Wednesday, 18 February 2015

How does your Business Continuity Plan stack up?

How would you cope if your office suffered a fire or flood?


Do you have a well thought through Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that you can put in place immediately should a crisis or disaster rear it’s ugly head?

A disaster recovery or business continuity plan (BCP) is ESSENTIAL to restore normal operations as quickly as possible in the event of unexpected circumstances thereby protecting the well-being of the company.

Your BCP should include policies and procedures which provide guidelines and instructions to be followed by managers and employees alike in an emergency.

As part of the overall planning process it is recommended to:
  • Identify potential crises that might affect you
  • Consider how you intend to minimise the risks of these disasters occurring
  • Consider how you'll react if a disaster occurs in a business continuity plan
  • Test the plan regularly
Full business continuity planning incorporates many areas; however, we shall focus on the communications aspect.

To protect your business communications system the following steps should be taken:-
  • Create a backup plan
  • Put in place automatic diverts to mobiles or other landlines
  • Keep spares that can be swapped over quickly, such as routers and phones
  • Ensure that you have a robust Service Level Agreement (SLA) with your provider
It is best practice to install an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). This will keep any VoIP routers and Power over Ethernet (POE) phone switches powered on for a while. You may decide to have a selection of handsets that remain on during an outage.

In a crisis situation, Cloud (VoIP) telephony enables call diversion and remote-working to be managed by the office as required, and this flexibility is one of the major advantages of VoIP technology. This is not only essential in a crisis but is helpful in everyday operations. With an IP phone, it’s possible to connect from anywhere and deliver seamless uninterrupted telephone service with the knowledge that no calls will be missed.

VoIP is delivered via an IP handset or smartphone which is allocated its own extension number. Once connected to the phone server, it can be used from anywhere there is a data (broadband) connection, whether it’s in the office, from home or from a completely different location. This means you can provide a seamless client interface, providing flexibility for you, your business and ensuring client access at all times.

Keeping spare equipment is a no-brainer. If your VoIP router “dies” and you have to order another, you could be without phones and broadband for a day or two. Having a replacement in the cupboard, means that you can be back to work in minutes.

With traditional analogue systems, Service Level Agreements for repair and maintenance can involve days of waiting, meaning businesses can suffer paralysing inconveniences for prolonged periods – It could spell disaster and frustration all-round. As “cloud telephony delivery” is offered in a completely different way, it can provide business continuity much more comprehensively and efficiently.

VoIP is provided through off-site systems which are monitored and maintained constantly to deliver maximum reliability of service and continuous connectivity. Real-time monitoring and alert screens are provided to system managers, whose primary responsibility is ensuring that any server problems are totally resolved within the shortest time frame, often minutes, compared to waiting for an engineer to call - sometimes hours or days later as with traditional systems.

If you would like to learn more about the flexibility and versatility of VoIP and how this could fit with your BCP please give us a call for an impartial chat

The Merlin Team

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