Building Your Business Continuity Plan


Business continuity planning is performed by an organization to assure that their technology will remain 100% operational in the face of a man-made or natural disaster.

Whether a company offers professional services or produces multi-function widgets, they use technology to operate. The loss of technology at any time can impact business relationships and the company’s bottom line. In fact, in the past two years, over 50 percent of businesses experienced an unforeseen interruption, and the vast majority (81%) of these interruptions caused the business to close one or more days.

Business continuity planning addresses the potential for these situations in advance. With some careful pre-planning, businesses can remain profitable and effective even in the face of a man-made or natural disaster and any accompanying outages.

See this White Paper for a step-by-step road map on how and why to build a comprehensive Business Continuity  plan.


The Need for Redundant Services & Equipment

By Scott Sinclair

In the Business Continuity world, the word redundant means “superfluity” or something that is “extra” or “non-essential” but is put in place in order to preserve the status quo in the event of an outage. Redundancy puts alternate resources into place that are called into service when needed. For example, at home, families may have a backup generator. The generator is “redundant” in that it is not necessary, until power is lost.

Perhaps the most common example of redundancy in business is data back-up. Most businesses regularly do (or should!) back-up their data, but the back-up is only needed if their data is lost.

The cornerstone of business continuity is building redundancies into a plan that makes sense for the organization if it loses one or more critical functions. Organizations choose their redundancies based upon the needs of the business and the technologies that are most critical to their day-to-day operations.

When developing a business continuity strategy, it is vitally important to conduct an honest SWOT analysis. Do not let budget constraints steer you away from the development of an honest, effective plan. If budget is an obstacle, implement your plan over time, but don’t take shortcuts. And as always, consult a trusted advisor to guide you through the process. For more information feel free to contact XCLUTEL at:

Adaptation Planning & Business Continuity

By Scott Sinclair


Most crisis management activities occur during or after the event, in an effort to manage an emerging or apparent situation. Depending on the business, crisis management may include an evacuation plan for employees during the event or media relations afterwards.

Business continuity planning takes place before a disaster hits and it focuses on preserving an uninterrupted flow of services by the business in the event of an unfortunate incident. The business continuity solution is like the National Guard. It is always there, but only called into service when the disaster strikes.


Another, more positive pseudonym for a “disaster recovery plan” is an “adaptation plan.” While “disaster recovery” is a common term to describe what occurs in the aftermath of an event, the term “adaptation plan” describes a roadmap for the business to continue in the face of the newly created condition.

The two terms are interchangeable.

Disaster Recovery = Adaptation Plan.

For more information please contact us at:


The Truth Behind VoIP

By Scott Sinclair

Voice over IP (VoIP) was introduced to the main stream well over 10-years ago by companies like Vonage, Comcast and Magic Jack. As a result, many business owners believe that VoIP will save them money and deliver them an advanced set of features and services that traditional digital systems and services cannot. This impression is absolutely false. VoIP is a fantastic technology when used correctly and when all parties are informed of the deployment pros and cons.

VoIP has some serious pitfalls in some applications, if deployed solely to save money. Here are four different examples of VoIP applications and considerations:

  1. VoIP used by telecom providers to move voice traffic over long distances.
  2. VoIP used by businesses within their organization, to eliminate traditional digital voice communication products.
  3. VoIP used within Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) fabric, to deliver voice service to businesses.
  4. VoIP used in the residential market to bypass traditional analog lines and services.

1. VoIP used by telecom providers for long haul applications – Telecom providers have been using this service behind the scenes, much longer than the service has been available to the public. VoIP allows telecom companies to move unmetered traffic within their own networks, over great distances for no additional cost. Providers are able to segregate these networks, prioritize traffic and control end-to-end transmissions, thereby delivering a high-quality communication. The switch gear used to control this traffic is far better than the equipment available to most businesses for their in-house networks.

2. VoIP used by businesses in their local area networks (LAN) – Here are some common misconceptions regarding an in-house VoIP deployment:

  • Myth one; “I bought a VoIP system and now all my traffic is VoIP”. FALSE. You can have a VoIP solution within your organization and connect to the public network using digital or analog lines and vice versa. Your VoIP solution is not dependent on using VoIP services from the public network.
  • Myth two; “If I install a VoIP system, it will save me money”. FALSE. If you implement a VoIP system within your own network and you take all the necessary voice and data traffic quality considerations in to account, this application will not save you money on services or equipment. So if this is the only reason you are doing it… Stop and consult a trusted advisor.
  • Myth three; “VoIP will give me more features”. FALSE. Today, hybrid voice systems will give you all the same features as a VoIP system. These hybrid systems can use your existing cat.3 or cat.5 cables to deliver a combination of VoIP, digital and analog phones while using a combination of digital, analog and VoIP services in the network. Hybrid systems are very versatile and they do a great job of protecting your past infrastructure investments.

When considering a business VoIP system and implementation, consider the following to assure a more successful result:

  • Make sure your cabling Category 6, gigabit ethernet certified.
  • Try to isolate your voice and data network cabling and switches from each other.
  • Make sure you purchase professional switches and routers that have a proven Quality of Service (QOS) feature. This means staying away from big box retail stores. 😉
  • Try to purchase Power Over Ethernet (POE) switches for the voice network. Most VoIP sets come with local power, but a POE switch can keep your desktop environment clean and make moving phones around the office much easier.

3. VoIP and SIP – Buyer beware. Although this technology is pretty slick and down the road it will enable some pretty cool presence features, it is a bring-your-own-bandwidth (BYOB) product that will not save you money. This will change, but right now sales people are selling this product by convincing businesses to downgrade their available call capacities. They are also leaving out critical information regarding a new practice of charging for incoming calls. I am a fan of SIP, just not the way it is productized today. In my opinion, SIP is more viable as a redundant backup solution rather than a primary service.

4. VoIP for residential market – Pro: It’s cheap. Con: You bring your own bandwidth (BYOB) and the quality can be unreliable at times. Because we are discussing a residential application, the Cons are not reason enough to avoid this product. Call quality is not mission critical in your home. Therefore, the low cost benefit of this service makes it a formidable foe to traditional POTS lines.

It is very important that you rely on a trusted advisor when contemplating a VoIP deployment. If you feel you need to do this in order to keep up with the competition, you are wrong. For more information feel free to contact XCLUTEL at: 708.273.3100 or at:


Cloud Computing; The Return of the Dumb Terminal

By Scott Sinclair

In June of 1988 IBM released their AS/400 server that used RS232 connectors and dumb terminals. Remember those? There had been several predecessor network configurations available prior to 1988, but the AS/400 architecture took off and became a staple in businesses all over the United States. That reign would come to an end as the result of Ethernet cabling standards, PC’s and the Windows family of operating systems. Unlike the previous dumb terminal architecture, Ethernet allowed businesses to install versatile network infrastructure that didn’t require forklift upgrades every few years. Ethernet cabling standards played a significant role in this open standards revolution, by allowing businesses to buy Network Hardware, PC’s and Servers from a number of different manufacturers thereby driving costs lower.

25-years later we are well on our way to revisiting the dumb terminal architecture. With the wide spread adoption of virtual server and desktop technology, the thin client (aka dumb terminal) is becoming a very attractive office network architecture solution for large and small businesses alike.

The most important aspect of deploying a successful hosted network architecture is to make sure that your Internet/Data bandwidth is appropriately sized. Nothing can destroy a state of the art virtual environment like not having enough bandwidth.

For more information on virtual environments, bandwidth and ways to improve your businesses efficiencies, contact us at

BridgePoint Technologies Announces its Strategic Partnership with XCLUTEL Communications

Strategic Alliance Delivers Managed Services, IT Solutions and Integrated Voice and Data Access Services to XCLUTEL and BridgePoint Customers

OAK BROOK, IL, March 19, 2013BridgePoint Technologies, a full service information technology consulting firm, today announces its business partnership with XCLUTEL Communications, a world-class provider of integrated managed telecom solutions.  The strategic alliance provides XCLUTEL customers with BridgePoint’s proven Managed Services and IT solutions, while offering BridgePoint clientele direct access to XCLUTEL’s integrated voice and data access solutions, as well as business telephone systems.

XCLUTEL’s voice and data solutions enable seamless, scalable communication and collaboration capabilities across multi-site, small and mid-size businesses.  BridgePoint’s comprehensive and reliable IT business solutions and managed services, combined with XCLUTEL’s business telephone systems and voice and data access solutions, provide customers value-added service assurance and a comprehensive product suite that fulfills the critical telecom and IT needs of their customers.

“BridgePoint’s IT solutions complement XCLUTEL’s portfolio of voice and data solutions.  Our managed services overlaid on XCLUTEL’s integrated business communication systems improve service delivery and performance,” says Michael Millhouse, President and CEO of BridgePoint Technologies. “This marks another extension of our existing strategic partner relationships, further fortifying our ability to deliver customers comprehensive solutions and support with best-in-class products and services from companies who are experts in their respective fields.  It is a win-win for both organizations as well as customer bases.”

“BridgePoint’s IT business solutions and managed service capabilities enable XCLUTEL to expand its services while fortifying clients’ mission-critical processes by providing 24/7 monitoring, maintenance and the service assurance they expect,” adds Scott Sinclair, CEO of XCLUTEL Communications. “Partnering with BridgePoint enables XCLUTEL to employ a more integrated approach to delivering our suite of holistic telecommunications solutions. Along with a similar customer base, XCLUTEL and BridgePoint also share a commitment to business ethics, product quality and dedication to client support, as well as a common focus on improving the overall customer experience.”

To learn more about BridgePoint’s comprehensive IT solutions, please visit

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About BridgePoint Technologies

BridgePoint Technologies delivers innovative, scalable business solutions to help its clients reduce costs, increase revenue and gain competitive advantage through technology.  The company works closely with clients to understand their unique business needs and develop a roadmap on how best to achieve those goals, helping customers achieve maximum ROI utilizing traditional and emerging technologies. BridgePoint has three strategic business units – IT Staffing, IT Business Solutions and Managed Services – that offer a full suite of IT solutions to its clients, including custom and mobile application development, SharePoint and Virtual Office.  For more information about BridgePoint Technologies, please visit Additional information about BridgePoint can be found on the company’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

About XCLUTEL Communications

XCLUTEL is a world-class provider of tailored telecom solutions for your business that are delivered and managed with valet service. XCLUTEL is a customer service-driven telecom solutions provider who delights its customers.  The complex and carefully crafted solutions the company provides allow customers to run their businesses at maximum efficiency by taking advantage of today’s technology with a partner to guide them every step of the way.  You take care of your passion; XCLUTEL will integrate and manage your tailored solutions.  For more information, visit

Bandwidth for Today’s Business

By: Scott Sinclair

Today’s minimum bandwidth for businesses is 10Mbps versus yesterday’s 1.5Mbps, but don’t jump too fast to 10Mbps. Why? Because we are seeing a much more compelling, long term business case for making 20Mbps the new minimum bandwidth choice. As fast as businesses are realizing that their current 1.5Mbps T1 is obsolete, many others are realizing that 10Mbps is inadequate for cloud based software applications and servers. The 20Mbps option is normally only a few hundred dollars more than 10Mbps and it gives you much more headroom to make servers and applications cloud based without the bottlenecks.

Cable and DSL asynchronous high bandwidth options are not suitable for long term, high demand bandwidth needs. They may temporarily give you a reprieve over your current T1, but these products have serious upload issues. With cloud based applications, servers and hosted phone systems, you are only as good as your weakest link.

When you are shopping for more bandwidth consider the following:

  • Service Level Agreements (SLA’s)
  • Quality of Service (QoS) – Especially if using VoIP from site-to-site
  • Copper vs. Fiber
  • Cloud based computing options
  • Security and Private Network Architecture
  • Upload and Download bandwidth limitations

If you are currently bonding T1’s in order to get more guaranteed bandwidth, you are a candidate for 10 to 20Mbps of ethernet access. For more information visit us at