This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
The Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States suffered extensive storm damage in 2012 devastating numerous homes and businesses. Many government leaders advised their constituencies to get used to a new normal of living with less. Despite the destruction and power outages, some businesses and individuals managed quite well and remained fully operational during the ordeal. Many simply got very lucky as their locale experienced limited damage and did not lose power. Most, like the authors of this column however, had solid business continuity/disaster recovery plans in place to get them through? Interestingly, these plans were implemented at low or no cost.
A long-established hurdle in implementing a BC/DR plan was budget approval since implementations were usually time intensive and expensive. Today’s cloud solutions, however, not only make BC/DR affordable but have a great ROI and can begin contributing to the bottom-line immediately. Plus, some key plan components like hosted VoIP, hybrid fax services, hosted UC, SaaS (News - Alert) and others, could already be in position.
Step 1 of any BC/DR plan is to define critical requirements such as revenue preservation, customer support or data security and regulatory compliance (i.e. HIPPA). Traditionally, Step 2 would be presenting the list to management for initial sign off on the critical requirements and requesting authorization to move forward. Step 3 would be to research and identify potential solutions followed by a cost analysis. A formal proposal would then be submitted for final approval.
A modern-day approach and the new normal of BC/DR Planning is merging Step 2 with a presentation of how hosted services like VoIP, FoIP and SaaS combined with other technologies can dramatically reduce day-to-day costs and improve efficiencies. Getting budget approval for a BC/DR plan is always easier if it looks like a free dessert that comes with the meal. For example, subscription-based technologies hold start-up costs to a minimum. Additionally, they can demonstrate a short pay-back period and substantial ongoing savings. Plus, subscription-based software applications and messaging solutions like e-mail and fax now become a predictable monthly operating expense and are easy to scale as your business grows.
So, the question remains: Do I want to depend on dumb luck or a solid BC/DR plan?” The authors sincerely hope that this is not an agonizing decision for you to make.
Edited by Brooke Neuman