Are You Ready For Disaster?

With the recent deadly storms across Europe and Australia, now is a good time to take another look at your disaster recovery / business continuity plans.

Unfortunately, a disaster like a  flood or fire can strike at any time, so your business needs to be ready to deal with the consequences. Many an unprepared business has ceased trading due to a heavy blow caused by an unforeseen disaster. If they had had a well thought out plan in place, they may have survived.

Clients of our disaster recovery / business continuity phone services have needed to activate them on a number of occasions to deal with floods, fire and even the explosion at the Buncefield Oil Depot in 2005.

Here are 5 steps you can take to help prepare for the worst:

  1. A good starting point is take have a mirror of your existing phone system set up in the cloud, ready to be activated at a moment's notice. Rather than diverting calls to your office extensions, you can set up this backup to divert calls to mobiles, home phone numbers or a second office. These destination numbers can be changed in real time later on, for example if you move into a temporary office.
  2. Set up and maintain one or more information lines. These can be for use by staff and clients, so you can keep them up to date of the situation as it progresses. You can update the recorded messages played to callers at any time. These information lines are very useful in the early stages of a disaster when you need to organize and inform a large number of people, possibly over a very short time period.
  3. Related to the above, we also recommend you set up a Bulk SMS service so you can send out texts to employees, clients and suppliers to alert them to the disaster or to any major changes. You can either send them instructions in the text itself, or else direct them to call your information line to listen to more detailed messages.
  4. If your business operates internationally you can set up international numbers to handle any of the above functions. You could divert calls to an overseas call centre, for example, or else set up various language-specific information lines for customers and agents / partners based overseas.
  5. It is also a good idea to have a conference-bridge set up, ready to be used in case of an emergency. That way you can involve senior staff in an emergency call to ensure everyone is safe, well informed and that your full DR/BC plan is being implemented. Regular conference calls also give you the opportunity to change plans if required, so you can respond in a co-ordinated way as a company. Of course, you can include international numbers on your conference set up so overseas staff are kept in the loop.

A well thought out and effective disaster recovery / business continuity phone service need not be complicated, but you do need to make sure you have everything covered. For this reason, we strongly recommend you contact us to discuss your requirements so we can recommend the best options for your organisation.

Don't take a chance with the security of your business - contact us today for expert advice to get your disaster recovery telephony plan sorted.

Written by Matt