No one likes to think about how their organization will react in a natural disaster or emergency, but having the right plan in place could potentially save lives. For some enterprises serving communities in the midst of a disaster, having a stable communications infrastructure is critical to ensuring people get the access to the services they need. Even in non-emergency situations, such as a power outage or loss of connectivity at an office, it’s important for organizations to provide people with a way to stay productive, regardless of where they’re working.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that the cloud can help enterprises keep connected in both emergencies and non-emergencies. Here are three key reasons why the cloud is a game-changer for disaster recovery communications.
People Intuitively Turn to Mobile
In the event of a disaster or emergency, it’s common for people to turn to their mobile devices to communicate, since they are easier to keep charged. Text messages and notifications can often still be transmitted when internet or cell service is limited, since data packets are smaller. Additionally, even though mobile carriers may face some downtime during disasters, they can be quick to restore service to affected areas. For example, during last fall’s California wildfires, AT&T and Verizon reported that their services experienced 99% uptime.
Because mobile is such a natural communication vehicle in situations like these, enterprises need to consider building fully functional communications and collaboration apps for mobile devices, so people can still communicate with each other or issue and receive mobile emergency alerts in a disaster situation.
When it comes to business continuity in the aftermath of a disaster, if there’s a loss of power and/or internet service, mobile devices can leverage any carrier to access the internet, unlocking voice functionality and team collaboration when people simply open their apps. If organizations optimize their applications to account for this possibility, people will get a great experience regardless of the network they’re using.
Remote Workers Can Maintain Productivity
Some enterprises mistakenly think they need an on-premises solution to maintain reliable connectivity during a disaster or emergency. However, if an on-premises solution goes down, people could lose access to critical services. On the other hand, if a cloud solution has the proper failover mechanisms in place, then people can retain full functionality, regardless of their location. There’s no longer a need to be dependent on hardware present in a physical location that’s prone to disaster. This is why many organizations we work with set up primary, secondary, and tertiary networks to make sure there’s backup cloud or mobile connectivity in place for workers in case of failure.
Enterprises Can Gain Full Visibility
Some organizations worry that because they’re outsourcing part (or all) of their communications infrastructure to the cloud, they’ll be unable to see what’s happening when there’s a disruption or failure of service. However, I’d argue that with the cloud, quite the opposite is true: There’s even more visibility into the performance of apps and services with network performance monitoring applications. For example, Fuze partners with AppNeta to help our customers see the end behavior of their networks, checking for disruptions like jitter or packet latency across the network. That way, when an executive asks an IT team member why a video call was slow, he or she has real data and answers about what happened at any given moment. This is something you simply can’t achieve with on-premises networks.
This visibility can be critical during a disaster, when people need to know the status of certain network services to communicate with both their teammates and customers. If IT has quick answers to these questions, then employees can stay focused on other tasks that are critical to business operations.
When evaluating a communications and collaboration technology service provider for its disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities, it’s important to ask the following questions:
Can you analyze my current network to see where there could be improvements, with the goal of increasing the odds of uptime during a disaster or emergency?
Where are your data centers located? Would I have access to multiple data center locations to prevent downtime in the event of a disaster?
What are your failover capabilities?
Can you show me a demo or proof of concept of these failover mechanisms between several networking points or data centers?
Can you backup your claims during a trial period, or provide me with access to customers who have been happy with their experience during a disaster or emergency situation?
In the end, it’s critical for organizations to find a partner that gives peace of mind that communications will stay up and running as much as possible, regardless of any type of disaster or emergency.
To learn more about Fuze’s global reliability, visit our Global Platform page.