Resilience: How to prevent those dreaded words, “our phones are down”

It’s easy not to think about the resilience of your phone system, or the risks you face, until something happens. One of our customers learned this the hard way, when they suddenly found their phones not working, with no obvious cause.

The problem was eventually traced back to a visiting film crew who had inadvertently unplugged their ISDN, but by the time this unlikely scenario had been discovered, the phone line loss had already had a significant impact on their operations and negatively affected sales and customer service.

The likelihood of a film crew rocking up at your office and unplugging your phone line is admittedly slim, but what other risks are there to the smooth-running of your phone system, and what would the implications be to your business?

Information

What does a resilient phone system look like?

Put simply, it offers greater reliability and business continuity by being able to failover to a backup if something goes wrong. This means you can continue receiving and making calls even if your system experiences a problem. Combine this with removing reliance on physical phone lines, and you’ll have a resilient option which will put your business in the best position.

There are two key points of weakness for your phones – the phone lines and the phone system itself.

Phone Lines

If you’re still using ISDN lines, you’ve got a couple of key risks.

The first is that if the line is physically damaged, for example in a storm, your communications will be affected. This can cause real problems, as you’ll be reliant on external engineers to fix the physical infrastructure. Moving to a SIP solution will offer greater resilience as you’re not reliant on physical lines – as long as you’ve got internet, you’ve got voice.

BT’s upcoming ISDN shutdown in 2025 is another risk to the future of your telephony, as you’ll need to migrate to SIP trunks in plenty of time before the final deadline to avoid being left without a phone line. Not only is SIP much more resilient and scalable than ISDN, but it’s actually cheaper too, so there are no benefits to holding on until the last minute and risking making a panicked decision.

Phone System

Having a physical on-premise phone system brings the risk of having a single point of failure. A phone system problem could therefore have a significant impact on your whole operation, and cost you a lot of money in lost business while your phones are out of operation. In contrast, hosting your phone system in a virtual environment gives you the opportunity to build in significant failover capability, giving you a huge amount of resilience.

As well as providing additional business continuity, virtualised phone systems also have lower set-up and ongoing maintenence costs than physical systems, so once again, you can achieve greater resilience for less money.

Summary: benefits of telephony resilience

  • Failover capability provides back-up if a problem occurs
  • Improved business continuity reduces the financial and operational impact of phone issues
  • Futureproof SIP avoids reliance on physical lines
  • Cost savings can be made by swapping to more resilient options

How can PSU help?

From phone lines to phone systems, our telecoms experts specialise in improving systems and increasing resilience. The following case studies show how we helped improve telephony resilience for a cloud computing company and a solicitors, who each had a different situation and set of requirements. Check out the additional pages below for a more in-depth look at the issues and the solutions available.

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