BASKING RIDGE, N.J. -- Time is money, particularly in today's highly connected, highly competitive global economy.
The extreme weather events of the past few years underscore why disaster recovery and business continuity efforts are high on corporate and government priority lists. Lack of readiness in the face of unforeseen events can result in lost revenue, lower productivity and damage to brand reputation - things companies want to avoid at all cost.
Effective preparation and planning are the keys to helping organizations ensure continuity of operations during and after natural disasters and other unforeseen events. To help large-business and government customers develop effective disaster recovery and business continuity plans in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, Verizon Business is offering a top 10 list of suggestions.
"Business continuity continues to be a critical area of focus for us, not only for our own networks but also for our customers," said Nancy Gofus, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Verizon Business. "The more heavily organizations rely on technology, the more they require a comprehensive plan to help ensure continuous operations."
In a Dec. 2006 In-Stat report, "Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Needs Resonate Among US Business," only 28 percent of enterprises had fully implemented disaster recovery applications and 20 percent either had no plans or were unaware of any plans.
While chief information officers and business continuity professionals understand the importance of developing and implementing business continuance plans, it can be hard to identify where to start and what steps to take, especially given the overarching focus on growing revenues and improving customer satisfaction.
The following are Verizon Business suggestions to large-business and government customers as they work to develop comprehensive business continuity plans:
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, as well as operational and financial exposures. Coordinated network and continuity planning are essential. Base decisions on the principles of risk management. Identify critical business functions and processes, and deploy assets to help ensure seamless operations.
Partner with the best. 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 ensure rapid recovery response time. Alternatives range from physical relocation of equipment to outsourcing.
Deploy networks engineered to meet your changing business requirements. Develop and implement cost-effective networks that meet bandwidth requirements for continuous operations while delivering a return on investment.
Build redundancy to support critical operations. A combination of diverse network routing and the ability to duplicate mission-critical applications is essential to communications and the continuity of business operations.
Use network-based services. Network-based services enable the rapid restoration of service. The ability to quickly switch service from a disabled location to alternative sites has a positive impact on overall business continuity.
Maintain worker productivity - virtually anytime, anywhere. Applications such as remote access, alert notification services and conferencing helping to improve recovery time and can protect employees in extreme circumstances. Multimodal communications are essential to helping ensure organizations can reach and stay connected to key stakeholders.
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.
"The business continuity planning process is individual to every customer," added Gofus. "However, the importance of having a plan is universal. The investment made in terms of time, effort and money during the business continuity planning process can pay big dividends especially in the face of unforeseen events."
[Editor's Note: To learn more about Verizon Business' portfolio of business continuity services and capabilities, visit http://www.verizonbusiness.com/us/about/news/presskits/continuity/.]
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), is a leading provider of advanced communications and information technology (IT) solutions to large business and government customers worldwide. Combining unsurpassed global network reach with advanced technology and professional service capabilities, Verizon Business delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world. For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com.