Disaster Recovery Toolkit: Stay in Touch After the Storm

Hurricane season is officially here. Businesses are now planning and refining their disaster recovery and business continuity plans to prepare for potential disruptions. Companies need to make sure and investigate a few specific areas – offsite backup, colocation, email continuity and data recovery. A voice-over IP (VoIP) telephone network and SMS text messaging are other smart continuity tools.

VoIP allows users to connect to a phone system from anywhere in the world, through the Internet. This becomes vitally important in disaster recovery as response teams head to pre-determined disaster response locations. At that point, team members can easily plug in the VoIP phone and instantly become an extension of the core system. To the outside world – clients, vendors, etc – this is transparent, as business transactions and internal communications continue.

Business communications act like any other IP-based application. Take email as an example. The user doesn’t worry about the actual location of the email server. Users plugs into an Internet connection and, through a Web portal or VPN, email works. The same thing goes for telephony, if IP is being used. Corporate telephony can be anywhere with an Internet connection. This flexibility and adaptability is ideal for any emergency or disaster situation where other networks may be inoperable.

Another ingredient to investigate when preparing for hurricane season is an SMS server. Ask anyone that endured Hurricane Ike, and they will tell you that cell phones were paper weights for 4 to 5 days, except for SMS text messages. The first day or two after the storm, users would notice as much as a 12 to 24-hour delay on the message, but it would eventually get through the network to the intended recipient.

Companies can leverage this easy and affordable medium for disaster recovery by utilizing an SMS server for communications to clients, vendors and internal employees. As long as administrators can reach the network, company officials can send messages to one or multiple groups, individuals and numerous distribution lists for a secondary line of communications.

How are you preparing for hurricane season? Has your DR/BCP plan been tested within the last 12 months?

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