Bringing Business Continuity into Focus
By Dean Manzoori, Masergy VP of Unified Communications
The recent spate of winter storms and power outages around the country highlight the need for continuity planning by businesses of all kinds. Recent research shows that as many as half of all small-to-medium businesses have no business-continuity plan at all. That’s a serious problem. Fortunately, there are a number of options.
Advance planning is the essential first step. First, your organization should consider the different types of disasters you’re liable to encounter. Fortunately, that’s not too difficult, because these fall into a couple of main categories: power outages and critical system failures. Certainly, the causes can vary widely, depending on your industry and location. You may be vulnerable to blizzards, hurricanes, floods, hackers and even terrorists. Every organization is unique and therefore needs its own unique business-continuity plan.
Your organization should also consider which of your systems need the most protection — as well as how you’ll protect them in the event of an outage. For example, you might decide to protect your communications systems with a battery or generator backup, which can keep your phones operational during an outage for a set period of time. Or you might decide that during an outage, you’ll have all incoming calls forwarded to another location. You might have your voicemail system play a special “please call back later” message.
Another option to consider is Unified Communications (UC). Used as either a standalone solution or combined in a hybrid setup with your current PBX, UC gives you a powerful, cloud-based solution for business continuity. UC relieves your IT staff from the burden of protecting on-premises communications systems. Here’s why: UC is provided from centralized servers that, because they’re remote from your site, are not susceptible to the same disasters your offices experience. UC is also highly secure and geographically redundant — a fancy way of saying there are multiple sites. Should one site be hit by a disaster, the traffic is automatically routed to another. Also, UC runs on fault-tolerant, load-balanced servers. Put that all together and it means that a UC system never goes down. That means that even during a serious natural disaster or power outage, your organization will still have a working communications system up and fully running. And, you can communicate with your staff, partners and customers in a number of ways from any location you happen to be in. So, if your staff is unable to make it into the office due to a snow day, they can still collaborate from home using voice, email, voice messaging, unified messaging, presence, chat, web collaboration and video calling.
At the core of a UC solution is a network of carrier-grade voice over IP (VoIP) application software capable of converging voice, data and video traffic. Leading UC suppliers such as Masergy partner with both tier-one ISPs and Public Switched Telephone Network suppliers to prevent and mitigate any single point of failure in your communications system. To provide even more protection, Masergy operates fully tested, audited and “hardened” data centers at locations around the globe. Our UC platform is embedded in the fabric of our global network. So don’t wait for disaster to strike. Insure your communications with a business continuity plan that includes UC.
Learn more about Masergy’s Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).