Securing VoIP: Key for Business Continuity

By CIOReview | Wednesday, September 21, 2016

One of the major technological breakthroughs of the 21st century is the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Delivering voice and multimedia over the internet has helped geographically distributed businesses to collaborate effectively.

Although VoIP has improved the efficiency of businesses, like most technology, this too is subject to failure and crashes. This may be due to cyber attacks, poor quality of service, network congestion, poor internet connectivity, and loss of network synchronization to name a few.

Efficient disaster recovery implementations are thus a necessity for organizations to ensure business continuity. The disaster recovery methods should ensure that the communication apparatus is up and running at all the times.

While having a network connection a decent bandwidth is vital, effective plans for data migration should also be in place that can aid during any disaster. Organizations should maintain a geographically diverse cloud infrastructure since VoIP networks have no geographic boundaries. This would ensure that local disasters have no impact on the system functionality. Basically, the clients can have backup server at a different location as a point of redundancy.

Having extensive experience in IT support and systems engineering, Anthony Ortega, in a blog for, mentions that Network redundancy requires three levels of redundancy:

• Dedicated backup sites with multiple paths to connect to them.
• Different service providers delivering redundant IP bandwidth at either location to help ensure that there is connectivity through different carriers in the event of network failure at any one of the locations.
• Network clusters or computer clusters that geographically provide network connectivity in case of network disruption at the main office.

Companies should ensure that their VoIP service providers deliver all the three requirements. They should also incorporate the VoIP service provider into their disaster recovery testing to check for issues and work with them to rectify the problems.

An ideal VoIP provider should also be carrier neutral, allowing clients to install backup connections. Remote access to the VoIP system should be accessible to the workforce of an organization through web interface allowing them to reconfigure their settings by using VoIP phones. The recovery plan should include call forwarding or redirecting to these alternate locations.

In case of on-premise VoIP, it is advisable to have a backup of the database associated with the system. The data backed up should contain all the information required to restore the system in case of any failure. It is also important to have a disaster recovery site where all the data can migrate to in case of a disaster. Having battery backup systems, and spare circuit boards or wireless phones as a backup will also help in the data recovery for on-premise VoIP.

Taking into consideration how power backup is necessary for almost all voice services, the Federal Communications Commission has now come out with new rules by which, ‘Modern voice services will be required to ensure that a technical solution for eight hours of standby backup power is available for customers at the point of sale’. The rule further states that in a few years time, service providers will also be required to offer the option of an additional 24 hours standby backup power.

With multiple vendors providing backup solutions, it can be concluded that the use of VoIP in the business space is only going to grow in the years to come, playing a major role in bringing businesses ever so closer.