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Since we are in the middle of our secondary severe weather season (which has been unusually quiet around here this year), we thought it would be prudent to take a moment to talk about disaster recovery. Disaster recovery plans are important to the continuity of any business. Every business, no matter how small or large, needs to have a disaster recovery plan. The question is not one of what to do if there is a disaster, but rather what to do when there is a disaster.

What would you do if your office burned down tonight? What would you do if your office was washed away in a flood tomorrow? What would you do if your office was swept away by a tornado next week? Do you have a plan in place for these scenarios?

Unfortunately, most businesses do not. If your business is one of the many who do not have a disaster recovery plan, we urge you to start working on one now.

For most businesses, communicating with customers is a crucial function. In this day and age, these communications may take place via telephone, E-Mail, text message, instant messaging, or perhaps even social media. However, the majority of businesses’ communications with their customers still takes place using the tried and true telephone.

Thus, when a disaster strikes, it is important that your telephone system still works.

Most businesses today still rely on the traditional on-site telephone system, usually known as a PBX. The PBX is usually a box stuck in a closet somewhere, which serves as the “brain” of the business’s telephone communications system. The telephone lines from your local phone company connect to the PBX. All of the telephones within the business are also connected to the PBX. The PBX then handles all of the incoming and outgoing calls, as well as calls between extensions, voice mail, parking, transfers, etc. The PBX is what makes the business’s telephone communications “tick.”

That’s all well and good, until the PBX is burned up in a fire, washed away in a flood, or carried away by a tornado. Then you have a problem. Customers calling in receive a busy signal (from the melted/flooded phone lines), thinking you have the phone off-the-hook because you don’t want to talk to them. On the other hand, they may just receive continuous ringing with no answer (because the voice mail system has been blown away into the next state), thinking you decided not to show up to work anymore because you have better things to do than to deal with them. Either way, they’re not going to get through, and they’re not going to reach you.

This is precisely where a Hosted PBX comes in! With a Hosted PBX, you no longer have a box on the wall in a wiring closet somewhere. Instead, your PBX is now located in “the cloud”, essentially in a data center somewhere with much more reliable electricity, back-up power, heavy-duty construction, and proper fire protection/suppression (such as FM-200.) These data centers are much more resilient than your average office, making them less susceptible to natural disasters.

With a Hosted PBX, all of your business’s telephone system functions are handled by the Hosted PBX “in the cloud.” Call routing, IVRs, voice mails, parking, hold, transfers, and all the other “magic” functions of your system are handled by the Hosted PBX. Quite literally, the only part of your system that will exist within your office are the handsets themselves.

In the event of a disaster at your office, your Hosted PBX will continue to answer calls and take messages for you. These can then be sent to your E-Mail, which you can then listen to on your smartphone (or a computer elsewhere, if you choose.) You can return your customers’ calls from any phone you see fit! If you’d prefer not to give out your personal number, we can configure DISA (Direct Inward System Access) for you, allowing you to dial into your PBX from any phone and then place an outgoing call as if you were in the office, showing your company’s name and caller ID. Don’t want customers to have to leave messages? No problem. We can forward your incoming calls to one or more numbers (either cellular or landline.) Now you’re able to take your incoming calls like nothing ever happened.

Of course, you’re going to want to get things back to normal as soon as possible. If your handsets have been destroyed, we can program new handsets onto your existing Hosted PBX, using your existing extension numbers, and get them to you in fairly short order. You and your employees can take these handsets home, plug them into your Internet connection, and work just like you were in the office. Once you have a new office, you can simply move those handsets to your new location, plug them in, and you’re good to go!

As you can see, a Hosted PBX can keep you and your customers communicating in the event of a natural disaster striking your business. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact us today for more information and a quote on Hosted PBX service for your business. In most cases we can port your current telephone number(s) from your current provider. If you already have service with Voiceopia, it will make the transition to a Hosted PBX even easier!

Remember, the time for disaster recovery planning is now — not fifteen minutes after the disaster strikes!