Business Phones Systems Should be Maintained just like Computers

Last week my company’s IT person informed me that security and maintenance upgrades were needed on our main office computer. Like just about all business owners these days without hesitation I authorized him to move forward with it!

Yet when I speak to business owners and managers about taking the same approach with their telephone system most times I get a very different response! This  in spite of the fact that the need and sense of urgency are  very much the same!  The reason I think is first of foremost due to the fact that;

Phones have an image problem.

Old phone

The fact that you can go into a retail store such Walmart, Target etc. purchase a phone, take it home, plug it in and either it works or doesn’t is the big problem here. That image in business owner and managers minds I am convinced leads to untold bad decision regards leading to millions of dollars avoidable phone equipment repair costs! Add to that the costs associated with disruption to the business these outages incur and you have disaster of major proportions completely due to “knowing neglect

Facts to consider:

  1. The business phone system phone on your desk  in many ways has more in common with your computers than the home phone you purchased in Walmart!Most critically unlike your home phone  –it is connected to a main CPU that in function operates much like a mainframe computer. Many of the same precautions one should take to keep a computer running effectively need to be taken with ones phones!
  2. Companies with VOIP phone systems – especially the premise based non hosted VOIP systems just like your computers are software based and therefore extremely vulnerable to attack! One of my company’s clients last year got hit for 1 K in international calls after being hacked. Hackers can shut down the phone system, causing outages that are costly to fix and can bring their business to a near halt!
  3. Even older business phone systems are under constant attack from power surges. These “silent assassins” are slowly wearing away at your phone system every minute of every day!
  4. While you may shut down your computers periodically — your phones are operating 24/7/365!

Good idea with VisionHere are the best ways to protect your phone system:

  1. Make sure your phone system software is up to date: This is a must! Phone system software is just like computer software. No software is “perfect” when it’s first released! Therefore the software updates that  on a periodic basis get  released will help insure that ongoing critical imperfections are  corrected and — most importantly — evolving security related holes in the software get addressed!
  2. Have your phone system looked at by a telecom professional at least once a year: In most parts of the US 1 hour of tech time once a year will cost $150 or less. A buddy of mine spends that much on an oil change for his Mercedes – and he get that done 3 times a year! Maintain your phone system like a Mercedes and it most cases it will serve you as well or better than a “Benz” – less the chances of car sickness!
  3. If you have a problem get all of it addressed immediately. Unlike a computer there are work around things do a damaged part of the phone system that will temporarily solve an immediate issue. If part a component it’s just a matter of time unit the rest of it fails! Don’t wait! When that component fails it could very well take the whole system with it!
  1. Make sure everything is properly surge suppressed. Ideally by an electrician but at the very least make sure your phone system is connected to a battery backup unit of 1500 VA or higher. If you still have old system phone lines, make sure your phone vendor has added a surge suppression product to your equipment
  1. Finally get away from the “if it aint broke don’t fix it mentality”. Unlike store bought phones a phone system could be having issues that you won’t notice until it’s too late.  Just like your computers regular maintenance by a telecom professional can help identify those things and help you keep ahead of those issues. Prevention always costs less than the alternative!