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Posted: April 28, 2014

Four keys to continuity during crisis

Don't get caught flat-footed in the next flood

Shawn Adamson

From wild fires to floods, Colorado has seen its fair share of natural disasters in recent years.

Other parts of the country also have been affected by rockslides, storms, avalanches, tornados, hurricanes and mudslides. These natural disasters have in some cases devastated lives.

In addition, they’ve destroyed businesses, highlighting the importance of planning ahead. In fact, for businesses, evaluating and implementing disaster recovery and business continuity plans can make a world of difference; and can often mean the difference of whether a business continues to operate after the storm has passed

Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are IT processes that help organizations prepare for disruptive events, ranging from floods to wild fires, hurricanes to earthquakes, or even simple power outages caused by damage to power lines.  Still, some businesses, particularly smaller ones, remain flat-footed when it comes to contingency planning.

Like it or not, unpredictable weather can be part of life here in Colorado – and so is preparing for it. While a natural disaster’s impact on your business is virtually impossible to know in advance, the benefits of investing time and resources in business continuity and disaster recovery planning are indisputable.   

The first and most important priority is ensuring that your business networks are well-supported. Businesses of all sizes rely on their Internet and telephone connections to drive and support their daily operations. Without a reliable network, business operations can come to a standstill, leading to millions lost in revenue.

Here are four critical steps your business should take:

  1. Back up all critical systems, applications, data, etc., to an off-site data center so that if your business is hit by a disaster such as a tornado, flood, fire, power outage etc. critical information can still be accessed from a remote  data center that is ideally located a good distance away from your area.
  2. Select a service provider whose network provides redundancy, automatic failover and 24x7 technical supports. This will help to protect the integrity of your Internet service and maximize the “uptime” of your connection. If your business has more than one location, an ethernet service can be used to connect to a primary data center and to multiple company locations.
  3. Ensure you have the ability to do remote call forwarding. Businesses that can alert customers and receive phone calls from them are at an enormous advantage, allowing your business to continue even if your location doesn’t have regular phone service.
  4. Partner with a colocation facility. This facility will provide your business with additional options to help protect your network-based operations during a major storm.

By having a solid business continuity/disaster recovery plan, businesses can differentiate themselves in the market. Being available to customers in a crisis, or when an outage occurs could be the difference between your business and your competitor’s.

Shawn Adamson, the Vice President of Commercial Business Services for Comcast’s Mile High Region, is responsible for developing and implementing Comcast's innovative commercial services offerings in the small, medium and enterprise business markets. She leads Comcast as it continues to deliver new technologies and services to its business customers, including the launch of Metro Ethernet. She has nearly 20 years of management experience in sales and operations. Shawn can be reached by email at shawn_adamson@cable.comcast.com

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