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Disaster recovery requires training, technology

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Businesses have trouble recovering from natural and man-made disasters because they have not taken the proper precautions.

The evolving risk landscape, coupled with the advent of sophisticated and unfamiliar technologies, is encouraging decision-makers throughout the business world to develop more innovative and supportive disaster recovery programs. Unfortunately, many of these endeavors do not end well. While companies do take steps to ensure employees have the ability to function in the wake of an emergency, many executives fail to get the workforce involved. This results in an overall unsuccessful strategy to keep operations running at all times.

A recent InformationWeek report highlighted this occurrence, noting that the failure to bring employees into the disaster recovery picture will only introduce long-term complications. If organizations have their business phone systems incorporated into continuity efforts, for example, individuals need to be aware of how they can access communication networks remotely or if they have to come to the office to do so.

The fact that many employees do not necessarily understand what defines a "disaster" is among the biggest problems companies have when trying to develop an innovative continuity strategy. InformationWeek said it is important to eliminate the idea that erupting volcanoes and meteor showers are what constitutes as an emergency. While these situations would be considered dangerous, the fact of the matter is that these incidents do not happen on a regular basis - if they do at all. Instead, executives need to cover the concept that any power outage should be considered a disaster.

If enterprises lose power, operations can come to a screeching halt. When individuals cannot use the office phone system to communicate with clients, colleagues and partners, corporate revenues and reputations will take a dive bomb. InformationWeek suggests implementing training programs to ensure the entire workforce understands what constitutes as a "disaster" and the best practices associated with avoiding those types of situations.

Raising awareness

In addition to the fact that many people don't really know what a disaster is, InformationWeek said the simple fact that people are unaware of a continuity program is a major issue in the enterprise. A lot of the time, people simply believe it is not their responsibility, as someone else in the IT department will surely handle the situation, right?

Executives need to eliminate this mentality. In truth, everyone has a role to play when getting an organization back up and running in the wake of an emergency. While this responsibility could be as simple as knowing how to securely access resources as a part of the remote workforce, every single employee needs to be aware of their particular job when operations are suffering.

InformationWeek also said a lot of companies simply fail to cover employees operations in their disaster recovery strategies. This means that individuals are not supported by plans or are guaranteed the ability to have access needed to carry out mission-critical objectives in a timely manner.

By planning ahead, collaborating with employees and, above all, implementing the right technologies, organizations can take proactive steps to ensure they have the ability to continue functioning in the wake of an unforeseen emergency.

Incorporating technology in recovery endeavors

As the IT landscape evolves, decision-makers are being given access to new, emerging technologies that promise to transform the way companies view and tackle disaster recovery endeavors. Cloud computing is quickly being acknowledged as the most prominent of these resources, as it can be incorporated into an increasingly broad range of solutions. A hosted PBX, for example, allows companies to let people use personal smartphones, tablets and virtually any other device to access the communications network from anywhere. This is having a major impact on continuity programs, as the hosted phone system allows organizations to support any kind of connectivity.

In an Enterprise CIO Forum report, IT expert Rick Blaisdell highlighted the importance of incorporating the cloud into today's disaster recovery programs. This is because cloud solutions are easy to use, despite being much more complex and sophisticated than legacy solutions. Cloud technologies are also highly scalable, flexible and adaptable, making them ideal candidates for organizations that need to manage varying degrees of traffic during an unpredictable event or emergency.

Decision-makers can also work with trusted service providers to get the cloud up and running much quicker than if IT directors had to revive an antiquated platform, Blaisdell asserted. Using a cloud VoIP system, for example, gives organizations the ability to support multiple types of communication methods and restore these practices if companies experience internal network outages or some other performance problem.

In the coming years, enterprises will be required to develop well-rounded and in-depth disaster recovery programs to ensure employees can carry out mission-critical operations in a timely and efficient manner during the wake of unforeseen circumstances. This means that decision-makers will need to get employees on the same page, include individuals in training sessions regarding best practices and implement innovative technologies that can support connectivity, regardless of external circumstances.