Why You Should be Thinking About Business Disruptions

As the owner or manager of a growing business, your focus is business development, not business disruption.  But don’t let mistaken assumptions about business continuity cloud your judgment.

Most small and midsize businesses make the mistake of assuming that (1) in the event of a disaster, they will still be able to limp along and get their business going again and (2) it will cost them less to limp along and clean up the mess later than to put a backup plan in place now.

In fact, if you experience a breakdown in your communications infrastructure, you may not be able to limp along. Numerous insurance companies and business continuity  specialists cite statistics suggesting that large numbers of SMEs who are hit with a major disruption never fully recover and/or soon go out of business.

In this posting, I will provide a basic explanation of business continuity as it relates to your communications system. I also recommend downloading the Avaya white paper, “Is your small business ready for non-stop operations?”  (https://www.avaya.com/usa/registration/is-your-small-business-ready-for-non-stop-operations/) It’s packed with interesting advice and insight on the whole subject of keeping your business in continuous operation, whether the problem is a storm, utility outage, equipment failure, security breach or even having several of your top employees felled by the flu.

Don’t take your communications for granted

In the old days, if the power failed during a major storm or disaster, there was a good chance you could still use the phone. That’s because your phone system was powered by electrical current coming over analog lines from the phone company’s central office. Because of that, you could always get dial tone.

But today, many businesses use digital, not analog, lines. Also, even if a business is using an analog line, the communications devices and switches at the business may still require their own power. Cordless phones, for example, need their own power source. If you connect ANY device that needs its own power, you introduce a point of failure so that when power is lost to the switch, connected telephones no longer receive a dial tone.

But there is a way around this—it’s part of the business continuity capabilities of Avaya IP Office.  The Avaya White Paper explains it in detail, but here’s the essence: if you connect an easily acquired Phone 8 expansion card, affixed with a Daughter (trunk) card, you get eight ports for use with analog telephones. Using the card, the analog trunk gets connected directly to the phone—the switch is bypassed. Whether you have power or not, you can be up and running.

A power outage is just one possible scenario of business disruption—and it’s also just one way that Avaya IP Office is designed to keep your operations going.  Other features of this system designed to keep you in business include:

Teleworker Solution: Get complete communications from another location by connecting via an IP desk phone over a virtual private network (VPN) or via a laptop using the one-X® Portal. This is a great option for when employees cannot get into the office for any reason.

Multi-site Network: If you have multiple offices and one goes down, you can still keep all your communications up and running by using the Small Community Network capability, which is a standard feature of IP Office. Using IP links, you can connect a network of branch offices and ensure that extensions and features stay up and running at all of them. You can even designate which locations are “back-ups” for others, so the level of resiliency can be quite robust.

Providing this kind of support for small and midsize businesses is a key reason why Avaya IP Office has become a top choice and why Avaya is No. 1 worldwide in telephony solutions in the small and midsize market.

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About Vic Levinson
Telecommunications and IT professional with over 20 years experience in Business Telecommunications. Specializing in voice over IP (VoIP) for business: hosted VoIP, business VoIP phone systems, SIP providers, carriers, T1's - the works. Founded Prime Telecommunications in 1993 and providing business communications solutions. Cloud Applications- everything from hosted network security, hosted Disaster Recovery, hosted printer management, data centers and colocation solutions for businesses.

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