Verizon Wireless offers the following tips for businesses to consider before operations are interrupted:
- Maintain an updated contact list, including mobile and home phone numbers and e-mail addresses, for all employees.
- Identify an alternative number or voice mail where calls can be forwarded if your office is closed or employees are evacuated. Set up a hotline number for employees, employees' families, customers and partners to call for updates on the business situation and emergency plan.
- Make sure every employee knows how to use text messaging to communicate. Text messages are more likely to get through, especially when wireless networks are overwhelmed just before, during and immediately after a natural disaster like a hurricane landfall or tornado warning.
- Equip key employees with laptops with Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess service. When office computers or servers are destroyed by fire or under water, or when electrical power is knocked out to your office, Verizon Wireless' BroadbandAccess service enables businesses and mobile professionals to conduct business anytime, anywhere in the BroadbandAccess coverage area via a secure, high-speed data connection.
- Be truly mobile by making sure company mobile phone and BroadbandAccess users have chargers that can be plugged into auto cigarette lighters for all their devices. When there's a widespread power outage, business people can power their devices in their cars.
- VZ Navigator(SM) (Version 4) is a Verizon Wireless service that can provide enhanced directions to help drivers navigate around traffic jams and other delays that can occur in weather-related crises such as floods, hurricanes or wildfires.
Other general business continuity planning tips include:
- Inventory critical equipment and applications, and assess any vulnerability. Determine the best location for these services to help reduce catastrophic outages and ensure rapid recovery response time. Alternatives in addition to wireless backup range from physical relocation of equipment to outsourcing.
- Build redundancy to support critical operations. A combination of diverse network routing, in addition to wireless data capabilities, and the ability to duplicate mission-critical applications is essential to communications and the continuity of business operations.
- Train and educate your employees. An organization is only as good as its people. Design an effective distributed work business model and ensure employees have the training and tools to do their jobs either in the office, on the road or at home. Perform skills set assessments to understand staffing requirements necessary to support continuous operations.
- Review, test and refresh continuously. Once a plan has been developed, it must be reviewed, tested and refreshed. A business continuity plan is a living document and a critical business asset. Plans should be routinely updated and tested throughout the year.