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Keep communications in disaster recovery plans

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The private sector has always demanded the ability to quickly restore operations in the wake of an emergency, though many companies struggled to implement an effective failover program because of the project's cost or complexity. In many cases, developing a continuity plan in the past meant IT departments needed to re-engineer mission-critical applications, servers and business phone systems so they could be recovered efficiently. This was often difficult for firms with few exhaustible resources.

Further, the ongoing transformation of the delivery of solutions throughout the enterprise is a much more sophisticated process than in the past. While at first this may have been recognized as another obstacle firms needed to overcome when creating a continuity plan, the truth is that the advent of cloud computing and hosted phone systems now makes it easier for companies to deploy disaster recovery plans.

This was highlighted in a recent report by InformationWeek, which found that roughly 30 percent of executives plan to implement cloud initiatives in 2013, up from 25 percent who said so in January of last year. Still, there are a number of challenges associated with creating a robust and effective continuity strategy, most notably determining which systems and solutions should have a failover and what tools can be brought back online when normal operations resume.

Prioritized disaster recovery plans

Mission-critical solutions should be the top priority when considering which applications to restore. In many cases, this encompasses the office phone system and other collaborative tools and other technologies that provide real-time advantages or setbacks to everyday operations. Unfortunately, InformationWeek revealed that only 17 percent of companies can restore crucial applications in less than an hour. The majority, 50 percent, said it takes them between two and 24 hours to recover mission-critical resources after a disaster, while another 30 percent said it takes between a few days and several weeks.

Lacking communication for multiple weeks could be catastrophic for an organization, as employees would not be able to interact with colleagues, partners and, most important of all, customers. A separate report by a major cloud communications provider revealed that the majority of hosted PBX systems inherently address many of the challenges associated with deploying a business continuity program. The technology enables decision-makers to quickly access backup repositories to restore operations, regardless of location. Although this ability has always been important, it has become even more crucial today due to the proliferation of mobile devices and the trend to support remote working.

Putting communication at the top of the list is an important step in creating a disaster recovery program that will work to keep an organization as efficient as possible, despite any and all unforeseen events that would otherwise cripple operations. By using a cloud PBX system, executives can be sure employees can collaborate with clients and colleagues in the wake of an emergency.