Businesses rely heavily on technology these days and it needs to be a major focus of your business continuity plan. Certain key functions like communications, product development, marketing, storage and security will hinge on your ability to adopt flexible technology that fits the needs of your organization. Here we take a look at four key technology for an effective business continuity plan.
A VOIP platform is essential to business continuity as you can connect phones over the internet, enabling your team to maintain communications anywhere there is a connection. This eliminates the need for a physical office and enables you to deploy your team to remote locations. Using VOIP as your primary mode of communication allows you to pivot to a remote work model quickly without having a negative impact on your business.
Having a secure place for your team to meet and collaborate is essential to maintain smooth operations. Your creative teams need a platform to brainstorm ideas. Team meetings, company briefings and client calls need to go on as scheduled. Reliable meeting software keeps teams connected and adds a bit of a human element to the day when working remote. Video conferencing also gives you the opportunity to meet with prospects and clients face to face, even if it is just on a computer screen.
Marketing Automation Platform
Having a centralized platform that houses all of your content and the tools you need to carry out marketing campaigns assures you that your efforts will not be negatively impacted in the case of an emergency. Marketing is an essential support function and downtime can allow your competition to gain an edge. Not only do these platforms streamline your marketing operations, they provide valuable analytics on how to improve. Since these platforms are web based, they can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection, helping you to avoid interruption.
Cloud Computing and Storage
“The Cloud helps to reduce investment in technological infrastructures, optimizes flexibility, mobility, etc. In short, Cloud Computing simplifies use by helping to get rid of the constrains of a traditional computer tool (deploying and updating software, storage space, accessibility of data, etc.).” “Using cloud storage as a depository for your files ensures they are safe in case your device get broken or lost. All storages have an “auto-upload” function, so you can synchronize it and download the photo in the cloud after the very moment it was produced.”
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Cloud computing has been around for nearly two decades and is quickly becoming a necessity in nearly every industry. There are a myriad of features that contribute to reduced costs, increased efficiency and business continuity. Here we take a look at ten key benefits of cloud computing.
“Once you’re on the cloud, easy access to your company’s data will save time and money in project startups. And, for those who are worried that they’ll end up paying for features that they neither need nor want, most cloud-computing services are pay as you go.”
“Protecting your data and systems is an important part of business continuity planning. Whether you experience a natural disaster, power failure or other crisis, having your data stored in the cloud ensures it is backed up and protected in a secure and safe location. Being able to access your data again quickly allows you to conduct business as usual, minimizing any downtime and loss of productivity.”
“Cloud computing may seem complicated, but it actually has way fewer issues than other infrastructures. Since the cloud runs on its own servers through a company whose only job is to make the cloud functional and bug-free, it’s usually a whole lot more reliable than your own, on-location server.”
Backup And Recovery
“Once the data is stored in a Cloud, it is easier to get the back-up and recovery of that, which is otherwise very time taking process on-premise.”
SaaS and Cloud Dev Platforms
“A software-as-a-service provider may discuss the savings from paying for application access versus purchasing off-the-shelf software. Software providers will add those “cloud attribute” benefits to the specifics of their software. Recently, there has been more discussion regarding the savings that cloud-based platforms can offer developers.”
“Giving employees easy access to their work portals is just one of the many benefits of cloud computing. The cloud is accessible to anyone using the internet. All your employees must do is log in to their accounts, and they have access to their email, files, and anything else they need to get their jobs done.”
“If you’re looking to save on space around the office and more efficiently use the space you already have, cloud computing helps you reduce your physical footprint by freeing up valuable workspace that’s currently devoted to IT infrastructure.”
“Having the ability to work from various locations is a strategic benefit of remote work but now it’ll be a necessity. Cloud storage can help remote workers stay productive from wherever they choose to work. Cloud- focused applications facilitate this experience because they permit users to synchronize mobile devices, tablets and computer together.”
“Rather than investing in an on-premises data warehouse, where you are also required to implement and maintain security protocols, the cloud provides enterprises with a simpler, less resource-intensive way to protect their data.”
“Collaboration is instantly enhanced with cloud computing functions. You no longer have to wait for your teammate to exit a document for you to edit; with online data storage, you can both read and edit text at the same time.”
Valentine’s Day is rich in tradition and much like many other major holidays, its origin is up for debate. There are, in fact, two men named Valentine from Rome that are considered to be the inspiration for the holiday and many believe it to simply be an adaptation of a pagan holiday. Here we take a look at a bit of the history and some fun facts about Valentine’s Day.
“Though some historians believe that Valentine’s Day commemorates the death of St. Valentine on February 14, others believe that the holiday actually has its origins in a Pagan fertility festival called “Lupercalia,” which was celebrated on February 15 in ancient Rome.”
“The Valentine’s Day tradition of giving a box of candy was started in the 19th century by Richard Cadbury, a scion of a British chocolate manufacturing family. With a new technique recently established at the company to create more varieties of chocolate, Cadbury pounced on the opportunity to sell the chocolates as part of the beloved holiday.”
“Each year, kids in classrooms across America hand out Valentine’s Day cards to their classmates. According to History.com, the oldest record of a Valentine was a poem Charles Duke of Orleans wrote to his wife when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415.”
“Back in the Victorian era, people expressed their emotions through floriography or the language of flowers. Giving a certain kind of flower conveyed a specific message, and red roses meant romance.”
“Cupid is said to be the symbol of valentines. Cupid is the son of Venus. Venus is the Roman god of love and beauty.”
“February 14th is the second largest card giving day of the year, just after Christmas. This year, it’s expected that 1 billion cards will be exchanged around the world.”
“The popular medieval folk belief that birds choose their mates on February 14 made doves a favorite symbol for Valentine cards. The dove was sacred to Venus and other love deities and was known for choosing a lifelong mate.”
“In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.””
“Every Valentine`s Day, the Italian city of Verona receives approximately 1,000 letters that have been addressed to Juliet. This is where Romeo and Juliet, the young lovers in Shakespeare`s play, lived.”
“Candy hearts were created from medical lozenges. In 1847, Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase invented a machine that simplified the lozenge production process, resulting in the first candy-making machine, according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America.”
Every business should have a business continuity plan in place in order to remain operational and efficient should the unexpected happen. “The main goals of a business continuity plan are to improve responsiveness by the employees in different situations, ease confusion by providing written procedures and participation in drills and help ensure logical decisions are made during a crisis.” There are several questions your business will need to answer to create a comprehensive business continuity plan that keeps your business operating at a sufficient level.
1. What is the scope of your business continuity plan?
How big do you really need to go, and what kind of budget do you have available to funnel into your preparations? A business continuity plan is a necessary investment, and an appropriate budget that ensures your needs are met should be set aside. Start with the bare bones of what you need to remain operational and expand from there as your budget allows.
2. What are your key business areas that need to be accounted for?
Each area of your business has a varying degree of importance and specific needs. Which ones are vital to ensure continuity, and what type of support will they require? Certain departments are more essential than others to keep running in the event of an emergency. Some may be able to be scaled back or temporarily shut down without causing significant disruption.
3. Which functions are vital to business continuity?
Certain functions are more critical than others. Which ones do your need to remain operational to continue doing business even in a small capacity? Both core functions and support functions will need to be addressed.
Certain support functions may be able to be trimmed for a period of time, provided they don’t have too great an impact on operations.
4. Which areas of your business need to remain connected to ensure smooth operations?
Certain departments and functions depend on others. What is the plan to keep them in proper communication? Communications are essential in business. Your plan should include a directory of cell phone numbers, backup phone systems, meeting software, and a web-based program to share documents at a minimum.
5. How much downtime is acceptable for each of your critical functions?
“The Critical Business Functions or CBF are business activities and processes that must be restored in the event of a disruption to ensure the ability to protect the organization’s assets, meet organizational needs, and satisfy regulations.” After identifying your critical functions, you need to know the bottom line costs of downtime for each of them and have a plan to get them back up in an acceptable amount of time.
6. Which strategies are essential to your organization in order to handle daily tasks?
Which aspects of your business strategy cannot be adjusted in case of an emergency, and how can you become more flexible? Strategies that are essential to your core operations should be addressed first.
Things like hiring and growth initiatives can likely be placed on hold in an emergency, but every organization will be different.
7. What software is necessary to continue operating efficiently?
Software and data are critical to nearly every business. Which ones are vulnerable, and what might need to be changed to remain operational? If there is a security breach or people are forced to work remotely, you will need backups and alternatives to your most vital software and data, as well as a plan to get things back up fast and efficiently.
8. Which processes will need to be adjusted to ensure continuous operations?
Specific processes will need to change in the event of a disaster. Which ones need added flexibility to ensure continuity? The processes behind core business functions need to have a continuity plan all their own in order to maintain operations.
Processes need to have a certain level of flexibility built-in. The type of problem you’re facing will determine which operations will be impacted and dictate what adjustments need to be made.
9. Which technologies are vital to business continuity specific to your organization and industry?
Are your phone systems, computer hardware, and machinery specific to your industry able to remain functional if disaster strikes? You’ll need to uncover your current technologies’ vulnerabilities and shortcomings and understand how different disaster scenarios will impact each of them.
You’ll want to have a plan to remain operational even at a reduced capacity, as well as a plan to get everything back up and running as quickly as possible.
10. Do you have a backup facility reserved as a disaster recovery site?
Many businesses are not able to send everyone home and remain operational. Do you have a backup facility available that will fit the needs of your organization? Many organizations have learned that some departments can remain productive working from home, but areas like manufacturing and research and development will require a backup facility to stay productive. The cost of a backup facility should be weighed against the potential cost of downtime in the case of an emergency.
The last year has highlighted the need to have a plan in place that will prepare your business for any situation. Alto9 can help you to develop and implement a plan that will give you peace of mind moving forward.
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