The inevitable but unpredictable hurricanes, floods and other disasters that struck during the past year in North America and elsewhere have sent companies scrambling to develop or update plans for “business continuity” — how to keep things running when the unthinkable occurs.
The smartest companies now working on business continuity plans won’t just make accommodations for what to do if major interruptions occur, but will also consider smaller events like local power outages that happen more frequently but can be just as devastating.
Max Schroeder, senior vice president at FaxCore (News
), said studies show that 75 percent of business interruptions are related to smaller outage events, rather than a major impact like a hurricane. Regardless of where a company is located (since weather-related disasters vary by location), it’s likely that sooner or later some type of outage will occur that will impact business.
Having contingency plans in place is smart and could save a company. This plan should consider what ought to be done if an ice storm knocks out power for several days, if an Internet connection line gets accidently cut during construction and takes hours to repair, if a hurricane levels a company’s building, if vital files or equipment are destroyed in a flood, or any other myriad of potentially devastating events large and small.
Schroeder said the first step in any business continuity plan should be to perform a full audit of what needs to be protected and which procedures are already in place that can be built from.
“Data backup is essential and communications have to be maintained,” Schroeder told TMCnet.
The good news is that companies using converged IP communications solution have a leg up when it comes to business continuity. This technology has driven down the cost and the complexity of backup systems, while adding robustness to business continuity.
“VoIP, FoIP and other IP technologies are uniquely suited for continuity planning,” Schroeder said. “They are much easier to deploy and do not require the major infrastructure of legacy systems.”
For example, he said, it is now possible for a small or medium-sized business (SMB) to deploy a backup VoIP system in the home of an employee, something that wouldn’t have been possible with a legacy telecom switch.
“Today’s broadband access to home locations are generally more than sufficient to handle the needs of a small to medium-sized company,” he noted.
The lifeblood of any company is its ability to communicate — both internally and externally. Today, this means ensuring that if disaster strikes there are backups in place for e-mail, Web site(s), voice and fax. FaxCore, as its name suggests, focuses on the fax element in this list.
“In many companies, major portions of operations — such as order processing, customer support, and reporting by field personnel — run on fax,” Schroeder pointed out. “These operations must be maintained and records must be retained at a safe location.”
FaxCore’s solution is specifically architected to meet those requirements. Standard, no-extra-fee features include a Web user interface (UI) for full staff mobility (compatible with Internet Explorer 6.x and 7, Safari and Firefox), integration with Microsoft (News
) Exchange 2003 and 2007, support for Active Directory, integration with SharePoint Server 2007 for data sharing and backup, a Web Service/SOA software development kit (SDK) for customization so it isn’t necessary to buy expensive add-on modules, and free copy of server app and fax channel licenses for backup sites.
The FaxCore solution also, importantly, integrates with VoIP using Brooktrout’s line of SR140 fax over IP (FoIP) solution. This allows FaxCore to work seamlessly with VoIP solutions from Avaya, Cisco (News
) and other vendors.
Learn more about FaxCore at INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO (News - Alert) will take place in Los Angeles, California, September 16-18, 2008, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Visit FaxCore at booth #D1 in the exhibit hall. Don’t wait. Register now!
Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae's articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Mae Kowalke