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January 26, 2007

Continuity Planning 101

Secure Last Minute Disaster Planning Options

By Rich Tehrani & Max Schroeder

 

Summer is here again and hurricane season is in full swing; tornadoes are likely in many states, fires can happen anywhere, and the same goes for power outages. What do you do if you still have not put a business continuity plan into place? Fortunately, today�s converged IP technologies provide for quick, simple, and secure methods of implementing a plan. Let�s look as some scenarios and available solutions.






Scenario A � Medical practice with confidential patient records and concerns regarding HIPPA regulatory compliance: (For additional information on compliance refer to: www.tmcnet.com/317.1)

Most medical practices are small, with limited IT resources, so any solution must be easy to implement and cost effective. DocumentMall, (www.documentmall.com) a service of Ricoh Corporation, is an ideal solution for the medical market and is also suitable for legal, real estate, financial services, insurance, and government. You can use DocumentMall for simple, secure electronic file storage, content management, business process management, and online sharing with just a few people or for collaboration on a global scale. Access is via a thin client and the security policy encompasses physical access control to the DocumentMall document vault, Secure Socket Layer (128-bit SSL) for encrypting communication and the use of firewalls. DocumentMall accepts scanned documents from multifunctional products that have scan-to-email capabilities. When integrated with Ricoh�s family of MFPs, you can access DocumentMall directly from the MFP touch screen panel and scan, OCR, encrypt, and securely upload your paper-based documents directly into your account. The building site is located in Boca Raton Florida, is Category 5 rated, and is very secure, with redundant communications pipes (Max has actually visited the site).

Scenario B � Your company could handle a couple of days of downtime and relocate to a cold site, if necessary, for services like billing, accounts payable, and order processing, but customer support must be online 24/7.

With the advent of VoIP, FoIP, Web chat, and e-mail, locating a company�s support centers in primary business locations was no longer necessary. The staff can be anywhere as can the physical infrastructure; all you need are high-speed connections to have full communications capabilities. You can even be at a hot spot having coffee and still be on line as an agent or as a supervisor managing your support center agents.

For example, Verizon Business (http://www.verizonbusiness.com) recently introduced its Business Resilience Solutions Portfolio, which will allow public and private entities to more effectively plan, manage, and overcome unforeseen events by using a comprehensive portfolio of integrated services. Verizon Business has joined forces with business continuity planning software and services leader Strohl Systems to provide customer planning services. Network attached storage platforms and software are from EMC Corporation and network equipment from Cisco Systems. Resilient Network Attached Storage (RNAS) is a totally integrated solution, combining network transport, access, and a network attached storage platform. The portfolio of services extends from initial business impact analysis to strategy development, plan development, implementation, plus testing and maintenance.

Another company that provides a quick turnaround to get you online is Promero, Inc. of Pompano Beach, Florida (www.promero.com). Promero is an on-demand CRM and call center software service provider supporting corporate, home-based and offshore users. Promero�s current software offerings include CallCenter@nywhere, a virtual call center application from Telephony@Work (www.telephonyatwork.com) and ProStarCRM, an on-demand customer relationship management software application. Promero prides itself on rapid deployment. Generally, this means less than 15 days, but most of this is due to the re-provisoning of the existing telco numbers, not the time it takes Promero�s tean to get you up and running. Promero�s services can be used for backup or as the primary site if you outsource all of your contact needs.

Scenario C � Company X is in the process of developing a mobile workforce business model. The process needs to happen swiftly, but not everything has been finalized, so the company wants to stage the deployment over several months. A key component to the plan is maintaining security throughout the deployment process and post-deployment to provide for business continuity.

KoolSpan (www.koolspan.com) markets a line of security products that is both mobile and matched to the challenges of business continuity. The products allow for remote access and are an alternative to SSL and IPSec VPN solutions. KoolSpan uses a combination of Locks and Keys, plus an Enterprise Manager to provide a Smart Card-to-Smart Card architecture. The design allows for the pre-provisioning of secure primary and secondary network communications. All Locks and Keys are pre-programmed by the enterprise (more specifically, their Smart Cards), so that they can be moved/shipped and installed without further configuration. A Lock form factor is about the size of a VHS cassette tape and the Key is housed in a USB token, so all components are highly mobile. Redundancy is intrinsic to the solution, as a user Key can connect to up to 16 different discrete/logical networks and a Lock can automatically connect to up to eight.

The above scenarios demonstrate a unique facet about VoIP, FoIP, and converged IP operations � great solutions for everyday business and even better for backup operations. Each of the above vendors and solution service providers has offerings that are cost-effective and will increase productivity for every day operations. They all meet the needs of in-house, remote, or mobile employees and have features that are simple to use and are quickly and easily deployed. Any of the three could be a solution component for any of the three scenarios. So, if you haven�t made the decision to move to a converged IP model, what are you waiting for?

If your company is interested in business continuity planning please visit http://www.tmcnet.com/channels/disaster-preparedness/ to view additional information provided by DPCF members, TMC and the ECA. IT

Max Schroeder is a board member of the ECA, media relations committee chairman, and liaison to TMC. He is also the Sr. Vice President of FaxCore, Inc.

Rich Tehrani is the President and Group Editor-in-Chief at TMC and is Conference Chairman of Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO.

If your organization has an interest in participating in the TMC/ECA Disaster Preparedness Communications Forum, please contact maxschroeder@tmcnet.com or rtehrani@tmcnet.com.

If you are interested in purchasing reprints of this article (in either print or PDF format), please visit Reprint Management Services online at www.reprintbuyer.com or contact a representative via e-mail at tmcnet@reprintbuyer.com or by phone at 800-290-5460.

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