Last weekend, I helped a dear friend change a flat tire. Ninety five degree weather and a half-hour of fumbling to find the hoist shaft (which releases the spare from under the vehicle) conspired to turn a minor inconvenience into a major event. While I contemplated the irony (had this been my car it would have been roadside assistance doing the tire changing), I experienced first-hand the importance of having a plan for unforeseen events –or, if you prefer jargon, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR).
It’s times like this when you wish for the Citroën hydropneumatic system (which obviates the need for a jack when changing a tire), or the Hummer self-inflating tire (so you can drive yourself to the shop) or AAA (so they can take care of the whole thing for you). Anything to keep me from having to climb under that car half a dozen times, get my clothes all dirty and have me sweating profusely.
If you think about it, a flat tire is not all that different from a phone outage. In much the same way tires connect your car to the road, telephony trunking connects your phone system to the PSTN. A flat tire can prevent you from getting around and reduce you to crawling under your car. A phone outage can prevent sales and reduce employee productivity.
Not all contingency plans are created equal –nor do all scenarios warrant one. Whether you have (or even need) a plan is generally determined by the intersection of three factors:
- Likelihood. (How frequently do I expect something to happen?)
- Severity. (How bad is it when it happens?)
- Resources. (How much time, space, money, training… does the plan require?)
The fact my friend’s car had a fully inflated spare tire was GM’s contingency plan for a highly probable, highly inconvenient scenario. The incremental cost and space consumed by the jack, spare tire and a mechanism to store it were worth the incremental sticker price to ensure the driver’s safety.
When it comes to an enterprise’s phone service, the number of contingency planning options available to those who use SIP Trunking for PSTN connectivity is much greater than that of legacy TDM trunks. While traditional trunking technology (whether it be a PRI or a T1 Trunk) is not completely devoid of alternatives, they generally are few in number, often limited by geography and inevitably come at a high cost.
SIP Trunking on the other hand comes with loads of alternatives, thanks to the super resilient Internet technology on which it is built. Automatically fail-over to a secondary or tertiary location half-way across the country (or the world, for that matter)? Sure. N+1 redundancy? No problem. A portal to re-configure the way your telephone numbers are routed? Piece of cake.
So whether you’re using SIP Trunking to power your company’s Unified Communications or to simply save money by aggregating calling on an IP-PBX, it comes with the built-in flexibility to keep a business running smoothly even when that proverbial tire goes flat. No sweat!
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