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How to Build a Redundant Phone System for Your Business

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How to Build a Redundant Phone System for Your Business

In today’s business world, communication is everything. Your customers need to reach you, and you need to be able to contact your employees. So if your phone system goes down, it can seriously impact your business. In fact, according to a 2016 report by Ponemon Institute, downtime can cost a company up to $9,000 per minute

When your network and connectivity are disrupted due to an outage, natural disaster, or cyberattack, your business cannot function optimally. And this means your customers may not be able to connect with you – leading to a drop in customer satisfaction. By having a redundant phone system in place, you can rest assured knowing that your business will stay connected, especially in an emergency.

Voice redundancy is an important part of your business’s disaster preparedness plan and helps maintain business continuity.

Before we look at how to build a redundant phone system, let’s look at how voice redundancy works.

What is Voice Redundancy?

Voice redundancy (also called geo-redundancy) is the process of designing a phone system to remain operational, even in the event of a disaster. A redundancy plan typically includes: 

  • cloud-based technology
  • backup power sources and servers 
  • teams and servers spread across multiple locations
  • backup routing strategies
  • and various phone lines. 

For phone systems, redundancy is often achieved by using VoIP technology. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems use the internet to make and receive calls. This cloud communication infrastructure and technology gives you much-needed freedom and flexibility as you are not tied to one location or device.

VoIP and redundancy go hand-in-hand because if one server or location’s connection goes down, you can easily switch to another without any service interruptions. With VoIP, this means forwarding incoming calls to a different active location or group of employees.

Benefits of Voice Redundancy

Besides ensuring your business is optimally run at all times, what else can you achieve with a redundant phone system? Here are the core benefits:

  • High-availability phone service with high uptime
  • Business continuity
  • Access to failover options and features
  • Network reliability
  • Increased customer trust and satisfaction

What to Keep in Mind When Building Redundancy Into Your Phone System?

There are a few things to consider when planning a voice redundancy system: 

  • The size of your business
  • Your business’s voice needs
  • Your budget, and
  • Available solutions. 

Let’s look at them in more detail:

1. Business Size

The first thing to consider when building a redundant phone system is the size of your business. Voice redundancy for a small business will differ from one for a large enterprise. So, it’s important to evaluate your business’ unique infrastructure. Do you have teams (local, global, remote) spread across multiple locations? And will they be included in your redundancy plan? What equipment and offices must be protected? And so on.

2. Business Voice Needs

Then determine your business’s voice needs. How many phone lines does your business need? What are your peak call times? Which departments need to be available and accessible at all times? Do these teams need backup teams? Do you need the ability to forward calls to different locations or devices? What devices and calling features do your teams need to maintain business continuity?

You want to make sure your IT infrastructure can support these goals. And, you will need a VoIP provider that offers failover capabilities.

3. Available Solutions

Once you’ve identified what you need your phone system to do, you can look for the solution. There are a number of voice redundancy solutions available on the market. The best solution for your business will depend on your specific needs and requirements. 

Consider everything from equipment to software. Look specifically for cloud providers who can support your communication needs and work well with your phone system. In some cases, this means upgrading your current systems with new software and integrations. In other cases, you may need to replace your entire setup. Speak with different providers to understand what works best for your needs.

When looking for a VoIP provider, find one that offers: 

4. Budget

Next, consider your budget. The expense of implementing a redundant phone system depends on your needs and resources. It is, however, an important investment in your business’s continuity, making it worthwhile.

When you break it down, you’ll realize that it is not always complicated or labor-intensive. For instance, your business should already have backup equipment and servers in place. So, you will need a cloud phone service provider who supports redundancy. Most VoIP providers will offer voice redundancy within their service. This is generally a more affordable option than building it all from scratch. Shop around to find the right solution for your business.

5. Set up Geo-Redundancy

Finally, we come to setting up voice redundancy within your business phone system. The first step is to include backup initiatives within your disaster recovery plan.

Start with your network and its elements. Work with your IT teams to set up backup power, servers, routers, switches, access points, etc. 

If using cloud communication tools such as a CRM or VoIP service, check with your provider about how they maintain continuity. In most cases, cloud services come with their own geo-redundancy. For instance, if their main server fails, they have backup servers enabling users to get back to work with little to no enterprise downtime

On top of that, they may even offer failover features and capabilities that you can customize and set up. For example, you can use failover forwarding to automatically send calls to another line, location, or device, in case the primary receiver cannot answer them. This way, if your main office is inaccessible, you can forward calls to a satellite team or your smartphone.

Protect for Business Phone System by Planning in Advance

Redundancy is key when it comes to building a reliable and high-availability phone system. By taking the time to understand your communication needs and budget, you can put together a phone solution designed explicitly for your teams.

If you are considering building a redundant phone system for your business, contact a telecommunications consultant to discuss your options!


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Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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TECHNOLOGY

HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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