The 2010 Business Continuity Management Survey has revealed that loss of telecommunications is number two on the list of threats that managers are most concerned about. 62% of Managers surveyed responded that they considered loss of telecommunications would have a significant impact on costs and revenues.
The survey also asked about organisations ability to continue to function in the event of the loss of utilities. Here loss of power and loss of telecommunications were at the top of the perceived threats.
When surveyed about actual incidents experienced in the previous year, 20% of managers reported that they had experienced business disruption as a result of loss of telecommunications.
Whilst every business has different needs, there are two key disaster recovery paths that all businesses should build into their plans. These are the ability to divert telephone calls and the ability to liaise with and inform staff.
When it comes to diverting calls, this can be as simple as having an automatic divert to mobile or as complex as switching an entire multi-line switchboard operation to work from another site. The key to creating a robust plan is the assumption that the disaster has removed all internal transfer and switchboard functions from the point in which the telephone line enters the building. Telephone services which operate via the internet are a boon to any business continuity plan.
How you liaise with and inform staff will depend on the number of staff and the layout of your business site. Your first priority in a disaster such as a fire is to locate staff, check they are not injured and give them initial instructions. One or two staff could easily be contacted via mobile. When dealing with a large site and high numbers of staff there are a number of options. One of these involves having staff telephone in to a disaster recovery switchboard which then takes an electronic roll call and disseminates instructions.
Finally, when building your business continuity plan, don’t assume that the mobile network will operate. In times of major disaster, one of the first casualties is the mobile grid which is either shut down or diverted to only serve the emergency services. Always build an alternative contact route into your plan.