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Reliable voice connectivity is absolutely critical to business operations. But in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, organizations along the East Coast found their phone systems literally underwater, and extended power outages led to business-crippling downtime. This has driven an increase in demand for hosted Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions among organizations recovering from the disaster as well as those hoping to avoid a similar scenario in the future.

Hosted VoIP provides all of the features of an IP phone system in a cloud-based solution accessed via the Internet. Because cloud-based services can generally be deployed more quickly than on-premises equipment, hosted VoIP enables organizations that have lost a phone system to speed recovery of voice services. In addition, hosted VoIP enables businesses to avoid the cost of replacing a damaged phone system amid the financial challenges that accompany a disaster.

Hosted VoIP can also help organizations avoid business disruption in the future. A reputable service provider will house the telephony equipment in a secure data center with backup power and multiple telecom connections. Most providers also offer failover to redundant telephony equipment in a secondary facility should the primary facility suffer damage.

The distributed nature of the Internet enables hosted VoIP solutions to survive when traditional communication lines fail. Even if Internet connectivity is lost, auto attendants and voice mail generally will remain operational, enabling organizations to maintain a link to customers, suppliers and staff. Many hosted VoIP solutions also have built-in intelligence that recognizes when an organization’s onsite phones stop functioning and can automatically reroute calls to alternative numbers.

This latter feature makes it easier for organizations to implement a “work-from-home” strategy as part of their disaster recovery plan. Disasters, severe weather events or flu outbreaks may preclude employees from traveling to the office. Hosted VoIP solutions enable employees to work remotely with full phone system features. Because calls are rerouted automatically, customers will not even realize that employees are working from home.

Through its longtime strategic relationship with ShoreTel, IPC can help customers utilize Sky, ShoreTel’s cloud-based IP communications system. With ShoreTel Sky, you get all of the features you would expect from an enterprise-class phone system plus ShoreTel Sky Communicator, which provides instant messaging, screen sharing, presence and video chat. Whether you need a basic business phone system for a single location, or sophisticated call center software that supports agents all across the country, ShoreTel Sky has a set of cloud-based products to meet your needs.

Hurricane Sandy serves as a reminder of the need to plan ahead to maintain or recover voice systems. Hosted VoIP can help organizations reduce the risk of costly phone system downtime in the event of a hurricane, fire, flood, power outage or other catastrophe. ShoreTel Sky is a premium service designed for customers who want a fully managed phone system they can rely on for exceptional call quality and availability.

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