Over the weekend, the weather finally changed, with temperatures in the high 60’s on Saturday. It’s not something I generally get excited about, but after this year’s brutal winter I took advantage of the break from the cold to go on a long run with friends. It was on this run that someone asked me, “How is it that my home phone never goes down but that a number for one of Ashburn’s biggest data centers can, and recently did, with only a busy tone for those trying to get through?”
Knowing what I do for a living, he went on to explain that one of the employees at the data center had been fired and chosen to turn off the switches before walking out, which brought the whole center to a standstill. In fact, not only was he able to bring down all of the managed hosted services, but the VOIP-based PBX system was also shutoff, which prevented the entire support staff from making or receiving calls. To make matters worse, every client who tried to call customer support heard nothing but a busy tone. Doesn’t help when one of those clients is the state government.
Nice exit, right?!
Any company providing hosted services should have in place Internet redundancies, with switches housed in secure locations and in a such a manner that both the primary and backup cannot be turned off simultaneously (as was the case above). However, this simply establishes the very basic of security measures. In addition to Internet redundancies, all companies providing hosted services should have a partnership with a counterpart able to leverage the power of tier 1 carriers. With billions of dollars invested in building resilient infrastructures, such a resource can help prevent your clients from ever hearing that dreaded busy signal ever again.
Here is how.
When a customer signs up for inbound services, they either port over or purchase toll and/or non-toll free numbers as required. In the event the customer requires a new number, the carrier can supply the number from their own database or, if number porting is needed, have the opposing carrier complete the transfer. In either case, the number(s) are registered with the carrier. What is important to note, is that in the case of all major call center and VOIP-based PBX system providers today, the call center and carrier are both the carrier and the service provider. At 3CLogic, however, the carriers are independent entities.
Why does this matter?
When a call is made to a telephone-registered number, a call is routed to the carrier using an SMS database. The carrier then determines which customer/call center is configured for that number and sends the call. If the number is destined for a call center, then that application takes over the call and is likely routed in the following manner: 1) VOIP Gateways 2) SIP Routers 3) IVR Services 4) ACD Service 5) Agent. Unfortunately, within traditional call centers, all of these services (with the exception of the agent) are performed on centralized servers, meaning that one flip-of-the-switch takes everything (and I mean all of it) down. In the case of 3CLogic, the separation of the call center solution and the carrier provides an added level of protection from such troubles. In this case, the Tier 1 carrier provides intelligent call routing on their own redundant VOIP gateway to ensure that a call is properly forwarded only if the downstream services are up (if not, calls are forwarded to backup numbers). In addition, the SIP routers, IVR, and ACD services are deployed within redundant centers on Amazon AWS to ensure both reliability and scalability.
Put simply, all your eggs are not residing in one basket. The services are distributed and the responsibilities delegated in such a manner that a simple blow cannot take your entire company down.
We all have bad days, but don’t let one flick of a swich facilitate how bad those days can be. Take a hard look at how redundant your system really is. You might be surprised.