Cloud-hosted phone systems are used by thousands of call centers around the world and continue to grow in popularity. As these systems operate via the internet and a computer or data based system, disruptions and downtimes have been known to transpire. However, there are still many call centers that have little to no process or plan in place should a disruption or major disaster occur. As a provider of the most effective, yet affordable, cloud call center software anywhere, we are all about having a disaster-recovery plan for your call center.
Create a Call Center Disaster Recovery Plan
As with all processes and systems, there are several important steps involved when establishing a practical call center disaster recovery plan. While there are various templates, checklists, and plans freely available on the internet, most are not suited to the demands of a complete call center business continuity plan. To make the process easier and save you time and money we have compiled a step-by-step guide to create an effective call center disaster recovery plan.
Call Center Disaster Recovery Planning Process
When mapping out and planning your disaster recovery plan and process it’s important to remember that even the best thought-out plan will require constant adjustments and improvements. When setting up your disaster recovery plan it is important to identify and list potential risk that a disaster or downtime would have on your call center. This list will aid in the development of your call center disaster recovery plan.
Identify the Risks to your Call Center Business Continuity
- Network outage or other service disruption caused by power outages, storms or broken cables.
- Loss of Internet coverage as a result of clement weather and service provider disturbance
- Power outages caused by storms, cable failure, and general system outages.
- Software failure as a result of network or system problems or power outage.
- Loss of network or database information such as caller ID.
Identify Your Call Centers Backup Options
- Implementation of an automatic cloud failover and call continuity plan with your provider.
- Alternate or backup internet provider or solution.
- An emergency backup power supply system such as a UPS that automatically turns on in the event of a power outage.
- The implementation of a VoIP Monitoring System that notifies your technical or support department should it detect any faults on the network.
Incorporate Your VoIP Provider in Your Call Center Disaster Recovery Solution
Most service providers already have established cloud failover management tools on their network servers, which will automatically manage calls placed over their network in the case of a disaster. But this is not always explained or discussed. We, therefore, recommend you confirm what cloud failover process your VoIP provider offers on their network and how you can incorporate it into your own disaster recovery plan. The most common types of cloud failover include:
- VOIP Redundancy (VoIP to VoIP: Failover). If your IP PBX (hosted phone system) or VoIP endpoints (such as an IP phone) are unable to receive calls, your provider can use VoIP to VoIP failover to reroute the call to the backup VoIP destination of your choice.
- VoIP Redundancy with PSTN Failover: If Internet downtime causes your VoIP device to miss an incoming toll free or local call, your VoIP provider’s network can forward the call to a PSTN phone number of your choice.
- VoIP Failover Redundancy: Having problems receiving calls through the PSTN? Ask your provider to automatically forward those missed calls to alternate PSTN numbers.
- Integrated VoIP Failover: This option is for those who believe that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you are worried about missing toll free calls, your provider can configure a variety of failover options to both VoIP devices and PSTN phone numbers.
Your Call Center Disaster Recovery Checklist
When creating your call center disaster recovery plan, it is important to understand and include all elements that play a part in the overall operation of your call center. While cloud-failover and your internal or external network are important, other key factors include your agents, phone equipment, vendors and carrier partnerships. Cloud-based PBX system, such as VoIP, require less emergency preparation then older traditional onsite PBX systems. It is, however, still important you determine your call centers disaster preparedness.
To aid in the final development of your call center disaster recovery plan, we have created a quick checklist of important questions to ask yourself.
- Does your call center VoIP system maintenance plan cover disaster situations?
- What cloud-failover or call forwarding abilities does your existing phone system and cloud provider offer?
- What is your outage time frame and under what circumstances is your disaster recovery plan to be activated?
- What recovery solutions are noted in your Service-Level Agreement (SLA) with your existing cloud provider?
- Do you have backup copies of all your call center software and data?
- Have you implemented a critical communication path and responsibility matrix?
- Can you configure your call center network so your agent can access your call center system remotely or from alternate devices or locations
- Is there a relocation plan and designated physical location for your agents in the event of an emergency?
- Will, your agents have access to an internet connection with the required bandwidth should they need to relocate?
- Have you tested your disaster recovery plan and if so how often have you scheduled plan updates.
Interested in Setting Up a Call Center Disaster Recovery Solution?
AVOXI is a leading cloud communication, business VoIP service and contact center software provider. Our customizable, cloud-based call center solution, Smart Queue offers advanced features to meet the individual needs of a call center. The benefits of purchasing a VoIP system with AVOXI includes:
- Hosted data centers on three continents provide global redundancy and ensure reliable call quality in any region.
- Office locations all over the world allow AVOXI to provide 24/7 technical support (English and Spanish support available).
- You can activate new channels and lines instantly from within the AVOXI Core User Interface.
- All AVOXI services include 20+ business features like IVR, teleconferencing, and 15 days of free call recording.
- Earn credit and get paid when you port existing phone numbers to AVOXI.
- With AVOXI, there are no startup fees or minimum contracts. Test our VoIP trunk solutions risk-free.
- Reliable cloud-failover methods with forwarding options to multiple locations, numbers or devices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Smart Queue is a web-based contact center solution, that allows your agent the freedom to work from anywhere. All you need is a laptop and a reliable Internet connection.
Yes. Smart Queue’s live call monitoring view lets you see incoming calls in progress. You can even use Call Whisper to coach your agents during live calls. Smart Queue also offers real-time reporting, so you always know what’s happening in your contact center.
AVOXI offers toll free phone numbers from 120+ countries worldwide and local phone numbers from 2500+ countries worldwide. There is no limit to how many numbers you can use with Smart Queue contact center software.
Yes, in most cases. This is done through a process called resporg, or phone number porting. Most virtual numbers can be ported, although this may vary country based on porting restrictions set out by the relevant regulatory board. For more information visit out Global Number Portability Guide
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Unfortunately, there is no way to plan when a disaster is going to happen, and when it does will your call center be ready? As a provider of an effective, yet affordable, cloud call center software, we are all about having a disaster recovery plan for your call center. Just like you, we want to be prepared which is why we have created this post to help you get your disaster-recovery plan into place!
Some common causes of disasters include:
- Network Failures
- Local Telecom Failures
- Natural disasters
- Loss of power
- Supporting system outage
- Data Loss
In case of a disaster or an emergency, it is important to have a backup strategy in place. This reduces the stress that is prominent in situations like this and helps things go smoothly. Having a fully mirrored site is a great way to continue your day-to-day operations during a time of disaster. The most important thing to remember when having a mirrored site is that it is constantly updated and treated exactly as your live site. After all, if you are in the position where you have to use this it then becomes your live site so why would you treat it any different?
|Business Process||Backup Strategy|
|IT Operations||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Tech Support - Hardware||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Tech Support - Software||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Facilities Management||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Purchasing||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Disaster Recovery||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Finance||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Contracts Admin||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Warehouse & Inventory||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Product Sales||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Maintenance Sales||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Human Resources||Off-site data storage facility|
|Testing Fully Mirrored Recovery Site||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Workshop Fully Mirrored Recovery Site||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Call Center||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
|Web Site||Fully Mirrored Recovery Site|
Disaster Recovery Plan: Systems
Your systems are the heart of your business and if you lose them chances are your business will strain to run effectively. We know how important it is to plan for a possible disaster which is why we have created a recovery checklist. Below are the key things needed in the system recovery:
|Product Server Location|
|Product Server Model|
|Product Server Operating System|
|Product Server CPUs|
|Product Server Memory|
|Product Server Total Disk|
|Product Server System Handle|
|Product Server System Serial Number|
|Product Server DNS Entry|
|Product Server IP Address|
|Product Server: Other|
|Hot Site Server|
|Backup Strategy For One|
|System One Disaster Recovery Procedure|
|Scenerio 1: Total Loss of Data|
|Scenerio 2: Total Loss of HW|
|File Systems as of:||File System Mounted On||Kbytes||Used||Available||Percent Used|
|Minimal file systems to be created and restored from backup:|
|Other critical files to modify|
|Necessary directories to create|
|Critical files to restore|
|Secondary files to restore|
|Other files to restore|
Disaster Recovery Plan: Voice Communications
Interested in setting up recovery voice communications? We have created a list of all the important things to consider in creating your recovery plan.
|Equipment Device Type:|
|Equipment Model Number|
|Equipment Technical Specifications|
|Equipment Network Interfaces|
|Equipment Power Requirements|
|Equipment System Serial Numbers|
|Equipment DNS Entry|
|Equipment IP Address|
|Hot Site Equipment|
|Backup Strategy For System Two|
|System Two disaster Recovery Procedure|
|Scenerio 1: Total Loss of Switch|
|Scenerio 2: Total Loss of Network|
|Critical Netowrk Assets|
|Critical Files to Restore|
|Critical Network Services to Restore|
In the Event of a Phone Outage
In the event that you experience a phone outage, the following procedures can help you stay connected:
- Have call forwarding services set up prior to the outage
- The use of virtual numbers lets you connect from anywhere, that way you never miss out on a call
- Have generators in place for emergency calls to go through