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Disaster recovery plans are prerequisites to success

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The catastrophic events of 2012, including Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Bopha and a number of earthquakes and wildfires, increased the importance for companies around the world to implement advanced disaster recovery programs. Fortunately, many of today's business phone systems can enhance business continuity efforts by giving organizations the ability to collaborate efficiently in the wake of an emergency.

Sadly, many decision-makers either remain unaware of these benefits or simply choose to avoid them. This was highlighted in a recent study by SolarWinds, which revealed that approximately a quarter of the private sector has no preparedness or response plan in place. As a result, these firms, as well as any organizations they provide services to, will not be able to operate efficiently in the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster.

Further, only 48 percent of executives said they have software capable of resolving IT issues from remote locations, SolarWinds reported. This means that if an office phone system experiences an outage during an emergency, the majority of decision-makers will not be able to restore communications, leaving individuals stranded and without the ability to connect to colleagues, partners or clients.

"This result suggests that a staggering 25 percent of organizations remain at risk of losing their data and systems, with potentially disastrous consequences," said Masami Hashimoto, senior manager at SolarWinds. "We advise them to implement disaster planning as a matter of urgency, and to make remote support a key element in their plans."

How can companies improve disaster recovery programs?

The survey revealed that 30 percent of respondents were "not at all confident" in their ability to recover a reasonable amount of resources in a short amount of time. Meanwhile, a significant number of employees were not able to work because the company could not support a remote workforce.

Implementing a cloud-based phone system can help alleviate some of these issues, as the technology allows individuals to connect to vital solutions from virtually anywhere. This is an important business continuity characteristic, as the inability to work outside an office that has fallen victim to a disaster means employees cannot complete mission-critical operations to stay competitive and keep clients happy.

A report by TechTarget said the concept of a cloud PBX is not new, though the technologies backing the tools are much more sophisticated than they used to be, as they now allow companies of all sizes to restore collaboration techniques quickly and efficiently.

Disasters are a real threat that decision-makers need to consider if they want to ensure long-term success in the coming years. Because these events are not always avoidable, executives need to have a strategy in place that enables employees to get back on their feet as quickly as possible. If a firm decides to replace an old phone system with a hosted PBX system, it will likely be more prepared to continue operating in the wake of an emergency than other firms that have neglected to plan ahead.