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February 18, 2011
Virtual PBX: What's Your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan?
By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Having a back up in a disaster recovery situation is definitely needed and virtual PBX with voiceover Internet protocol serves as an admirable option.  

Curt Barry, president of F. Curtis Barry & Co., a multichannel operations and fulfillment consulting firm, recently voiced his opinion on disaster planning.

In a conversation with Multichannel Merchant Barry said, "When it comes to creating and maintaining adequate business continuity and disaster recovery plans and systems, multichannel merchants share the same core challenges as other types of companies -- dedicating sufficient attention to this initiative amid day-to-day priorities, and concerns about the immediate costs and investment for upgrading these plans or systems." 

In other words, Barry says, most companies "are not prepared with effective BC/DR plans." And he's done the research to back that up, "A study conducted by technology products and services provider CDW (News - Alert) found that 30 percent of respondents were at times unable to operate at all due to a network disruption, and their locations shut down completely."

In fact, one IT manager at an $80-million merchant company Barry spoke with told him that it’s "hard to think about and get your arms around. There are always other projects with seemingly higher priorities.”

But in this case, the company actually has a BC/DR plan. As Barry explains it, the merchant is converting to a new ERP system, and “it hopes that the resulting new database will enable easier recovery from a business interruption." The company now has back-up and redundant hardware, but it resides in the same building. It also has a cold-site emergency option that is partially wired, but by definition, a cold site has no hardware or infrastructure in place. 

The way Barry explains it, a hot site like virtual PBX is fully hardware-equipped and ready to go, and “assuming back-ups are not already residing there. Cold-site facilities do not contain hardware or back-up data, and are often used for storage purposes until needed for an emergency; these are the least expensive option, but recovery takes longer. A warm site falls between hot and warm in terms of investment and speed of recovery."

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Charles West

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