7 Key Questions You must answer before moving to VoIP.

The impending ISDN switch-off is now putting the pressure on businesses to transition to all IP telephony. You may have already come across information about the benefits of VoIP, and the great news is that most of the claims you see, if not all of them, are true! VoIP can lower your monthly communications costs by as much as 50% and can greatly improve the way you communicate internally and externally, solving many business communication pitfalls.
The real challenge for you is to decide how to implement IP for your specific needs, and to understand the risks involved and how to handle them. It is important to get all the facts straight about moving to IP so you can ensure a smooth migration instead of an expensive mishap.
We’ve come up with 7 key questions to ask when making your plans to move to all IP.
1. Is your system secure?
You should never have to open holes in your firewall to get VoIP up and running. Ensure your system of choice will be implemented without risk to your network. Once your VoIP system is set up, you should be confident that it is protected from hackers and spyware. Be sure to give high priority to security management.
2. Is your system scalable?
VoIP technology is great for scalability, but you still need to get the basics in order. When your resellers or suppliers ask you about the number of simultaneous calls you expect to receive, they are trying to determine what solutions will best suit your needs. For example, you will need to decide between an SIP trunking plan and a hosted PBX. It is important to know your long term business communication strategy so you can set up the most efficient IP solution.
3. Do you have a disaster recovery plan?
Reliability is essential with any system — especially business VoIP. If you have only one data center and it goes down, or if you have an equipment failure, you will lose your vital voice communications. Having disaster recovery plans in place is always wise.
4. What uptime guarantee does your system have?
If the number is anything less than 99.99%, then you have a problem. 99.99% is equivalent to 52 minutes of annual downtime, and for most businesses, this will be sufficient. Seek a solution that is reliable and able to meet the needs of your business. Remember, your system is only as reliable as its weakest link.
5. What happens if your IP phone is unreachable?
If missing a call can mean a critical loss of business to you, then make sure your system will automatically forward calls to another system. The mobile phone is a commonly used backup. With IP telephony, you can be reached at any time and any place if you properly configure your system. Ensure your solution is set up to provide you with the level of connectivity you need.
6. Are all your existing phone features supported?
IP phones can do so much more than traditional systems, but you need to ensure they do what’s right for your business. What features do you need? Be sure to ask before you choose a VoIP system. Next, make sure everything has been configured correctly and that your staff members have been trained to utilize all features.
7. Which fax services are supported?
Faxing over VoIP can be both challenging and temperamental. If your business regularly utilizes the fax machine, make sure you have a working fax service within your specifications. Some providers offer faxing services, and some systems provide fax to email. Ask about faxing and get any issues resolved before moving to all IP, as this can prevent unexpected problems.

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Author: Numan Khan

Numan Khan is the Solution Architect & Certified Trainer at DVCOM Technology. He has been working in the field of IP telephony and Call Center deployment over the past 10 years. He loves to share his work and contribution with friends and colleagues.

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