The term business continuity describes the procedures and processes that an organisation puts into place so that it can ensure essential functions will continue throughout and after a disaster. Predicting everything that might go wrong with a business is impossible, as disasters could result from human error, hacking, or even natural disasters. This downtime can be expensive for your business, as every minute that your business cannot operate at its highest level will increase the chances that you experience a total shutdown.
Fortunately, a solution has been created to help businesses when it comes to business continuity: the cloud. Cloud technology has proven to be valuable when it comes to recovering from a disaster, mostly because of its constant online connections that team members use via mobile data networks and platforms. By better understanding how the cloud can aid in your company’s business continuity, you can have a greater appreciation for how this system may be able to benefit you.
Cloud Based Phone Systems
Moving business phone systems to the cloud can benefit your business in a variety of ways. It can improve customer service, increase employee productivity, and lower your information technology costs. These systems can let you change your outgoing messages within minutes while easily adding in multiple locations and allowing field agents to use business numbers to text and call customers from their smart phones. Cloud based enterprise phone system keep employees connected to colleagues and customers wherever they happen to be working and on whatever device that they are utilising, including desk phones, computers, tablets, and smartphones. This connectivity is essential in the event of a disaster and can allow your business to recover faster.
The Cloud and Data Recovery
The cloud can serve an important role in data recovery in the event of a disaster. According to an Aberdeen Group Study, businesses that ran in the cloud were able to resolve their disaster recovery issues in just over two hours, compared to over eight hours that it took for companies that did not rely on cloud service providers.
Backing up data off-site is one of the most important disaster recovery function, as many companies fail to send their data off-site. The cloud gives these businesses the ability to store some of their data in a remote place while also storing it online, allowing faster recovery times in the event of a disaster.
Automatic Software Updates
Automatic software updates are another way that the cloud provides business continuity to organisations. Security updates and server maintenance will be executed seamlessly with the cloud, and this is done without any disruption to business productivity. For example, in 2010, UK companies reported spending 18 working days each month managing on-site information security, but when cloud computing was involved, this server maintenance became automatic. Security updates were done seamlessly, freeing up employee time that could be spent on other tasks.
The Cloud Benefits Business Continuity for Companies of All Sizes
While some people may be under the impression that the cloud is best suited for larger companies, it can actually serve organisations of all sizes.
Small and Mid-Sized Companies
While large companies have been utilising the cloud for years to prepare for business continuity, it also gives smaller businesses these same capabilities. Many larger companies have invested in secondary data centers that can be used for backing up data and recovery, while smaller companies usually don’t go this route. Smaller companies with fewer than 100 servers typically back up to tape, and these tapes can be stored locally without a sophisticated disaster recovery strategy in place. Utilising the cloud will give these organisation's capabilities similar to those of large companies in which they can replicate servers and backup data, providing them with greater sophistication.
Even for larger companies that have sophisticated disaster recovery strategies and architectures in place, use of the cloud can be beneficial from control and financial perspectives. Larger companies can incorporate the cloud into the system that they already have in place, and an experienced cloud provider can consult with a business to create a strategy that will enable to cloud to work with existing systems.
The Cloud Provides Enhanced Security
Not only can the cloud be an important asset in the event that your organisation experiences a disaster from which it needs to recover, but is also improves overall security, which is an important benefit regardless of what is going on with your business. Whether things are calm or your organisation is in a state of crisis, the cloud works to protect customer data by providing physical protection, multi-factor authentication, advanced encryption, and access and identity management controls. Cloud companies will constantly use penetration testing and auditing so that they are always ensuring compliance with standards in the IT security industry.