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Business continuity planning

Business continuity planning
Employee Employee ‎09-21-2018 08:59 AM

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A few stark facts speak volumes about business continuity planning. Why it matters:

  1. For the 233 weather and climate disasters since 1980, overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2018)1
  2. Roughly 40-60 percent of small businesses do not reopen after a disaster; having a disaster plan in place can increase a company’s odds of survival2
  3. For businesses in the middle of the market, the cost of a day-long outage can range into the tens of thousands of dollars

Unplanned events, whether natural or human-caused, are inordinately tough on growing businesses. In every market sector, ransomware is rampant and malware regularly infiltrates systems that are critical to essential operations. Severe weather always seems to hit at the worst possible time. However, preparing for disaster recovery through business continuity planning can be affordable for businesses of any size. Here are three simple steps to help maintain operations.

 

Step 1—Evaluate business impact.

Key considerations:

  • Employee security and connectivity
  • Rapid return to normal communications and collaboration
  • Continuous customer support

Decision factors:

Business size—Midsized companies can benefit from a wealth of secure business applications via cloud-based unified communications (UC). Smaller and start-up businesses can control the costs and other limitations associated with traditional communications systems by embracing the reliability of the cloud. Enterprise-grade tools such as VoIP can help with managing tight IT budgets while keeping employees and customers connected, virtually anywhere.

Business situation—More and more businesses operate in multiple locales across varying time zones to access the widest possible markets. Assess whether geographically dispersed offices can communicate more efficiently, with less equipment to maintain and provision, as the business grows, or when normal operations are interrupted.

Employee productivity—For more businesses in particularly competitive markets, employees work remotely all or part of the time. They do so to better address customer needs on the customer’s terms. Traditional workplaces where cubicle dwellers work a 9-5 routine are giving way to models that better accommodate employee needs and help maintain business continuity. These market-friendly trends are made possible by technologies designed and priced to outfit any business with collaborative unified communications. They enable employees and customers to remain securely connected almost anywhere they live and work.

 

Step 2— Outline recovery and implementation issues.

Key considerations:

  • Resource requirements
  • Human and hardware limitations relative to capacity and bandwidth
  • Team buy-in

Decision factors:

Cost—Consider solutions that control costs associated with, for example, additional or legacy equipment in multiple office sites. An entirely cloud-based platform delivers the latest in VoIP technology while helping to hold down capital costs. Challenge providers on the basis of cost and capacity options to get a flexible plan that meets business requirements for the right price.

Complexity—Solutions can and should adapt seamlessly to the business. Opt for platforms that limit time-intensive decisions and convoluted processes. Look for scalable UC products. The best of these use secure, reliable technology to provide integrated voice and data services, collaboration tools, mobility, contact center services and advanced call features across any number of business locations.

Implementation—Select a business-continuity plan the entire team can support. It can be implemented quickly and efficiently, involving the fewest possible distractions from the core business. With cloud-based UC, the complexity of running a system becomes the supplier’s responsibility. The supplier also is responsible for providing, consistently and securely, UC features such as voice, video and wireless.

 

Step 3—Build, test and implement a framework.

Key considerations:

  • Aligning requirements to available, affordable services
  • Identifying success criteria
  • Reconciling weaknesses through trials

Decision factors:

Planning—Create a plan for communications migration. The plan will match requirements to services that comprehensively address business needs. For example, a hybrid cloud solution may ease the path to UC and the cloud for companies with existing equipment and two or more locations that are networked. Digital voice plans can offer dozens of calling features at a wide range of price points for lean and growing businesses that are highly mobile and operate in fast-moving industries.

Testing—Failure to test can result in significant losses due to downtime. At the same time, testing can be disruptive and resource-intensive. Think ahead about needed management buy-in, planning phases and execution. Also consider how corrections will be handled when a trial reveals a problem or flaw.

Implementation—Choose a qualified, committed partner. The right service provider will be deeply invested in delivering services tailored to each business client’s situation, requirements, resources and budget. The provider will be immediately accountable for performance milestones and service benchmarks. The best also will offer customer care in real time. Consider whether training and consulting services will be needed as the business evolves.

 

Resources:

Learn more about the features and affordability of Business Communications from Verizon. Find out how we can help you boost competitive position, better control costs and maintain business continuity when the unexpected occurs. Contact a Verizon business specialist

 

[1] NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview.

[1] FEMA Business Infographic.

 

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Contact the editor: tumara.r.jordan@verizon.com

About the Authors

Tumara Jordan

Senior Manager: Verizon Business Markets

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Tumara is a contributor to the Business Markets Marketing team and she currently manages Social Media marketing campaigns.


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