocated to new premises before getting back to work. All of this takes time and becomes more expensive with bigger disruptions.

VoIP can help businesses in many ways during a disaster and even afterward. It lets you continue working through a crisis and recover quicker than you could otherwise. When the phones stay up no matter what happens, your employees and your business are that much safer!