Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires are a very real reminder of how the unexpected can significantly impact an organization.
“The time to plan and prepare for emergencies is before a business-impacting event occurs,” said Martin Burvill, senior vice president of operations for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Having a detailed plan in place that outlines the actions required to maintain business operations is critical, especially in today’s highly dynamic and connected global economy. Failure to have a plan is very costly and can result in lost revenue, lower productivity, and damage to brand reputation and customer satisfaction.”
Verizon offers businesses and government agencies 10 tips to help with their preparation:
Plan in advance. Developing a plan in the midst of a crisis is a recipe for disaster. Anticipate potential problems and have a well-documented, comprehensive plan to address both disaster recovery and continuity of essential business processes.
Assess your risk. Organizations should assess both networks and business models to determine risks, and operational and financial exposures. Base decisions on risk management, and identify critical business functions and processes in order to deploy assets to help maintain seamless operations.
Create a strong partner ecosystem. Select business partners whose resources are readily available for rapid deployment to assist in recovery and continuity efforts.
Protect critical networks, systems and applications. Inventory critical equipment and applications, and assess any vulnerability. Determine the best location for these services to help reduce catastrophic outages and provide rapid recovery response time. Alternatives range from physical relocation of equipment to outsourcing.
Deploy networks engineered to meet changing business requirements. Develop and implement cost-effective networks that meet bandwidth requirements for continuous operations while delivering a return on investment.
Use cloud- and network-based services for redundancy to support critical operations. A combination of diverse network routing and the ability to duplicate mission-critical applications is essential to communications and business continuity. Cloud- and network-based services enable access to important information and the rapid restoration of service and the ability to quickly switch service from a disabled location to alternative sites.
Develop telecommuting programs. Applications such as remote access and conferencing help improve recovery time and maintain employees’ connectedness and productivity in extreme circumstances.
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.
Utilize social media. Social media outlets play an important role in keeping stakeholders, including customers and employees, connected and informed during an emergency, especially when traditional methods of communications may be unavailable.
Review, test and refresh – continually. 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.
Verizon offers a comprehensive portfolio of business-continuity solutions, including a broad array of professional consulting services to help safeguard businesses and governments.