3 Easy Steps to Migrate a Toll-Free Number to the Cloud

My Post - 2019-09-11T110114.195.pngWelcome to the second piece in our Cloud Migration Best Practices series.

Having owned and operated a nationwide all-IP voice network for more than a decade, we’ve seen a lot of our customers migrate their telephony from on-prem to the cloud. Since customer service and co-creation is part of who we are at Bandwidth, we’ve been in the trenches with our customers, and felt their pain as they’ve migrated. In this series, we outline the biggest migration challenges we’ve seen over and over, and share what you can do to avoid them.

The second challenge in our series is a problematic implementation caused by hesitancy and half-measures. It’s what happens when well-intended caution backfires.

Half-measure: Forwarding high-profile numbers to the cloud

In a nutshell: It can cause your high-profile toll-free number to go down.

Sometimes businesses with high-profile toll-free numbers (TFNs) decide the risk for disruption is too high to port those numbers to their cloud platform. (For more info on migration porting headaches and how to eliminate them, see our first post.) As a work-around, most major Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platforms and some Conferencing solutions offer the option to forward traffic from a TFN to a group of local numbers (TNs), so porting those high-profile numbers isn’t necessary. Fine in theory, potentially disastrous in practice, often leading to downtime for the very toll-free number you’re trying to protect.

Why doesn’t it work?

When you opt to forward instead of port your toll-free number, platforms typically offer blocks of your unused local TN’s to carry the traffic. You pick your block of TNs (which generally reside in one or two local markets), and start using your forwarded toll-free number through the cloud platform. The problem is that this provisioning process, within the cloud platform, is a manual one, so if toll-free traffic spikes, the number of endpoints don’t react accordingly unless a human goes in and makes adjustments.

You see, while the CCaaS providers’ cloud offerings are scalable, the local PSTN isn’t—and was never built to be. So when a local PSTN market isn’t prepared for the volume of traffic that suddenly forwards, local market outages can occur. Now, that’s a lot of telecom-speak… think about it this way:

It’s like traffic in Austin

Picture all the highways and roads in Austin, Texas. There are a ton—enough to handle all the traffic in the city. The infrastructure is substantial, but finite, just like the capacity of the local PSTN. Now imagine that all the cars that travel those Austin roads are concurrent calls. Everything runs fine, even when it’s busy. Until one day, all of the white cars in the United States get dropped into Austin, Texas. The city can’t handle it, and everything gridlocks. That’s what happens when large organisations with high-profile toll-free numbers forward nationwide toll-free traffic to a block of local TNs. And that’s why your toll-free number goes down.

Why It’s Potentially Disastrous

We don’t mean to be dramatic, but there are three big problems with this kind of market outage, all of which impact your bottom line: – Read more