Emergencies can interrupt normal business practices, and being prepared can mean the difference between a company that thrives or fails during uncertainty. Businesses of every size should prepare for disaster with a business continuity plan to ensure operations continue. A study from Business.com found that 4 out of 10 small businesses fail after a disaster, and another quarter of those that reopen will fail within 24 months of the disaster. If your client or business wants to prepare for the next emergency, accessible and resilient communications are essential to your strategy.
A reliable cloud-based solution can secure your business or client’s mission-critical communications throughout an emergency with minimal interruptions and make restoring normal business functions possible. Consider the risks to the business and how disaster preparedness can ensure business operations continue.
What Is Business Continuity?
Business continuity is a plan or procedure to reduce the risks and impacts of disasters on an organization’s operations. Companies must plan to maintain mission-critical communications and operations during emergencies, preparing for everything from fires and power outages to cyberattacks and pandemics. It is also important to quickly recover and restore normal business operations at a reasonable capacity either onsite or in another location.
If your client or company has been in operation for more than several years, it is probably familiar with the impacts an emergency can have on business. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to operate in a virtual office environment to reduce the spread of the virus. Organizations that were prepared to work remotely with a disaster preparedness plan could limit risks to productivity and normal business operations.
What Risks Can Business Continuity Mitigate?
There are various risks to business operations, and ensuring the company can mitigate them will prepare your client or business to continue operations with minimal interruptions in an outage or disaster. Emergency preparedness should cover the following types of disasters.
Severe weather and natural disasters
Severe weather like hurricanes and blizzards or natural disasters like earthquakes can shut down onsite operations, making it unsafe for employees to come to the office. Prepare the company’s voice and messaging services with a reliable cloud-based solution to ensure inbound calls and messages can be routed or forwarded to remote employees or another office location.
Outages can limit onsite systems and communication capabilities. While a generator can help the business restore power onsite, ensuring minimal interruptions to servers and systems and that any data is recoverable with regular backups is critical.
A fire can result in the onsite business location closing for a period and may damage local network infrastructure and systems. The company can prepare for a fire that damages servers with backups of critical systems kept offsite or in the cloud. Businesses should also plan for employees to continue operations remotely after a fire onsite until it is safe to return to the office with a cloud-based communication solution.
Network outages and cyberattacks
Network outages and cyberattacks can limit communications if your business or client has an onsite business phone system. Business operations can continue offsite with a cloud-based solution.
Pandemics and illness
During a pandemic or quickly spreading illness, it may be safer for employees to work from home in a virtual or hybrid office arrangement to minimize the spread. A cloud-based communication solution will allow users to send and receive calls and messages from home using their internet connection and a compatible device.
Like power and network outages, facilities issues can limit onsite operations. A gas leak, plumbing issue, or HVAC malfunction may require employees to move offsite temporarily. Business operations can continue if your client or company’s communications are accessible remotely.
How Can a Business Continuity Plan Protect Your Business From Risks?
Preparing for disasters is the best way for a company to ensure its business can continue during an emergency. There are several steps that businesses can take to minimize interruptions to operations. While company management will be responsible for developing and executing a business continuity plan, you can assist the organization by choosing reliable and resilient networks for mission-critical communications as a developer.
Identify Your Business Continuity Risks
Identifying risks in your local area or industry is an excellent place to start when creating an emergency preparedness plan. Consider the likeliness of an event occuring in the industry and location where the business operates. An office in a coastal location should prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding, while tornadoes are a more considerable risk inland. There are also certain risks that every business shares, such as cyberattacks.
A well-made business continuity plan will cover your client or company for a variety of emergencies. For instance, a comprehensive plan to work from home or another office location if employees cannot safely come to the office could effectively prepare the company for a pandemic or a severe weather situation that limits employees’ ability to come to the office. The business should be able to function at normal productivity levels while employees are distributed in a larger geographic area.
Protect Your Onsite Power
Electrical issues and power failures can occur due to infrastructure problems, maintenance, and storms. While ensuring backup power will likely be the responsibility of facilities management, it is crucial to continuing operations. Businesses should have generators and backup power, such as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for servers and mission-critical systems.
Backup Critical Data
Regular backups should be a part of your disaster preparedness strategy. While cyberattacks on larger businesses make it to the news headlines, StrongDM reports that nearly half of all cyberattacks impact small businesses.
Ensure your business or clients’ databases and systems are backed up regularly. Data on employee devices for business should also have recent backups, allowing them to be restored after equipment or software failures. Backups should be stored in a secure cloud or a separate location whenever possible to ensure the data can be accessed after a cyberattack or onsite issue.
Migrate Your Network and Communications to the Cloud
Cloud-based systems offer businesses a significant advantage during an emergency. When your company or client’s systems and communication are accessible in the cloud, business operations can continue as normal if employees are required to work from home or another office location.
A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone solution and messaging capabilities provided by a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunk can deliver cloud-based communications for a distributed workforce. Users only need a stable internet connection and a compatible device, such as a PC, mobile device, or IP phone, to continue business operations using the company’s cloud-based voice systems.
Train Employees and Communicate Best Practices
In addition to identifying the risks and preparing for emergencies by protecting your client or business’s power, data, and communications, communicating what to do to ensure business continuity during an emergency is vital. While management will be responsible for creating and executing a plan, your cloud-based communication implementation will ensure critical voice and messaging applications continue to function.
Related: What Is Remote Call Forwarding? How It Works and Best Practices for Effective Implementation
It is crucial to ensure the company’s communications will be accessible during an emergency and that operations can continue onsite or remotely. A cloud-based communications system makes it easier for organizations to train employees on best practices and how to access the business phone and messaging systems during a disaster to continue communications and operations with minimal interruptions.
How Can You Ensure Your Business Communications Are Prepared for Disaster?
A cloud-based communication solution provides inherent disaster preparedness, allowing business operations to continue from another location with minimal interruptions. Ensuring your communication solution is hosted on a resilient network with 24/7 uptime and high reliability is vital. A disaster-ready solution will be usable with a variety of devices like mobile phones and PCs, allowing inbound calls to be forwarded or transferred to employees’ remote devices.
Direct inward dialing (DID) allows calls to be routed to the intended recipient without an automated answering system or extension. A redundant network with physical failover will ensure inbound DID calls are delivered to their intended recipient when there is a network failure or interruption. Features like remote call forwarding ensure inbound calls to the business can be quickly forwarded to a remote device.
Prepare Your Business to Overcome Disasters With a Cloud-Based Communication Solution
Voice and messaging solutions from Flowroute provide your client or company with cloud-based communications. The resilient HyperNetwork™ maintains fast, reliable, and secure communications with physical network failover and guaranteed delivery of voice and messages. We deliver 99.999% reliability and 24/7 uptime for your voice and messaging services. Your client or business has secure access to its VoIP, SIP, or messaging service and monitors for threats like toll fraud. Get started with your disaster-ready business communications solution.