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A Landline? C’mon

When AT&T – and other carriers to some extent – suffered a massive outage affecting major metropolitan areas, people couldn’t make phone calls, including 911 emergency calls. In one city, a fire department official suggested people use a landline to call 911. Who has a true landline? With our dependence on technology, we need to look at wider-ranging solutions.

It’s our dependence on technology that made the landline reference so ludicrous. What most offices and homes call landlines are actually internet-based VOIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol – systems. If your internet goes down, your phone goes down. If your “landline” depends on a wireless internet provider and their system goes down, your phone goes down.

What do you do? Your options are not exotic, and they’re definitely not cheap.

For example, do you need to have two internet connections coming into your office? That’s essentially paying double for a redundant backup system. It’s something we did when our Verizon service had too many outages to tolerate. It’s an expense I can tolerate (bitterly) because the connectivity is so vital to my business.

You could consider carrying two cellular phones and hope that both carriers don’t go down at the same time. If that concept can work for you, just make sure that your second line is not from a reseller of your primary carrier.

For employees, you could backup your VOIP landline by asking certain employees to use their cell phones when the office system goes down. You could encourage them to use their phones by paying a part of their monthly plan. You could also have several cell phones available in the office for emergency use.

Those are all forms of insurance against an outage, and some of them are a bit tongue-in-cheek. At the end of the day, you need to make your own risk assessment. But you can have another form of insurance that follows good IT practices.

We think one of the best steps you can take is to use the cloud and a local server for all your apps and data with instantaneous backup in multiple locations. If your service goes down, it’s your best shot to retain your data. You can devise other plans to work around a connectivity failure, but the success of any plan will depend on the integrity of your data.

Any emergency plan or sequence of plans needs to recognize two things: 1.) We depend on technology for just about every facet of our lives. 2.) Nobody can guarantee 100 percent reliability.

We can help you assess your own level of acceptable risk and examine your technology and the people involved to develop an emergency response plan if your systems go down. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to set up an appointment – and hope everything is up and running when we meet.