During a disruption or disaster, businesses that are not prepared may struggle to continue operations and maintain productivity. According to Business.com, disasters claim 4 out of 10 small businesses and put another 25% at risk of closure within the year. A business continuity plan can help businesses of any size minimize the risk of failure after an emergency or outage.
Implementing a robust business continuity plan can help your organization or client maintain its operations even when an unforeseen event forces users to work offsite. Building your disaster recovery plan around a resilient communications solution can ensure your critical voice and messaging applications remain operational and productive.
What Are the Basics of Business Continuity Planning?
Business continuity planning is a strategy to prepare for and mitigate outages, losses of productivity, and operational interruptions resulting from a disruption. From cyberattacks to natural disasters, there are various incidents that can cause a temporary outage or force staff to work offsite. With a robust business continuity or disaster recovery plan, the company can operate and maintain normal levels of productivity during and after an event.
As a developer, you can help prepare your business or client’s essential systems, ensuring smooth and operable communications even through unforeseen events. Selecting a resilient calling and messaging solution is a primary component of any business continuity strategy.
Cloud-based solutions like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) provide scalability, reliability, and mobility to ensure your organization or client can continue seamless communications no matter what.
Common Interruptions That a Business Continuity Plan Should Address
Now that you understand what a business continuity plan can accomplish, let’s explore the reasons businesses should have a disaster recovery plan. A good continuity strategy will help them navigate the following disasters and interruptions:
- Network or power outages
- Natural disasters and fires
- Widespread illness and pandemics
- Office renovations and technical issues
- Local threats to safety
A robust disaster recovery plan will provide guidance for employees to work from home or another office if working conditions are unsafe or challenging, such as floods, gas leaks, or pandemics. A communication solution with adequate mobility will allow your company or client to quickly adapt to remote work and maintain operations. Your organization’s business continuity strategy should also prepare for outages, allowing users to access critical communications tools during network interruptions.
How Can a Robust Business Continuity Plan Help You Navigate Challenges?
With an understanding of the common causes of interruptions and outages, you can begin formulating a business continuity plan around your company’s risks. The following considerations will help you prepare your organization or client to respond to an emergency or outage and help it continue operations in the face of uncertainty.
Prepare the Business to Swiftly Transition to Remote Work
The ability to quickly pivot to remote work is critical to business continuity planning. As many organizations experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, a strategy to move operations offsite and accommodate a distributed workforce can maintain productivity and ensure continuous operations. VoIP and SIP trunking are two communication methods that facilitate a fast transition to remote work. Since users connect to the network over the internet, authorized users can communicate from anywhere with a stable connection.
VoIP and SIP are compatible with devices your company or client’s users already possess, including IP phones, software-based phones, and mobile devices. Its expansive compatibility allows the organization to respond and move offsite quickly and reduces expenses on new equipment.
Mitigate and Recover From Cyberattacks
In addition to situations where users will need to move offsite, cyberattacks can cause outages and challenges onsite. Your business or client must prepare for cyberattacks increasing in sophistication and quantity. According to a survey in Forbes, over a third of organizations were targeted by cyberattacks within the last year. Most respondents expect the attacks to continue or increase.
If you are implementing your organization or client’s communications solution using an application programming interface (API), there are additional challenges to consider. An API allows your business or client’s software to access the functionality of other software, like a voice or messaging service. The API faces the public internet and must be up to date and secure to reduce the risk of cyberattacks and data loss.
Implement a Robust Network to Mitigate Outages
Your company or client’s communications are valuable. It’s vital to protect them with a resilient voice and messaging network. While your communications partner may have a secure and updated API, network outages can interrupt operations.
A robust network, on the other hand, will route voice and messaging traffic to the shortest path and have dynamic failover features to ensure reliable inbound and outbound communication. When there is a network outage, the best solution fails over to a new physical network to seamlessly continue operations.
Have Unlimited Calling and Messaging Capacity
While reliability is critical to your organization or client’s business continuity, scalability to ensure the reception of inbound calls and messages is essential. The cloud offers inherent scalability, allowing VoIP and SIP communications to provide nearly unlimited calling or messaging instances.
Traditional solutions, such as primary rate interface (PRI) lines from carriers, are limited to 23 simultaneous calling instances, but SIP trunks are only limited by your business or client’s internet connection.
VoIP and SIP offer scalability at a low cost. Cloud-based solutions allow your client or business to ramp up its capacity as needed and scale back down without an initial investment in onsite infrastructure and hardware. Calling and messaging over the cloud is vital to your organization’s business continuity plan.
What to Consider in a Communications Partner When Developing a Resilient Voice and Messaging Strategy
Finding a reliable communications platform is vital to your business continuity plan. Evaluate your options to find the right partner for your business or client. The following considerations will help you select an ideal platform to build a foundation for your disaster recovery plan.
A resilient communication network is critical in ensuring your VoIP or SIP partner can deliver reliable calling and messaging. Evaluate your communications partner’s uptime and availability. Look for ones that boast 24/7 availability and at least 99.99% uptime. Consider resilient features like dynamic physical failover so that your company or client’s inbound and outbound calls and messages are delivered.
If you’re using direct inward dialing (DID) for your company or client, a high-quality VoIP or SIP platform can ensure calls reach their intended destination. DID with dynamic failover delivers traffic to the correct DID phone number using the fastest path and avoiding poor-quality networks. Reputable cloud-based communication providers can guarantee delivery and ensure your client or organization has enough calling and messaging capacity.
While cloud-based communication is inherently more scalable than traditional carriers, finding a communications partner that provides seamless and affordable scalability is essential. Select a platform that offers flexible metered pricing so your client or company only pays for the calling time and messages it uses and can scale up to meet demands without financial consequences.
Seek a platform that meets your client or company’s business continuity plan with a reliable and secure network. Reputable cloud-based VoIP and SIP partners provide network monitoring to identify suspicious activity and allow you to implement destination restrictions and toll-fraud monitoring. These features mitigate bad actors trying to access or defraud your organization’s communications and possibly steal information.
API security is also critical to business continuity planning. Ensure your provider maintains updated and secure APIs and microservices using a version-controlled repository, such as GitHub or Docker. Version control gives you assurance that you’re using the most recent release of the APIs and microservices, reducing vulnerability to cyberattacks.
While security, scalability, and reliability are critical, quickly pivoting to remote work is also essential to your company or client’s disaster recovery plan. VoIP and SIP solutions offer inherent mobility, allowing users to access communication services from anywhere with an internet connection using common devices like PCs and mobile phones. Without being tied to an onsite communication system, cloud-based solutions enable your company or client to transition to an offsite work environment when it is unsafe or impractical for employees to come to the office.
Reputable cloud-based communication providers offer call forwarding features to help quickly route calls to a user’s phone offsite. Remote call forwarding ensures calls reach a recipient without the caller noticing. The organization can then maintain continuity and customer service by forwarding calls to the right user or department regardless of their physical location.
Partner with a Reliable Communications Platform for Successful Business Continuity Planning
Communication is one of the most important factors going into your organization’s business continuity planning. During uncertain times, businesses need resiliency to continue operations, maintain communications, and enable collaboration.
Flowroute is your partner in ensuring reliable communications and business continuity. Our HyperNetwork™ enables fast, reliable, and scalable communications solutions that protect your company or client’s operations. You can implement our voice and SMS APIs for quick and easy integration. Get started with a seamless communication solution from Flowroute.