5 Things to Avoid When Looking For an IP PBXPosted on: 2017-07-11 | Categories: VoIP Services
Shopping for an IP PBX solution that fits your business requirements is not an easy task. There are so many vendors in the market that it can become quite confusing to select just one. It is critical to have a clear idea of what exactly your business needs from an IP PBX. If you don’t, you might purchase a solution that doesn’t have the features you need. Or your business will end up paying for features that your employees do not use.
The underlying VoIP technology is fairly stable at this point, so any quality issues will be the result of ineffective implementation. If you don’t have the in-house expertise to maintain your own systems, you might be better off with a managed solution. Unless your network infrastructure becomes overwhelmed with the additional traffic and struggles to cope, users will not be able to tell the difference between PSTN and VoIP calls.
So what are the red flags to watch out for when upgrading to an IP PBX?
Lack of Support for Open Standards like SIP
The first thing is to avoid any equipment that uses proprietary formats or protocols. No matter what the provider says, there is no need for proprietary hardware or software to deploy VoIP within your organization. The industry standard for VoIP is the SIP or Session Initiation Protocol. Most hardware and software is compatible with SIP, so that should be the foundation of any solution you select.
If you opt for an IP PBX that uses proprietary formats, you might end up spending more on adapters or specialized software to use your own system. This can easily wipe out any savings you get from upgrading to VoIP from traditional landlines. That being said, there are a few additional things to avoid when shopping for an IP PBX solution.
Inadequate Support for Security Tools
Security is an important consideration for VoIP deployments. When you bring voice traffic onto your data network, it is subject to the same problems as all IP data. DDoS attacks, unauthorized and fraudulent usage, malware and social engineering attacks are all possible with hosted VoIP. your new IP PBX should support whatever security protocols are necessary to protect your infrastructure. Never take any promises or guarantees from the seller at face value and ask for explanations if you don’t understand technical jargon.
Lack of Redundancy
Many businesses choose to upgrade their network infrastructure when switching to VoIP. Some might also purchase two Internet connections from different ISPs as a backup if one of them fails. Having adequate backup and recovery options is critical, especially when your business communication depends on it.
Does your IP PBX support automatic failover switching? Does it need any extra software to backup data? Look for an IP PBX solution that fits your network requirements. Make sure that critical components have suitable backup options available. Your system should not have a single point of failure which will bring down all the phones.
Lack of Support for Advanced Features
Not all IP PBX solutions will support advanced features like forwarding voicemail to email inboxes. Some PBX boxes will not support multi party conference calling natively. One of the biggest reasons for switching to VoIP these advanced features that were simply not possible with PSTN based systems. Make sure to look for a box that supports these features, especially if they are important for your business.
For instance, if you have a lot of employees that travel frequently conferencing should be a priority. Don’t just jump in and buy the first IP PBX that fits in your budget. Also keep in mind the future growth and trajectory of the business. A feature that is not really useful today might become essential tomorrow. Make sure that whatever IP PBX you purchase is relatively future proof.
Reporting and Data Management
Today many businesses have regulatory and compliance requirements for voice data. Even if you don’t have compliance issues, call reporting is an important feature for an IP PBX. This feature is often overlooked by businesses when shopping for a PBX system. Remember that if you can’t measure something, it is almost impossible to manage it.
If your IP PBX does not have basic call history and reporting features, it may be more difficult for you to pinpoint the source of problems down the road. Suppose you find that call volume has increased suddenly over a couple of weeks. Without reporting functionality, you never be able to narrow down which department is originating those calls. Has the call volume increase because of more incoming or outgoing calls? This is just one situation where call reporting provides immense value.
Even though VoIP is an established technology at this point, many businesses are new to it. So make sure you avoid IP PBX systems that do not have these basic features.