Using Phone.com Virtual Office as a PBX Backup

By: Alon Cohen, EVP Phone.com

I was recently invited to join an interesting forum for Small – Medium Business IT professionals in NY called “NY SMB IT Professionals Meetup Group” the group is organized by an entrepreneur called Mor Sela, and is meeting once a month at the PC Magazine offices in NYC.

The July session was about new Cisco/Linksys products and their strategy towards the underserved SMB market.

The session left plenty of room for open discussion and networking. At this point I was approached by few IT professionals who brought up an interesting problem.

The problem was: “I know how to back up the company data offsite to ensure businesses continuation, but what about the phone system?” How can one provide a cost effective solution to back up a fancy PBX connected with T1 lines and fancy VoIP phones, without actually duplicating and hosting a redundant system offsite?

Well, our Phone.com Virtual office product provides the perfect disaster recovery solution for your PBX System and here is how:

While the usual competing hosted PBX solutions are billed heftily on a per seat per month basis, Phone.com actually charges practically for minutes and DIDs. If you think of the minutes consumed by a backup system that does not use any minutes while standing by, this is just a perfect situation where you save significantly. Effectively you end up with a very low cost per month that starts at less than $10 per month.

The Phone.com solution requires no hardware to install, no software to download and can be setup and managed remotely from any web site or even by calling our 24*7 customer service center.

The Phone.com solution is so flexible that it can probably be set up to provide practically all of the generic incoming call traffic and functionality your office phone system has. The Phone.com Virtual Office features support both basic and complex features like IVR using your existing recordings, queues, auto attendant, company directory, call transfers, faxes, voicemail to e-mail and much more without requiring any of your existing office equipment to be operational, and actually assume none-operational when you plan your disaster recovery process.

The phone.com solution will utilize employees’ company or private cell phones, home phones and any phone line available to the employees and management at any location including their homes.

The Phone.com Virtual office will handle all incoming calls and provides access to all customers as if they were using the original company’s PBX.

To complete the picture, when you design your backup system make sure to talk to your voice-T1 service provider to re-route calls to your backup phone number [assigned to Phone.com] whenever your voice-T1 line is down. This way you don’t need to introduce, yet another, T1 switching apparatus that may create a new single point of failure, but rather use whatever basic but stable functionality the incumbents can easily offer.

Update: For automatic fail-over, you should have Direct Termination Overflow (DTO) or a similar service from you phone carrier. The DTO service can automatically re-route calls to an alternate phone number (in this case the number for your Phone.com PBX service) at times when the carrier is unable to reach your primary PBX. US toll free numbers that include DTO capabilities are offered by local service providers. You can also perform dry runs on your backup system manually by asking your phone carrier to re-route calls at your request to the Phone.com system.

As an SMB IT professional there is probably additional recurring service revenue opportunity associated with keeping the backup system updated with the main PBX system’s changes and additions. A work that could be performed from any web site, at any time, and is backed up by Phone.com’s 24×7, US based support team.