October 5, 2021 // Product
With one of our competitors experiencing extended outages due to a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack, and a recent day-long Facebook outage, reliability is on everyone's mind. It's tempting to try to take advantage of these outages, and attempt to convince customers your company won't have these problems. While it may be true that customers won't have these problems, it's important to examine the broader question.
Reliability is an important consideration when it comes to communications, in fact it’s critical for any 24/7 communications platform. And, while it would be silly to discount the importance of reliability, it isn’t the end-all be-all. Instead, we like to think about reliability as the bare minimum, a prerequisite for actual service. Even though a communications provider has great uptime, the real question is are they dependable? It’s one thing for their platform to be up, but it’s a whole other thing for them to be dependable when things go wrong.
Likely the companies attempting to "make hay" while their competitors experience outages are either marketing without talking to their own platform operators, or covering their eyes to their own issues. Every company has vulnerabilities and anyone could be the next target.
The not-so-secret secret in the industry is that things break. Even if your provider somehow manages the impossible -- 100% uptime, all the time -- they rely on a host of downstream carriers who will have issues. So, the question quickly moves past the provider’s reliability and on to how they address downstream issues. Can you depend on them? When there is a disaster, is your provider going to step in and help, or are they going to say “it's not our fault” and leave you to attempt to figure it out by yourself without any levers to pull?
Here at Voxology, when issues arise, we aren’t looking to play the blame game. Even in situations where an issue is outside our control, we still work together with customers to troubleshoot and find solutions. It would be easy to say it’s not our problem. But that’s not our style. We care about our customers and what they are trying to accomplish with their communications. Can you depend on your current platform or providers to come through for you when you need it most?
Being able to trust and depend on your communications platform is the goal. If your provider proves they are there to help when you need it most, it strengthens the relationship and offers peace of mind. One area where dependability is especially important is emergency notifications. Imagine being in a situation where you need to get thousands of emergency messages out as quickly as possible, but something goes wrong, and your communications provider is nowhere to be found.
Voxology has been delivering emergency notifications at scale for over 15 years. We have firsthand experience dealing with major issues arising at the worst possible time. Wherever the issue manifests -- in our customer’s application, inside our platform, or with a downstream provider, we work hard to clear it instead of just determining whether or not it is our issue.
In addition to the support we offer during an incident, we also help our clients spot issues proactively, even issues unrelated to Voxology. We are able to do this through our advanced monitoring and alerting system. When we see something unusual, we quickly let the customer know. Then, we work together with their team to investigate and resolve.
After an incident, a company's transparency comes into focus. What lessons were learned? What root causes have actually been addressed to change the dynamic in the future? Part of your perspective on Voxology's dependability will come from the ways in which we perma-fix problems that we experience. Look for more details in days to come about Voxology's methods of responding to our failures.
In an ideal world, issues would never happen. But in the real world of telecommunications where one must deal with a sea of different providers, old and new technologies, and the overall telecom infrastructure, things break. It is far better to prepare for your worst case scenarios rather than just hope everything goes according to plan.
Here are a few recent stories to highlight our team’s dependability:
In the recent case of Hurricane Ida, one or more of the major US carriers were impaired for an extended period of time. When our customer who provides emergency messaging in an area that was impacted by the storm was unable to complete calls on a major carrier, they came to us to see if there was any way we could get their calls to go through. Our teams worked together to secure the sustained capacity to place the calls, bypassing the carrier who was unable to complete them. As a result of the hard work and collaboration from both teams, these emergency calls were able to be completed through Voxology, a huge victory despite the catastrophic outage of their primary carrier.
During a recent holiday, our platform monitoring uncovered abnormalities in our customer’s typical ASR. Our team responded quickly and even after determining the issue was not within our control, we continued to explore and discovered that one of their large customers was down and not receiving calls. Our team then passed along the information to our customer through a shared Slack channel so it could be addressed.
A recent wildfire threatened a small town within a California school district who relies on our platform to deliver parent/guardian notifications. After the fire had impaired regular communications systems for the town, local officials noticed that the school’s communications were still functioning and asked if they could use the school’s system to deliver emergency notifications to the residents. As the provider of these notifications, we agreed. Because our platform was still running successfully, even in the midst of a natural disaster, we were excited to help out and deliver the crucial emergency notifications to their community.
At the end of the day, you want a communications provider who actually cares about the things you are trying to accomplish. While reliability is important, the best service goes beyond that. Choosing a provider who is dependable will allow you to gain greater peace of mind with your communications.
Here at Voxology, our team is truly invested in the success of our customers. We believe that great communication starts with listening, which is why we take the time to listen to your specific business needs and provide customized support. The combination of our knowledgeable and empathetic team with our next gen technology and tools ensures that we will do everything in our power to help you identify and solve any issues that arise.