Ever have a nagging feeling that your center is more vulnerable than you’d like to admit? Odds are, creating or updating that dreaded Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) plan has been on your to do list for some time. Good news: Cloud services, server virtualization, mobile computing, and social networks provide some new options to address risk reduction and spur you on to address your BC/DR strategy.
Cloud service vendors can provide complete contact center technology solutions at their data centers or backup to your premise solution in the event of a disaster. If this option sparks your interest, make sure that the services you are considering are BC/DR-ready for your environment. Top items to address are:
- Ensure your vendor supports the proper network access and application configuration for your routing and reporting
- Negotiate service level agreements (SLAs) for uptime
- Determine how calls will be routed in BC/DR mode
- Understand the processes for transition and the impact on the customers
- Define multiple ways to contact your cloud vendor in the event of a disaster and the process for initiating switchover
Server virtualization makes it easier to support a BC/DR plan from a hardware perspective. Virtualized servers result in a smaller footprint which simplifies maintenance and lowers the total cost of ownership. Place virtualized servers in geo-redundant data centers to bolster your survivability.
Mobile computing and BYOD (bring your own device) give you the flexibility to open a center quickly in nearly any unaffected location using cell phones, tablets, and/or laptops. You may not have access to your full back office applications and may not handle interactions using the most efficient processes, but at least you are answering the calls and responding to emails. This transitional deployment can hold you over until a fully functional backup location is set up and ready to go.
Social media and SMS texting expand your lines of communication with your employees if an event should occur. You can quickly inform employees what BC/DR measures have been put into place, where they need to be, and what next steps are. The bonus: these technologies are not reliant on your corporate communications systems (that may be down if you are enacting BC/DR measures).
Even with great technology at your disposal, your plan isn’t complete without documentation and testing. You need to capture all of the technology components as well as the people and processes that go with them. Keep the plan and your written documentation as simple as possible, then put them to the test. If you can’t successfully execute a test run, your design is too complicated and/or documentation unclear. Note that you can store your plan electronically in your own systems as well as third party cloud storage.
If your organization currently doesn’t have a BC/DR plan, it’s time to get started. If you currently have a BC/DR plan, maybe it’s time for an update. Consider how technology changes can provide a nice counter-balance to the nagging feeling that we are more vulnerable than ever.
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