The importance of redundancy

The importance of redundancy

Modern business of all sizes are mostly, or completely, reliant on the internet as a means of communication and information exchanges. Our business is no different. Today’s RingCentral outage led to me writing this brief entry on how we help protect against ISP and telephony outages.

Redundancy
This seems obvious, and it is assumed that it is costly, but it doesn’t have to be. While we use RingCentral for our main virtual PBX provider, we also have backup phones that run on Verizon’s reliable wireless network.

In terms of internet access we use Comcast Business Class cable for our primary internet connection. Our backup is a Verizon 4G hotspot that we also use for mobile internet access in our outreach clinics or while travelling.

Keys to selecting redundant systems
1) Ensure that the price is reasonable. Verizon’s wireless home phone service costs us $20/month. Our backup wireless/mobile internet is $50/month. Given our absolute reliance on internet access and telephony these costs are reasonable insurance.
2) Ensure that your backup system does not have the same point of failure. For example, we wouldn’t want to use an VoIP based telephony backup since a DNS or ISP issue would take down our primary and secondary modes of communication. In our case the Verizon system works on the cell service, and has a battery backup so it can function even when the power is out.

If you’re a small business I hope that you’ve found this quick post helpful in designing your systems!

-Neil Shah

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