Keeping up communications: Tips for effective Disaster Recovery planning

When developing a business continuity plan, it’s important that businesses don’t overlook their voice systems. It may seem obvious, but it can be easily done. In a world where data networks, applications and internet-powered processes are so central to business operations, ensuring their availability can easily overshadow that of telecoms.

This imbalance can expose businesses to a number of risks. Telephony downtime can lead to a drop in customer service satisfaction, missed sales and a loss in employee productivity.

This is because, in the majority of disaster situations, the ‘disaster’ is often localised at the business site. Think disruptions such as local power cuts or regional bad weather. In terms of voice networks, while outbound calls must inevitably be put on hold, inbound callers (who are unaware of any problems) will still dial in and be faced with an unanswered call or, even worse, a dead line leading to frustration.

Many businesses will be tempted to stay with their existing telecoms provider for convenience, but may not realise that they are missing out on improved cost­efficiency and productivity gains by switching to a new provider.

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Moving to a cloud hosted solution can help. It gives businesses more flexibility in their telecoms and greater resilience against disruptions.

With cloud, telephony data is stored offsite. Phone numbers, hunt groups and any call plans can all be accessed remotely. When combined with headsets for softphone capability on laptops or tablets and mobile devices, users can have same functionality offsite as they would have at their desks.

Should the office be inaccessible, an inbound call management system that is connected to the cloud allows business continuity plans to be activated remotely. Calls are immediately rerouted to alternative teams or departments and the business can have a better degree of control over recovery procedures.

To prevent and respond to disaster, businesses need to ensure they not only focus their efforts on disaster risk reduction, but also on post-disaster response. This means having a thorough plan that considers all key networks (including voice), and having the right tools that allow businesses to quickly and easily pick up operations after any sort of disruption.

Do you know what to do if disaster strikes?

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21 December 2016 | Cem Ahmet

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.