In recent months we’ve seen the Caribbean and southern US battered by relentless natural disasters – namely Hurricane Irma. Hurricanes and earthquakes are extreme forces of nature and the disruption to human life is considerable, with great expense going into rebuilding infrastructure, houses and reinstating services such as communications and power. This post-event action plan can also be known as “Disaster Recovery” and is a common term in business, describing a plan or process that will be followed to get your business back up and running if it is dramatically affected by some form of incident. There is another term, called “Business Continuity”, which describes how your business will continue to run as effectively as possible during that incident and while the disaster recovery plan is taking place.
There are many forms of incident that can have an impact on a business, that aren’t as extreme as hurricanes and earthquakes. Something as simple as a power cut. If your office is without power, how will you continue to go about your business? What will your staff be doing? Blocked sewers, no heating in the winter, fire, flood and even contagious illnesses can all cause a complete office closure.
When thinking about your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans, make sure you consider all of the technology that is available to you. With the right infrastructure in place BEFORE an incident, you can continue to function as a business with minimal impact to your staff, to the business and, most importantly, to your customers. Below are a few simple ideas to help with Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.
By utilising home working the reliance on roads, traffic and office space is greatly reduced. There is less chance of your staff becoming involved in an accident on the way to work and less chance of them being late due to disruption on public transport. Very little is required from you as a business apart from VPN access to your corporate network and a decent internet connection at the premises. Technologies such as FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet), FTTP (Fibre to the premises) and EFM (Ethernet First Mile) can provide robust, business grade connectivity.
By hosting your data and voice servers in a datacentre (The Cloud) you are placing them into a dedicated, controlled, secure and stable environment. They are air conditioned, clean and benefit from redundant power supplies, resilient communications links and can be scaled up and down to suit your needs. The environments are secure, usually with restricted access, CCTV and 24/7 security. No chance of burglars running off with them in the night!!
Another “Cloud” technology. You get the same benefits as described above, but this also allows you to take your calls anywhere you like. If your plan is to allow all staff to work from home if the office is unavailable, then they can simply use their laptops, and in some cases mobile phone applications, to take business calls.
VoIP technology has vastly improved Business Continuity plans. Its flexibility and delivery mechanism means that you are no longer tied to a piece of copper entering your building. Most SIP trunk platforms allow you to redirect numbers at a network level, meaning if for some reason your communications platform is down or your office is empty, you can deliver calls to mobiles, satellite offices or a telephone answering service. What’s more, new technology allows you to implement your disaster recovery plan at the touch of a button enabling you to be reactive to such disasters.
Natural disasters and other disrupting situations are unavoidable but you can minimise the impact to your business by implementing a solid disaster recovery plan.