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Update your DR Plan

If the Covid 19 Shelter at Home mandate didn’t convince you that you had better consider adding a DR (Disaster Recovery) Plan to your business processes, then surely the riots following the recent protests made you feel a little less secure?

If 2020 has proven one thing, it is that anything can happen at any time. At one point in time, “Expect the unexpected” was a marketing tagline, now it is our reality. These past few weeks and months have been packed with tragedy and uncertainty.

Returning to pre Covid 19 was not moving along quite as easily as we all had hoped. For some of us, our doors are open, and we are taking measures to remain socially distant. For others of us, the ability to open the doors and welcome back customers was stripped away in the arms of a looter and the smash of a brick.

The purpose of this piece is not to delve too deeply into recent events, better writers and smarter people than us have been writing about both situations. The focus here is that without knowing what “it” is, there is something coming shortly that can and will disrupt your business. The point is that disaster and tragedy can truly strike at any time and disrupt your business. Without a plan before a disaster strikes you may be like the roughly 30% of businesses that never reopen! (www.ready.gov)

Disruptive events can be pandemics, civil unrest, they can be floods, fires, cybersecurity attacks like ransomware, power outages, labor strife… the list is long and varied!

These events can cause various problems with disruptions of different systems for varied lengths of time. That’s why it’s good to carefully plan and engage with people who have done this before.

There are 3 items that need to be considered when creating your business’ DR plan. They involve Where, What and How.

Where: if your physical locations are unavailable because of environmental, safety or Government mandate reasons you would need to plan for another “Where”.

Options for this are work from home (your employees stay put) which works in 2020 because technology and the internet have converged to allow for this possibility. We would refer to this as “the cloud” making it possible. Other options could be another site owned by your company or a pre-contracted DR site for just such an event.

What: What are you trying to preserve? The short answer is probably “your business”. In today’s world there is a huge emphasis on data, and rightfully so. Backups and the ability to access your data on customers, product specs, systems, intellectual property, etc. are key to ordering and profitability. To keep your employees productive they need that information, but if it’s only stored on an appliance in a closet in the building…. And they can’t get to the building… you’re about to become part of the 30%! Having an hybrid server and storage unit onsite that can stand in for a failed server is great, but there are now products that use storage and servers in the cloud that allow access from anyone of the locations your people could be working from in real time and without a 3 day rebuild and restore!

Protecting your data is good. Do you know what the absolute “killer app” in business is? It’s voice! If your customers are unable to reach you by phone they will assume you are closed our out of business making it more likely you will become part of the 30%. There are many ways to deal with your business voice services. Roughly 50% of US businesses still use older, onsite phone systems with basic features and voicemail. Kind of sounds like the data backups that only work if you’re in the building, right!? Maybe you call forward the phone number to your cell phone? This option works but can be overwhelming if there are a lot of calls and cell coverage is unpredictable.

Here’s where working with a cloud service provider makes this a no brainer! Everyone has a cellphone these days. You can call your customers, but the cloud system is independent of your physical business location and inbound calls can be routed to the correct department and even the correct employee without anyone needing to do anything! Even better, today’s Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) means you essentially just rent the service from a provider, no need to buy much of anything upfront. If you use a product like the N2Net enhanced SIP Trunk you can even milk a couple more years out of that old phone system in the office for desk bound staff, use the cool features for the  road warriors and executives, but when a disaster hits you can type a couple keys and the Enhanced DR phone system in the cloud makes everyone a fully functional extension on a system that mirrors the call processing of the old, submerged system in the office!

How: Remember at the beginning whenwe were acknowledging that there are people smarter than us writing millions of words on the events like racial justice and the pandemic response?  

We don’t pretend to know your business as well as you do! We do know some things about creating systems and processes that will allow your business to survive, and in many cases thrive against competitors that didn’t have the foresight to plan ahead. N2Net offers vCIO services around disaster planning and business continuity, what tools to use, we have mature solutions in place and can help you grab that 30% of the business that just came available because 30% of the unprepared businesses just closed shop!

Don’t live by chance, be part of the 70% of businesses that make it into 2021 and don’t simply survive but thrive!