Hosted Phone Services Can Protect Your Business From Disaster

Since the start of the year, we’ve seen two examples that illustrate just how important it is to undertake disaster recovery/business continuity planning for your business.

The first is the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Although there have only been a few cases involving people in Britain, the situation in China is different.

Once the outbreak was properly recognised and confirmed, the authorities there stepped into action, heavily restricting people’s movements and isolating anyone they think might be infected.

This effectively shut down the city of Wuhan, with accounts of deserted streets and people unwilling (or unable) to leave their apartments.

Whilst this has not happened in the UK (yet), a situation like this could seriously affect your business and leave it unable to function properly. It’s not inconceivable to imagine a reported outbreak in a UK city leading to people choosing to stay at home, rather than travel to a city centre workplace and risk infection.

The other example is the disruption caused by Storm Ciara this past weekend, with high winds, wet conditions, and snow bringing down trees and power lines, shutting roads and causing flooding.

With Storm Dennis due to arrive this weekend, there is still the chance of further problems to come.

Although the storm only caused minor problems for most people, some people and businesses have really suffered.

It’s worth taking the time to think about how your business would cope if your premises had been hit.

If your offices had been without power for the past few days, what would you have done to keep things ticking over? How about if localised flooding had caused serious damage or prevented staff getting in to work?

Of course, such extreme disruption is thankfully rare, although probably more frequent than you think. It needn’t be a virus outbreak or heavy storm that affects you – a burst water pipe, a fire caused by an electrical fault, or even a traffic accident near your offices can all affect your business’s ability to function.

That’s why we are always keen to spread the word about our hosted phone services, which come with built-in business continuity advantages.

Our phone numbers and services are all hosted and operated in the cloud, so your ability to use them is not dependant on your location.

If your office is not available for any reason, you can still receive calls by simply diverting them elsewhere. It only takes a few seconds to switch things over through your online control panel.

The larger your business and the more employees you have, the more you need to think ahead and plan what you’d do. You should have written procedures in place, with everyone knowing what they should do.

Very small businesses may be able to cope just by temporarily redirecting calls, but larger organisations should consider having other services in place just in case.

Every case is different, but here’s what we might typically recommend:

  • One or more Information Lines – recorded messages for customers, employees and suppliers to call. You can then keep everyone up to date with the latest information.
  • Bulk SMS messages. Contact all members of staff to tell them what to do. Directing them to check an information line regularly is also a good idea.
  • Set up a group divert ‘ hunt group’ to distribute incoming calls to team members with access to a phone so they can answer questions and keep customers up to date.
  • Set up a complete mirror image of your existing phone system hosted in the cloud. If your premises are unreachable you switch it on and all your calls get routed to alternative extensions or handled however you want. Usually this will just sit there in the background, not being used. Should you ever need to activate it, you’ll be very, very glad you set it up.

If you’d like to protect your business phone system from disasters large and small we recommend you give us a call to talk through your options. We’re experts in working out what you really need.

Don’t put your business at unnecessary risk – contact us today on 0333 247 00 00 to get the conversation started.

Written by Matt