Virtual Office Featured Article

Fonality Wants Companies to be Ready for Emergencies During National Preparedness Month

September 03, 2015
By Frank Griffin - Contributing Writer

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), and the goal is to bring awareness to the potential disasters that can affect communities across the country. While the event is designed for calamities in the physical world, our dependence on technology also demands the same type of awareness to many of the dangers we face in the digital world. The digital threat landscape is such that no one can afford to be without a continuity and disaster recovery plan in place. Fonality (News - Alert), provider of unified phone systems and applications, is taking advantage of the NPM with a survey designed to determine the level of preparedness of businesses in case of an emergency.

According to the survey, close to half, or 47.8 percent of businesses don’t have solutions in place to continue their operations if their office is shut down for any particular reason.

The survey revealed there are many different reasons for office closures, and 56 percent said there was at least one or more days in the past year they could not work, while 3.6 percent stated they had 13 or more days.

There were many different reasons for the closures, including bad weather, power outages and other issues, and if a recovery and continuity plan is not in place, the confusion of the disaster makes things worse. As a business, not being available a single minute can result in losing customers, so hours or days is not an option.

"Keeping communication flowing is essential for business continuity. Many organizations do a great job communicating externally using websites and social media in these situations," says Jeff Valentine, Fonality's chief marketing officer and an expert on remote work. "However, they may not be making the most of arguably their most important and proven office technology – their phone system. Modernizing to a cloud VoIP and unified communications solution minimizes or even eliminates potential disruptions."

Fonality makes the following recommendations as part of an overall business continuity plan:

Communication is crucial, and while traditional on-premises PBX (News - Alert) systems are suitable, they are absolutely useless if there is a power outage or the equipment is damaged. A hosted VoIP phone solutions with unified communications (UC) extends the availability from virtually anywhere as long as there is Internet access, which includes mobile devices that can be charged in your car.

Disaster-proof key office resources with remote backups and redundancies so they can be accessed from anywhere. In addition to critical functions like data backup, file sharing, accounting and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, the communications solution has to be part of the plan.

Be ready to work remotely. This might seem obvious, but businesses should practice working remotely throughout the year. Different departments can work remotely at different times of the year so the entire organization knows what to do if there is a disaster. Real life experience goes a long way in addressing problems that may not show up in simulations.

As the National Preparedness Month continues to make people mindful of the dangers around them, it should also be a time for everyone to take the recommendations and apply them to their digital environment.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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