For nearly a month Haiti has been suffering through a natural disaster of epic proportions. While the people of Haiti remain in our thoughts, we are reminded of how quickly and unexpectedly tragedy strikes. Whether natural or manmade, disaster is unpredictable. The one thing that business owners can predict is how they will respond to such an event. Creating, or updating, your company’s disaster plan is of the utmost importance.
Developing a Plan
Creating a disaster recovery plan may seem a daunting task, but it is necessary in today’s technology-driven economy. Business transactions now occur around-the-clock, so even the briefest downtime can hurt a business. Major data loss can be detrimental, with one source reporting that only 6% of businesses that experienced such a severe loss survived long-term.
A thorough disaster recovery plan will spell out actions to take before, during and after a disaster. If you are not sure where to begin, a quick Google search will reveal many resources available to assist you.
Steps to Take Year-round
Most companies think in terms of protecting server data and client files, but often overlook the phone system server. A phone system may contain numerous hours of voice messages, recordings and data. Without the proper precautions, one quick power outage from a passing thunderstorm can pose a serious problem.
Regular back-ups of your phone system’s voice and database files can help prevent interruption of normal business operations. Determine how often to back up these critical files, and implement a company policy to ensure they are archived off of the phone system.
Another way to protect your phone system from a sudden power outage is to regularly test back-up power supplies. Power surges or lighting strikes can wreak havoc on electronics, and ensuring that power back-ups are tested and replaced regularly will guarantee continuous communication. For more information on testing power supplies, click here.
Finally, proper and routine server maintenance is critical. An overheated server or a clogged dust filter can be disastrous on its own. Keep the temperature of the server at or below 70° F, and maintain a dust-free server area. Servers should be located in an area that promotes air circulation and cool, dry temperatures to maintain optimum performance.
Voice over IP Helps to Limit Disruptions
A VoIP phone system can be used to your advantage during a disaster. Develop a plan for routing or forwarding calls to the cell or home phone numbers of a few employees so operations can proceed with a sense of normalcy. If necessary, contact your telephone service provider to find out if they can provide call routing or forwarding in the event of a total outage.
Periodically review your company’s inclement weather policy with staff, and make sure they know the number(s) to call to find out about closings or delays. Investigate how a communications system can help you keep both employees and customers informed. For example, some VoIP solutions will enable you to change auto attendant greetings to reflect closings or delays – even while out of the office. An SMS texting tool may also provide an easy and economical means of disseminating information. Contact Alternate Access to learn more about how these and other innovative technologies can benefit your business during a disaster.
Advancements in technology have made larger storage capacity and “off site” storage viable and economical choices. These secure, hardened facilities use “clean” power and back-up generators to assure no data is lost. Many can also handle your telephony storage and routing needs in an emergency.
Start Protecting Your Investment Today
No one wants to think about worst-case scenarios, but the fact is companies are increasingly dependent upon their technological infrastructure.
The most important thing is to always have a plan of action. To learn how a communications system can become an integral part of that plan, contact Alternate Access. Our experts can recommend complete solutions customized to your business needs. Contact us today at 919-831-8288 for information on how to make VoIP and unified communications part of your disaster plan.