[Webinar Recap] Aligning IT Disaster Recovery With Workplace Continuity: Do You Know What the Options Are?

Closeup of phone, computer, keyboard and mouseThis week we hosted a webinar with the Disaster Recovery Journal. The session addressed a topic we’ve seen cropping up more and more these days: “Aligning IT Disaster Recovery With Workplace Continuity: Do You Know What the Options Are?”

The Two Essential Components of Business Recovery

As Rentsys National Sales Manager David Tedford explained during the webinar, two of your business’s mission-critical assets are its systems — such as office technology, communications hardware and business continuity planning software — and its people.

You need both to fully recover, but sometimes your IT recovery time objectives (RTOs) just aren’t in sync with your workplace recovery capabilities. This is especially the case now that at least 63 percent of businesses have an RTO of less than 24 hours [PDF], whether due to operational needs or compliance requirements.

Bridging the Gap Between IT Disaster Recovery and Workspace Continuity

[Chart] IT Availability Continuum
Finding the right disaster recovery (DR) solution is not typically an issue. After all, most people who manage their company’s DR strategy are familiar with the IT availability continuum, from traditional backup on the low-cost, low-RTO end to server and storage clustering on the higher-cost, short-RTO end.

You know how to recover your systems, applications and processes, but what about your employees?

As David pointed out during the session, you can find workspace continuity solutions that correspond with IT recovery solutions in terms of RTO. For example, a modular workspace has a similar recovery window as traditional backup. On the other end of the spectrum, a virtual desktop interface solution can keep up with the short RTO of server and storage clustering.

To hear about the available workspace solutions, the pros and cons of each and examples of real-life applications, view the webinar here.

The Importance of Implementing a Voice Call Recovery Solution

If the voice communications network went down at your office today, would you be able to recover your phone systems quickly and efficiently?

A lineup of business telephonesVoice connectivity is a crucial factor of a business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan, because not having the ability to receive or deliver calls negatively affects your company’s ability to do business as usual.

For instance, if a large part of your employees’ jobs involves talking on the phone with clients or prospects, not having a functioning voice communications network slows their productivity.

By the time you get your infrastructure back up and running, your staff could be forced to work overtime to deal with a backlogged workflow, incurring unnecessary expenses for your business.

In addition to the financial strain of being unavailable by phone, your prospects and clients might view you as unreliable if they can’t reach you to have their concerns addressed promptly, which could damage future client relationships.

A comprehensive BC/DR plan should include steps for implementing a voice call recovery solution during a business interruption. For tips on how to keep your voice network up, check out our post "How to Prepare for Your Phone Systems Going Down."

Most Commonly Forgotten BC/DR Items

A red string tied around a finger as a reminderIf a disaster affected your city right now, what resources would you need to keep your business operational?

This question can be answered by creating a thorough business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan. However, implementing this type of plan can be stressful (especially if it's your first attempt).

We know it can be easy to forget some critical items along the way. We talked to a few of our DR coordinators to come up with some questions to remind you of what's important when coordinating your BC/DR plan.

How Will Your Data Be Backed Up?

We've talked about the importance of backing up your business-critical data, but don't forget to:

  • Keep a list of passwords in a secure location that more than one person can access in case the designated person is unavailable after a disturbance.
  • Arrange for on-site security to prevent someone from gaining unauthorized access to hardware containing your data.
  • Know which equipment you'll need to restore your backup data after a disaster and test it beforehand.

How Will You Supply Power to Your Building? 

Whatever type of facility you choose to use, make sure you plan how you will power it. Having a generator on hand (or using a third-party vendor to supply you with one) to keep operations running could be useful, but to make sure can keep the lights on during a power outage, don't forget to:

  • Preconstruct a manual transfer switch that allows for a quick connection of the generator to your building (if you source a rental generator).
  • Have enough fuel on hand to power generators.
  • Have a supply of low-wattage light bulbs to reserve generator power for office technology or other crucial equipment.

How Will You Communicate During a Disaster?

Being able to communicate with your employees, customers and the public is crucial during a disaster. When planning how to keep the lines of communication open, don't forget to:

  • Develop a list of employees' personal phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Plan how to communicate with your employees internally and how to address the incident with the general public.
  • Discuss with customers, investors and vendors beforehand how you will contact them after a disaster.

What Resources Do You Need at Your Temporary Workspace?

A business disturbance could leave your office building uninhabitable. You may have provisions for a temporary workspace in your BC/DR plan, but the details are what help keep your business running. When choosing a temporary office space, don't forget to:

  • Check the amount of bandwidth offered to make sure employees can work without interruption.
  • Make sure bathroom facilities are available.
  • Determine if your employees will need special accommodations such as a wheelchair ramp.
  • Coordinate the delivery of office equipment such as printers, copiers, fax machines, telephones and other office supplies.

The key to any BC/DR plan is testing. You'll learn where your weaknesses are and have the chance to solve any problems before a real disaster hits. To learn about the importance of testing, check out this video featuring our expert disaster recovery coordinators.

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