BY STEVE FISHER
PHONES ARE THE lifeblood of business.
They’re the primary method of communicating with customers, partners and suppliers
and among employees. So it’s important to
understand the effect of downtime—that
period of time when phone service is interrupted—on a business’s bottom line.
According to the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, 40 percent of small
businesses go out of business following a
disaster. All it takes is a few inches of flood
water, a car crashing into a power pole, a gas
Cloud-based services are the secret
to combating unexpected outages
leak in the building or a neighboring site,
equipment failure or theft, and a business
could experience a phone system outage that
could last days or even weeks.
Would your business fall into that 40 percent? If your business does survive, how
much would it cost you? The Disaster
Recovery Preparedness Council (drbench
mark.org)—an independent research organization for IT disaster recovery management,
research and benchmarking—says 38. 3 percent of businesses lost up to $20,000 due to
losing critical IT services (such as phones) or
data in 2014, with 10 percent losing up to
$100,000 and 19. 6 percent losing from
$50,000 to over $5 million.
Most businesses are still using premises-
based, private branch exchange systems
(PBX) or service from a phone company. And
while that seems as if it would be reliable and
resilient, unexpected events like natural disas-
ters, human-caused accidents or criminal
activity can take a phone system down.
On average, according to a 2012 study by
the Aberdeen Group—a research organization
that helps improve business performance—
with a physical system, a small business of
fewer than 100 employees will experience 1. 7
downtime events annually, averaging 2. 2
hours per event, at a cost of $46,451 per year
($12,420 per hour of downtime).
These numbers increase with the size of a
business. The key to surviving a downtime
event is to maintain a working communications system. If your phones are up, you can
still contact customers and preserve vital relationships while your business gets back up
The cloud to the rescue
Intermedia, a Costco service provider,
says the key to maintaining a working phone
system is to move your phone system and service to the cloud.
“When we talk about a cloud-based
phone system, we mean a service where the
calling platform and features are hosted by a
service provider in its data center, as opposed
to a PBX server that lives in a closet or server
room in your office,” says Mark Sher, director
of product marketing for Intermedia. “With a
cloud-based system, your users connect by
plugging their phones into the internet
instead of making calls over the PBX or a
public switched telephone network that’s run
by the phone company.”
Sher says a cloud-based system is better
than a traditional phone system for the fol-
• It’s simple to set up and manage the sys-
tem because you don’t have to worry about
• Phones are plug-and-play and can be
easily moved from place to place. They only
require an internet connection to work.
• It’s flexible and expandable. You buy only
the equipment and service you need now, but
you can easily add to it as the business grows.
• Even if the business is hit by a power
failure or theft of equipment, the cloud phone
service continues to function and will reroute
calls to your mobile phone.
Intermedia has been providing Costco
members with business phone services for 10
years and has more than 20 years of industry
experience with more than 100,000 satisfied
Costco members receive equipment and
service for, on average, 50 percent off the
price of other providers. More than 40 standard business-class features are included,
such as voicemail, internal and external call
transferring, custom hold music, fax machine
integration and conferencing. C
nodowntime or call 1-866-237-7333
to learn more about business phone
services from Intermedia.