What would happen now if your business had a power cut? What would happen if floods hit your offices? Key staff were ill? No matter the size of your business, when systems go down, the consequences will always be the same and customer service, reputation and profitability are all put at risk. The average cost of downtime can be $250,000 every hour. And according to the Business Continuity Institute, telephony is one of the most at-risk areas, with unplanned IT and telecom outages amongst the top three threats businesses face.
Many businesses only think about putting a recovery plan in place after a disaster has already occurred which can be a very costly approach. The best way to protect your business against disaster is building ‘business as usual’ resilience. To ensure voice availability 24/7, you can put several preventative measures in place, from increasing resilience in your infrastructure to effectively managing inbound call routing.
So, where do you start?
Firstly, you need to choose the right solutions to support your business. Make sure the products you choose are inherently resilient, flexible and easily scalable. Traditional technology is dated and can leave your business at risk unnecessarily. Next generation alternatives to ISDN such as hosted telephony have built in business continuity features. Whether it’s a firewall to protect against cyber threat, automatic failover in the network to a secondary location or the ability to easily create and manage call routing plans in the event of bad weather closing one your sites. Choosing the right solution can help save your whole IT team a lot of stress, along with protecting the productivity of your business.
Determine what’s crucial
They’ll be various levels of reaction required depending on the interruption – best bet is to acknowledge these scenarios first. For example, if your receptionist can’t get into the office due to sickness or weather conditions, you’ll want to redirect your switchboard calls to somebody who can take them. This is completely different to the process you’d need in place if one of your sites was entirely unreachable due to a fire or flood.
Prevent, protect and detect
With 55% of disaster-related downtime stemming from hardware failure, virtualisation opportunities can reduce your degree of risk. Cloud-based solutions such as a hosted phone system can simplify your telecoms environment so that it is easier to manage. A cloud solution allows you to use your resources efficiently, with no need to continuously upgrade hardware. Numbers are hosted in the cloud meaning they can remain available regardless of whether or not the office is accessible. It will also allow you to grow your telephony with your infrastructure, which in turn protects your organisation against failure due to outdated technology.
Plan and communicate
For your disaster recovery plan, it’s important to define the key roles and responsibilities that backup personnel will play. This needs to be communicated to the whole organisation, and account for the possible lack of telephone or internet availability. When things go wrong, clear communication will be critical in ensuring processes are being followed as planned. This will prevent panic among stakeholders and ensure that recovery is carried out efficiently.
Test, test, then test again
Full disaster recovery testing is important, but despite this, only a minority of businesses test their plans regularly. This worrying attitude towards risk can mean businesses only realise if their plans work during an actual incident of disaster.
Talk to your provider
When it comes to disasters, not everything is out of your control. Choosing a voice provider with a resilient network can help. A provider that owns their own network will have more control over the network architecture and be more active when it comes to ensuring high levels of availability. When things go wrong, clear communication will be critical in ensuring processes are being followed as planned. This will prevent panic among stakeholders and ensure that recovery is carried out efficiently.