Thursday, June 23, 2016

Build a solid disaster recovery plan in less than a day - Seriously

Let’s face it - having a disaster recovery plan is the kind of thing every business should have. Unfortunately for many of us, it stays on the back burner while we hope disaster doesn’t strike. The good news is that with modern cloud technology, building a solid DR plan for nearly every scenario is fast, easy and affordable (mostly free).

What do I do about employees who can’t get into the office?
Issues like floods, snowstorms, fire, or even terrorism can make it difficult or impossible for your employees to get to work. Shutting down for a day or two is not an option. Fortunately, there are a host of solutions.

Most companies today either have employees who work remotely or are planning for remote employees or teleworkers. Expand this thinking to DR for those who are not remote, but could work from a remote location in a pinch. If your employees use laptops in the office, make it a policy that they should take them home when they leave. If they don’t have laptops, consider providing access to critical software they could access from their home computers. It’s important that all devices have access to a VPN and train your employees on its use. Make sure your telecom vendor provides the correct tools to be able to share content as if everyone were in the office (if you are using a cloud UC solution, you may already have this).

Employees can answer and make calls from their office phone without being physically in the office. Modern phone systems have tools like simultaneous ringing, call redirection and/or call forwarding that allow your staff to use their home and/or mobile devices to make it seem to contacts that nothing is different.

Many companies like Jetblue and Amazon already operate virtual call centers. Build a plan to have your call center employees working from home in case of an emergency. Work with your provider to build alternate call routing from your plan that you can use to instantly turn you call center virtual.

What if access to my internet/telecom provider goes down?
Having multiple vendors is the simplest solution to this, but it's not as easy as it sounds - many providers take the same physical paths to your office - a cable cut could take down all of them. Consider a second (or third) provider who uses a different physical path, like satellite or wireless.  

An easy to implement solution is to have all of your employees mobile and/or home telephone numbers at hand. Work with your provider to set up redirects in case of an emergency - your customers will never know. If you have a cloud-based system or SIP trunking solution, your employees can even do this by themselves.