What is a disaster recovery plan? Basically, it’s a business plan that ensures that when events happen outside your control, the disruption to your business and your customers is kept to a minimum. These disasters don’t have to be apocalypse level. Heavy snow, high winds, and even power cuts can all cause serious problems for a business that’s unprepared.
Keep your customers in the loop
When things go wrong, the first people to notice outside the business will be your most loyal customers. If they can’t get through on the phone, they’re going to start to worry. Or, they’re simply going to take their business elsewhere. This is where the telecommunications technology part of the disaster recovery plan begins to come into play.
Instead of hearing a dead tone, customers can be re-routed to a working line. Staff can then reassure customers and let them know what the situation is, and inform them of any delays or other concerns.
If there aren’t people on hand to deal with the calls coming in, there’s the option of setting up a recorded voicemail so that messages from customers can be logged and dealt with as soon as possible. Although this might not be ideal for all customers, it at least lets them know that you’re aware of the situation and dealing with it the best that you can.
In dire emergencies, recorded announcements can be played when customers call in, to let them know what’s going on. Depending on the severity of the emergency and the nature of your business, this recording could be used to give information such as emergency contacts, support agencies, or where to find help.
It may be that customers coming down to your shop need to take a different route as there’s a tree blocking the road. A recorded message at the start of every call would ensure all calling customers were made aware, and of course, this could be updated on a website and on social media too.
Communication is a business’s most vital tool, and with a proper disaster recovery plan, you can keep those lines of communication well and truly open.
Protect critical data
Businesses which are still nervous about moving all their data to cloud-based services need to consider the alternatives. In situations where a virus ravages in-house systems or locks staff out of their computers, a cloud-based storage system is one way to ensure critical data is not lost.
This is no scare story. Ransomware attacks have become more frequent in recent years. This is where companies are literally held to ransom by cyber criminals who use malicious software to lock users out of their computers. Users are then told they have to pay a certain amount, usually in digital currency, in order to regain access to their computers. It’s a scary scenario, but when data is backed up and systems can be rebooted remotely, it becomes less fearful.
There are other risks to data than cyber criminals, of course. A simple power cut could leave systems in a state of shut down and unable to communicate with each other. Back-up systems and generators are something that can be used to prevent issues. Your in-house IT team may be able to recommend a plan to have a secondary system that can seamlessly take over if a primary system is compromised. Cloud-based technology can often be the key to this, using tools such as virtual servers.
Businesses can help themselves by ensuring all data is correct and up to date. This involves accurate record keeping, and ensuring all information is kept in the relevant folders. The more accurate a business’s records are, the less detrimental any critical failures will be, as long as this information is all backed up and secure.
It’s no secret that we’re all moving away from analogue lines for our phones and internet. Digital is the way forward, and we’re all striving to make as much of our communication as possible completely wireless. But there are serious advantages to retaining at least one analogue, fixed line.
One advantage is that in times of disaster, power may be cut to routers and digital distributors. This means that for those that have got rid of their analogue lines completely, they have no access to the internet whatsoever, and no way to dial out. This becomes an even more serious issue when mobile phone signal goes down. Cellular data can be a great back up when the WiFi goes down, but in many disaster situations, the emergency services often disrupt mobile networks, rendering them useless for this purpose.
Having a traditional back-up line means that no matter what has happened in terms of power or signal, there’s still a way to connect or at the very least to get a call out. Losing electricity or mobile phone signal could mean you’re not even able to contact the emergency services themselves. With an analogue line on standby, a 999 call will go straight through. The added advantage is that calling 999 from a landline actually helps the emergency operator to pinpoint your location more easily than if you call from a mobile phone. This can be the difference between life or death in an emergency situation.
Hopefully, there won’t be any emergency situations quite this harrowing. But being prepared can be a great advantage, even when the ‘disaster’ is just a blocked road or a sickness bug that leaves half your staff at home. A telecommunications team with a dedicated team on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, can ensure your business is prepared for anything.
Currently, it’s thought that only 50% of businesses have disaster recovery plans in place. Talk to us today about how we can help make your business create the right business continuity plan.