Whether or not your business was affected by these recent tornadoes, it should give you reason to make sure you have a disaster recovery plan internally and with all of your vendors. Be it hurricane, tornado, flood, blizzard, or any other unforeseen disaster, it is critical for businesses to take the necessary steps to minimize any disruption in customer communications.
The Disaster Recovery Journal estimates that as many as 80% of all U.S. companies do not have an effective DR plan, which means any of those businesses could fail in a matter of minutes if disaster strikes.
Here are three disaster recovery essentials to keep you in business by safeguarding your customer data and communications during future emergencies:
1. Secure Backup Facility
Should a natural disaster or unexpected technical malfunction occur, data and operations must be accessible from a secure, fully operational offsite backup facility to prevent system disruption. This is especially important for any of your vendors. Data must be comprehensively backed up at a secure location that features total redundancy of all online systems, databases, communications, form inventories, and operational facilities.
2. Data Archiving
According to the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council’s Annual Report, 60% of companies that experience mass data loss will shut down within six months of a disaster.
Due to customer expectations and regulatory demands, many businesses are required to store data for longer periods of time, which means electronic archiving is an essential element to a DR plan.
3. Multi-Channel Correspondence
In the event of a natural disaster, alternate forms of communications are critical to a business’ survival. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, USPS mail service was suspended for weeks across several states. In order to still effectively reach customers when the mailstream is halted, it is essential to have multiple digital touchpoints to reach customers (think ePresentment, email, SMS, and social media correspondence).
- Email: Sending customer emails during emergency situations is a great way to keep communications up and running. Email servers are located globally, and it’s unlikely they will all be dead at the same time. Even if cell phone service is dead or a server is down, WiFi can still be remotely accessed.
- Text: Text messages require far less bandwidth and incur less costs than phone calls, and even when the ominous “all circuits are busy” recording is heard, texts will still go through.
- Social Media: Social media is similar to email in that it is hosted on a network of global servers, providing redundancy and fault tolerance.
- ePresentment: Electronic presentment through a direct link or online banking platform will allow your customers to log on anytime to view their account status.
When it comes to your business and natural disasters, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Ensuring your business, as well as your vendors, have strong DR plans will give you and your customers peace of mind in knowing you have them covered.
Want to learn more about disaster recovery? Click here to access Cisco's Disaster Recovery Best Practices.