What would you do if your business lost power for several days? This is a question that every business should be able to answer, but more businesses than you think simply can’t. It seems to be one of those, “I’ll worry about it when it happens,” kind of situations – that is, until it happens.
Back in 2011, it was revealed in a survey conducted by Symantec (News - Alert) that half of all small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) had no disaster recovery plan in place, even though 65 percent of them operated in areas that were fully vulnerable to natural disasters.
This has significantly improved over the course of 2012, where in a related disaster recovery survey conducted last October – right around the time Hurricane Sandy struck – roughly 78 percent of major organizations reported having a disaster recovery or business continuity plan in place, while only about 16 percent did not. But despite this, more than three-quarters, or approximately 37 percent of organizations, said they spend less than 10 percent of their IT budget on disaster recovery plans, relaying to us that perhaps businesses aren’t investing in the right tools and preparation strategies as they should be to get the job done.
Many business managers think that they are just far enough out of reach of serious situations such as natural disasters. For those businesses located in the upper northeast – who hasn’t been having the best of luck as of late – this question came to a head when Hurricane Sandy raged the shore back in October 2012. Also consider the monster snowstorm that hit New England just this weekend – the worst since 1978. Things can unexpectedly happen, and the only proven method to prepare and address this is with a solid disaster recovery plan in place.
A recent Panasonic (News - Alert) for Business Solutions blog recently tackled this situation head on, where it highlighted the vitality of disaster recovery, pointing out the critical step of developing a plan. The SIP phones provider also offered a few tips on how to best develop that plan to fit the needs of the organization. The first tip – complete a separate contacts list stored in multiple locations in both physical and digital form.
The small-to medium-sized business (SMB) should also maintain backups of all business data both on and offsite. Employees should backup their data on a regular basis and single backup is not enough. Software should be purchased to automate the process, while secondary backup processes should also be secured with storage maintained offsite. Cloud storage, for instance, is easy and cost-effective.
Even with the best-laid plans, business continuity also brings with it specific challenges. In building out an effective strategy, the SMB should identify the top three things that will make business continuity the most difficult or impossible. These things may include power, Internet connectivity, phone access or other elements. This process forces the identification of vulnerabilities in the business so that the plan effectively addresses these issues. Finally, the SMB needs to have partner and vendor relationships firmly in place before a disaster may strike.
No company wants to be in a position to have to select a partner based on emergency circumstances, as it erases their ability to negotiate for the best deal and vet the vendor or partner for quality performance. Established relationships ensure the SMB has someone to call when the disaster strikes so they can be back up and running in as little time as possible.
Panasonic is one of those companies ready to partner with the SMB to provide SIP phones that not only deliver high quality, durability and functionality, but can also be migrated in the face of a disaster. All communications are routed over the Internet to robust end point devices that support next-generation technologies. If a disaster strikes, calls can be easily routed to an offsite location to ensure business can continue as close to usual as possible.
While every business owner hopes that its disaster recovery plan will remain a plan and never be put into action, the ability to make quick decisions to maintain business operations can be the key difference between the successful company and the one that doesn’t survive the recovery – and ultimately, loses customer loyalty and revenue as a result. Quality communications are key, so don’t be the company that gets left in the dust.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo