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Phones are the nucleus of many businesses. They’re the easiest and most convenient way of communicating and collaborating with clients and colleagues. So it's easy to imagine the frustration when your phone service is disconnected due to a natural disaster, network outage, or other unforeseeable circumstances. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the risk of downtime and make sure you can protect yourself from losing connectivity again

Despite the popularity of new communication tools in today's industries, phones remain the nucleus of many businesses. They’re the easiest, most convenient, and most accessible way of communicating and collaborating with clients, customers, and colleagues. So it's easy to imagine the frustration when you find out that your phone service has suddenly been disconnected due to a natural disaster, network outage, or other unforeseeable circumstances. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the risk of downtime and make sure you can protect yourself from losing connectivity again.

Mark Sher, the VP of Product and Marketing for Cloud Voice at Intermedia, offers a few insights on some of the most common causes of business communication downtime, what businesses can do when disaster strikes, as well as precautions a company should take to dodge downtime.

Common Causes of Communications Downtime

In order to avoid the hassle, headache, cost, and other consequences associated with downtime in your communications, it pays to identify its potential causes first. According to Intermedia, here are some of the common culprits that can bring a business’ communications system to a halt:

System failure

Power outages: Lightning strikes a power pole; power outage shuts down locale phone system switch; short circuit from broken down wiring insulation causing circuit damage; power surge

Hardware failures: On-site PBX system crashes; cooling fans shut down and PBX overheats; phones overheat; misconfiguration or downloading of the wrong configuration

Human Element

Theft: PBX hardware gets stolen; thieves damage equipment looking for valuables; phones are stolen

Sabotage: Employee purposefully destroys a company’s PBX unit; phone company site hit by saboteurs, ransomware or other virus infects the company and shuts down network and phone lines

Accident: Employee spills coffee on PBX unit; car crashes into power or phone line pole; construction worker digs into underground phone or power lines

The Cost of Communications Downtime

Communications downtime, regardless of the cause or the extent, can have a considerable impact on a business’ operations and bottom line. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of small businesses go out of business when faced with an unplanned disruption. Similar findings from the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council’s State of Global Disaster Recovery Preparedness annual report also reveal that, in 2014, 38.3% of businesses lost up to $20,000 due to losing critical IT services (like phones) or data, 10% lost up to $100,000, and 19.6% lost more than $50,000 to over $5 million.

Such alarming figures only indicate that businesses need to develop and implement a strong disaster recovery plan. Otherwise, they may fall victim to the consequences and find themselves paying a hefty price.

How VoIP Helps Businesses Get Back to Business Faster

The key to surviving a disaster or potential downtime is having the right tools and strategies in place. And one of the best weapons a business can have against downtime is a cloud-based phone system.

Intermedia's Double Coverage

During downtime, a cloud-based or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution (specifically a hosted solution) helps companies get back to business much faster when compared to a traditional phone system. This is because a cloud-based system is simple to setup and manage. A company does not have to worry about protecting, upgrading, and maintaining server equipment because all of this is handled by the service provider. Another advantage is that VoIP-ready phones are plug-and-play. You can easily move your phones from place to place and be able to use them anywhere instantly as long as there’s an internet connection.

However, it’s not enough to simply have a cloud-based phone solution. To protect your company against downtime and guarantee business continuity (even when disaster strikes), it’s crucial to choose a cloud phone service provider that is capable of handling disruptions.

A Worry-Free Experience with Intermedia

When it comes to communications downtime, Sher says Intermedia ensures its customers are protected. Intermedia’s cloud voice solution offers “Double Coverage,” which protects a business in two ways:

Network reliability - Intermedia’s cloud network delivers 99.999% uptime for their business voice services. This means Intermedia’s network will be available even if a company’s local phone service isn’t. Their network reliability is attributed to their architecture, multi-region data centers, software

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