Sailing Through The Storm

When nature decides to throw a storm at us there is little we can do to turn aside strong winds and driving rain but that doesn’t mean that we needn’t bother to act. The October 2013 storm may have been named after St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, but a lot of planning and preparation went into efforts to mitigate its effects.

Sadly despite all of the planning there were lives lost but it could have been so very much worse. With the Met Office able to provide plenty of warning and track the storm accurately, transport and civil authorities were able to bring pre-prepared plans into action.

With rail, flight and ferry services cancelled well in advance of the storm, passengers lives were not put at risk and the authorities were able to concentrate on bringing transport links back into use as swiftly as possible. At the time of writing a couple of days after the storm  there are still those without power but  again early planning enabled repairers to get on the ground as soon as the storm had passed.  And this is the essence of disaster recovery. Planning what to do in the event of a disaster enables businesses and districts to minimise disruption and maximise a swift return to work.

Key among disaster planning is the need for good and continuing communications. Whatever the disaster, if clients, employees and suppliers can’t get in touch then the business will swiftly lose income and reputation. Even the simple act of switching the phone line to an answerphone linked to a message can make a huge difference in keeping people informed. Of course, every business is different and therefore has to draw up its disaster plans to cover individual needs but thinking in advance and making a plan will make a huge difference to business as usual.

Services available to businesses which are contemplating disaster recovery include:
• A full PABX service which mirrors the business’ existing system and which can take over at any time
• A hosted group divert system which will re-route calls to alternate numbers, be they landline or mobile
• A company information line
• Bulk SMS messaging to employees
• Call recording
• Caller recognition

Planning what to do in the event of a disaster is not just wasted time and money. If a disaster hits it will be time well spent and even if it doesn’t the act of planning can throw up some surprising information about redundant and costly processes within the business. Best of all, once the plans have been made they can sit idle until required. We can’t do anything about a storm, but we can plan what to do if disruption to power, phone lines, or transport links threaten the smooth running of our businesses.

Written by Alison