This article originally appeared in the Feb. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY Magazine.
VoIP, FoIP, unified communications, SaaS (News - Alert) and other hosted services provide the tools for a mobile workforce. Home offices, once a rarity, are now an indispensable component of many business operations. An added benefit is a built-in business continuity/disaster recovery strategy. Employee dispersion reduces the risk of business disruptions caused by fire, power outages and other problems. However, it does not eliminate the risks entirely. Smaller companies are particularly vulnerable as many employees reside in the same community or region as the primary company office.
Since most business interruptions last less than 72 hours, total relocation time is critical for maximum efficiency. Road warriors usually have portable offices at the ready. However, stationary home office employees will not be as mobile unless their company has provided a clear plan and the proper equipment. Senior management is usually focused on data preservation, maintaining communications and other centralized issues, so personal BC/DR planning can easily be overlooked. Plus, many managers are also road warriors and simply assume their critical employees are equally prepared.
To get started, identify your critical employee home office locations in relation to your company offices. Step two is to identify hotels for your team outside of a defined radius with a secondary location at a greater distance. Most hotels provide high-speed access in their rooms and a business center, but do not take these for granted. You may also want to consider making arrangements with hotel management to guarantee a number of rooms for your company. Space can disappear quickly in an emergency. If the emergency is of a longer duration than 72 hours, you easily can make adjustments, as your team already will be fully operational and in communications with management.
One of this column’s authors, Max Schroeder (News - Alert), recently experienced his second storm-related power outage in two years. Within an hour, Max was at his designated BC/DR hotel and fully operational. Putting a company BC/DR plan in place is not complicated and generally pays for itself quickly in improving overall company efficiencies, but it does require you to get it done – no time like now to start.
Max Schroeder is the senior vice president of FaxCore Inc. and managing director of the DPCF.
Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi