Increasingly frequent storms and uncontrollable wildfires are obvious examples. Voice over IP (VoIP) is an essential tool in the planning of disaster contingency plans, which allows collaborators to continue working and meet the expectations of customers, even if their traditional workspace has become inaccessible.

There are several ways to implement a VoIP solution as part of the planning of an emergency program. Its versatility lies in the fact that it can be used in different scenarios, depending on the needs of the business, be it an on-premise system (locally) similar to an IP PBX, a hybrid solution or completely hosted in the cloud .

On Premise or in the Cloud?
Many companies already have an IP telephone exchange and have invested a lot of time and resources in hardware and training. In case of a natural disaster or other disaster, as long as the IP PBX server is not touched and only the stations and / or offices have been damaged, it is easy to redirect telephone calls to remote offices, workers’ homes or any other place where the activity can be resumed.

Companies that have remote offices and / or have already adopted the scheme of remote work or telework, are in advantage, since they have the capacity and experience to redirect telephone calls from desk phones to other extensions, mobile devices or telephones.

On the other hand, if the local IP PBX is affected, the company’s failure is real, since a contingency plan is rarely developed and tested in case of emergency or loss of telephone system. In general, only large organizations can afford to have distributed physical hardware in multiple locations and be able to resume voice call traffic in the event of a breakdown or loss of the primary IP PBX.

Service providers offer an alternative to proprietary PBXs, offering cloud-based services or Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) . A VoIP solution of Unified Communications based on the cloud is, therefore, a safer alternative to business continuity in case of material damage within the company. Of course, this implies that the provider itself has planned the redundancy of its services and can guarantee the continuity of the service in case of failure.

Tools as mobile as workers
With VoIP, regardless of your geographical position or the device used, you can still communicate. Thanks to softphonesfor desktop computers or laptops and applications for smartphones , your work extension follows you wherever you are. After a natural disaster, if your offices suffered damages, you can still remain accessible to your customers and business partners, either from a makeshift shelter or from your home. Modern solutions are also combined with unified communications and collaboration tools , such as web video conferencing. This allows you to schedule a meeting regardless of the emergency conditions you face, just simply connect to the Internet.

An autonomous and redundant system
The latest generation solutions also allow you to implement redundancy of all the services you need to ensure the continuity of your activities. You can configure multiple SIP trunks from different providers and thus not depend on a single operator. In case of failure of the latter, with simple call rules, you can route your communications to one or more secondary operators. Thanks to a failover system, it is easy to start a secondary server if your primary server fails. The change is so fast and so automatic that the downtime of the services is minimal.

It is also important to create regular backup copies of your communications system and simply restore your data in case of hardware or software failure.

Nobody wants a natural disaster to happen, but they are unpredictable events and that “it does not happen only to others”. Careful planning and the implementation of the right tools will prevent, in the event of a disaster, having to absorb financial losses due to a forced closure of their activities.