Supporting Remote Work with SIP? 4 Things to Do ASAP.
Work from home

With the majority of the country under either voluntary or mandatory orders to stay at home, the need to support remote work has become urgent for most companies. If you are struggling to make it a smooth transition, it’s no wonder. The business landscape and related technical needs have never changed so abruptly.

While no one can anticipate every potential snag, below, we address a few that could come up for organizations using SIP trunking for communications. If you address them in short order, you can focus on other concerns.

Attend to 911 Addresses

This is not the time to have trouble getting first responders to your employee’s location. If employees took their SIP phones home and they have an enhanced DID that supports e911, make sure that the addresses are updated, or the first responders will show up at your office, not the employee’s location. While any DID cal dial 911, not all DIDs have 911 address capabilities which will result in the call being routed to a Public-Safety Answering Point (PSAP) distribution center before sending to the correct 911 response center thus slowing emergency response.  

In addition, calls to 911 without addresses result in expensive surcharges by the PSAP.  So, if employees are going to be using their office numbers at home, organizations should strongly consider making sure that every DID is upgraded to enhanced supporting 911 address location and that each extension makes a test call to 933 to verify their phone is correctly provisioned.

Combat Fraud

Sadly, some people will try to take advantage of your network even during a pandemic. The switch to work from home may mean new devices connecting to your PBX. Make sure you ensure that they are using complex passwords. If someone uses “1234” or “password” for their softphone, thinking that it’s just a phone, hackers will find the hole in your PBX and exploit it. The most common types of telephony fraud are domestic and international toll fraud.

While SIP.US does have extensive toll fraud monitoring in place, the best way to stop potential financial losses due to fraud is to prevent it from happening in the first place.  Make sure you are enforcing complex passwords even on extensions to your PBX.

Consider Increasing Capacity

If you are forwarding calls from your PBX to employees’ home or mobile phones, make sure you have the capacity on your SIP trunks to support this additional call burden. A forwarded call will be the equivalent of two calls across a SIP network, so plan accordingly.

SIP.US customers can add channels on-demand. Because we do not require long-term commitments, you can easily eliminate or reduce those extra channels if they become unnecessary in the future. This makes bumping up your capacity a low-risk way to ensure that all calls are supported.

Ensure Business Continuity 

We hope it doesn’t happen, but there’s always the possibility of a hardware problem with your PBX while no one is in the office to attend to it. There is also a non-zero chance that cloud PBXs might be unreachable as network capacities are saturated. To ensure that calls reach their destination, SIP.US allows users to specify a Primary SIP trunk, Secondary SIP trunk, and PSTN failover number.

This means that we will first attempt to send the incoming call to your Primary SIP trunk (presumably your Primary IP-PBX or ATA), if for some reason there is no response from that destination, we will attempt to send that call to your Secondary SIP trunk (presumably your Secondary IP-PBX or ATA), then if that still fails you have the option of finally routing the call to a PSTN failover number of your choice.

We hope this advice helps at least a little bit in these uncertain times. As always, the SIP.US team is there to help in any way we can.