Preparing Your Business for Disasters: How to Keep Your Lines of Communication Open

by Scott Yelton
September 06, 2018

September is National Preparedness month, and while many of us think about the steps we should be taking in our personal lives to prepare for disasters (and rightfully so), our businesses are not immune to the devastation that can ensue.

A recent study by the Aberdeen group found that businesses lost upwards of $260,000 per hour during outages. However, this figure doesn’t just apply to outages from natural disasters. Disasters of any kind can have grave impacts on a business, which is why we encourage our customers to prepare for any type of situation.

Whether you’re in the Florida Keys along the path of hurricane alley, or in Arizona where natural disasters are less likely, the reality Is, things happen.

Flooded streets prohibiting employees from accessing businesses

How to prepare your business, network and your communications for unexpected disasters

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to your business location, network and communications – all critical lifelines to your business.

Below is a checklist that can help you prepare and ask the right questions of your service provider to ensure your business location, network and communications are ready in advance.

Your business location(s)

  • Power – Do you have battery backups or generators? If so, routinely test them to make sure they maintain power. Ensure you have flashlights and batteries available just in case.
  • Safety – Are first aid supplies fully stocked, and is safety equipment functional and easy to access?
  • Awareness – Do you have an emergency plan for evacuations or other likely scenarios? If not, develop a plan and share it with employees. Make sure employees fully understand the procedures they will be expected to follow.
  • More resources – Visit the EPA site for additional disaster preparation tips.

 Your network

  • Access redundancy – Do you have diverse connections to your location(s)? If not, how do you plan to ensure access redundancy?
  • Network elements – Does your service provider have a geo‑redundant network? If not, how will this impact your business, should you find a way to ensure geo-redundancy?
  • Failover capabilities – Are your network connections set up for failover? Or better yet, do they have SD-WAN with “active-active” connectivity?

Your communications

  • Mobile applications – Can your employees work effectively outside of the office? How can you ensure they can make and receive business calls, chats, texts and emails from any location or device?
  • Call routing – Do you have a pre‑set plan to ensure calls can be answered in the event your location is unable to open? If not, develop a plan to re-route calls to other locations or mobile devices in an emergency.
  • Change management – Can you make online changes to your communications system from anywhere that has public Internet?
  • Cloud-based network – Is your communication system housed in your building or hosted in a secure data center?

The above list is a good starting point. However, it’s always a good idea to contact your service provider to walk through a network and communications disaster recovery plan or find a service provider that can help you design a more resilient solution that will ensure your business remains up and running, no matter what.