Companies that suffer from unreliable communication services will tend to be more susceptible to operational disruptions, hindered brand images, lackluster employee engagement and inconsistent productivity. This is one of the many reasons why so many firms have started to invest in cloud-based unified communications solutions and management tools, which can help to boost the user experience of virtually everyone in the office and those who work remotely.
However, deploying UC without any form of disaster recovery or business continuity planning involved can be a dangerous move, and one that many enterprises make given a lack of knowledge regarding the threats. Downtime and outages can be devastating, costing companies thousands of dollars within just the first few hours of an event, damaging operations and hurting the overall efficiency and engagement of the workforce involved.
Cloud-based UC solutions will often provide an extra layer of protection against outages compared to traditional, internally hosted options, but leaders must also put in the legwork to ensure that their underlying plans and strategies are tight. With the right approach to these matters, enterprises will be more resilient to disruption and will often enjoy stronger performances across their technology frameworks, communications solutions and users on an everyday basis as well.
Strategic matters StateTech Magazine contributor Josh Haravay of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency recently explained some of the core tenets of disaster recovery from a strategic standpoint, suggesting that corporate culture will play a fundamental role in the outcomes of continuity efforts for most enterprises. This is somewhat of an understated aspect of any technology management framework, in that the users cannot be overlooked should the firm want the solutions in place to function properly and yield strong return on investment.
According to the author, leaders should be looking to transform the ways in which employees handle their responsibilities in the event of a disaster situation, or even a minor hiccup in the systems that causes a small outage. This would involve plenty of awareness initiatives that make employees aware of both threats and the best practices of handling processes during the recovery, as well as training to ensure that everyone is on the same page at all times.
Haravay pointed out that change management will also be critical in these matters, especially considering how quickly new technologies are entering the average enterprise today, and that asset oversight should be refined to be entirely comprehensive. This can be a relatively straightforward matter, though companies should always work to diligently and regularly refine their everyday strategies to include contingencies that will be followed in the event of a disaster.
Finally, Haravay added that managers must seek "validation" of the plans, and every moving part therein, to know that all aspects are fueling speedy and efficient recoveries of operational processes and assets. This can only be truly handled properly when the firm conducts plenty of tests and assessments, some of which should be realistic.
The technology Enterprises that leverage cloud-based UC services from a reliable provider will already be in the driver's seat when it comes to the technological aspects of recovery and continuity, as these solutions tend to be far better protected against a range of adverse events. When deploying new tools or changing the ways in which they are intended to be used, companies would do well to incorporate contingencies into their standing recovery frameworks to cover these assets.
Working with managed service providers throughout the planning and testing stages can be advantageous as well, as these programs must be crafted and executed with skill and experience.