Monday, September 21, 2009

XO Offers Business Continuity Planning Guide

XO Communications, a major provider of competitive telecom services, has a Business Continuity Planning Guide available for your perusal.

What is business continuity and what does it have to do with telecommunications? Here’s a hint. The other name for business continuity is disaster recovery.

Disaster recovery we understand. Every one of us has recovered from many disasters in our lives. Perhaps you’ve had your business robbed and lost everything you were working on when they took your computers. Maybe a flood wiped out all the records in the basement and kept you out of the building for a couple of weeks till the waters receded. Maybe it was something as simple as leaving your smartphone in a taxi, never to be returned.

Business continuity is how you keep going when a natural or man-made disaster strikes. As you might suspect, you’ll have a much easier time of it if you think about what can go wrong and cover yourself before the trouble starts. This can be a casual activity or a very structured methodology.

It stands to reason that the larger the business and the more diverse the activities and relationships, the more important it is to take business continuity planning seriously and devote the time and resources needed to protect the business. The XO guide has a chilling quote: “93% of companies that lose access to the information in their data centers for 10 days or more will file for bankruptcy protection within a year of the loss.”

The same might be said of the small business or independent professional. What if your office caught fire tonight and your computer was destroyed along with every backup CD-ROM melted? All the paper files would be ash, of course. If your laptop and cellphone were on your desk at the time, how would you start over with everything gone?

One answer for every business from large to small is having real backups that can’t be stolen or destroyed in a single event. That includes offsite backup for everything. If your server is located in a colocation center a thousand miles away, the tornado that levels your building won’t destroy your online operation. Redundancy is the key. No files of any importance should be in only one place. They need to be securely located in two or more independent files far away from each other, but still accessible when needed.

A similar principle applies to telecommunications lines. If someone digging down the street cuts the telco trunk lines that serve your building, how long will you be without telephone or Internet service? How much will the lost business and productivity cost? If the answer is more than trivial, think about having redundant services. The backup doesn’t necessarily need to have the same capacity as the main service. But it does need to be enough to support critical business activities.

Have a look at the XO planning guide for other ideas on how you can protect your business interests. As a smaller organization, you can probably assess your situation and put some sensible redundancies into place easily. As a larger organization, you may want to form a dedicated team to assess the risk and come up with solutions or bring in a consultant that specializes in business continuity planning.

For help with your voice and data circuits and hosting options, there are excellent cost effective solutions available from XO and other competitive service providers. Get voice and data service options and cost information quickly and easily through our GeoQuote (tm) online service.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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