Cloud-based business phone systems offer a number of advantages over premises-based systems — they’re cost-effective, they support remote and hybrid work models, they are easy to scale, and they offer more features. Nevertheless, many organizations remain skeptical about the reliability of these systems.
Cloud calling solutions are entirely dependent on reliable Internet connectivity, making them susceptible to network outages. Without the ability to make and receive phone calls during an Internet outage, companies could lose customers, productivity and revenue.
In truth, however, cloud calling systems are statistically much more reliable than premises-based private branch exchange (PBX) telephone systems. Unlike cloud systems housed across multiple geographically distributed data centers, an on-prem PBX offers no redundancy. That makes premises-based systems vulnerable to local weather events, power outages, cable cuts and other events that would not impact cloud systems.
Still, vendors such as Cisco understand that businesses need to have a high degree of confidence in their phone system, no matter where it resides. New updates to the company’s Webex Calling platform are designed to eliminate the risk of calls dropping due to network outages and broadband bandwidth issues.
A new site survivability feature will ensure that businesses can continue to make and receive calls during an outage that impacts Webex Calling. In the event of network connectivity issues or an Internet service provider outage, Webex Calling will provide automatic failover to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
The site survivability feature leverages proven Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) technology on physical or virtual Cisco routers. SRST is a Cisco call processing backup mechanism that enables routers to provide basic call handling support for IP phones when they lose connection to remote primary, secondary and tertiary communication manager servers, or when the WAN connection is down.
The SRST router will automatically detect any failures in the network and initiate a process to route calls to the PSTN. Once WAN connectivity is restored, the system automatically shifts call processing back to the primary Cisco Unified Communications Manager cluster. Benefits of the solution include:
- Redundant, localized call processing that helps maximize resilience.
- Intelligent, automatic failover
- A converged voice and data network that helps reduce operational costs
- Centralized configuration and management
- Streamlined migration and investment protection
Site survivability is deployed and managed through Control Hub, the central dashboard for all Webex services and collaboration devices. It is already available for Webex Calling Dedicated Instance, an add-on that creates a private connection between Cisco’s Webex servers and the customer premises. The feature will be available for multitenant environments before the end of the year.
Although skepticism of cloud-based phone systems remains fairly widespread, cloud calling solutions offer too many business benefits to ignore. Solutions such as Webex Calling have become essential for supporting the communications requirements of increasingly distributed workforces, while also reducing the acquisition, management and maintenance costs of on-premises systems.
The addition of site survivability features should reassure companies that moving to the cloud is a safe and sensible decision. Contact us to learn more about making the transition to the cloud with Webex Calling.