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Evolving business continuity plans during unprecedented uncertainty

(Image credit: Future)

With all that is going on in the world today, I started thinking about moments in time that can drastically impact our lives and businesses. The Covid-19 pandemic is not the first major crisis to cause such mass disruption, and unfortunately, it also won’t be the last. These are truly the defining moments for business leaders. They also serve as reminders that there’s never a better time than the present to have an active business continuity plan in place.

If social distancing has taught us anything, it’s that open lines of communication have never been more crucial than they are today. The “new normal” has suddenly forced businesses into drastic digital transformation. They’ve had to quickly learn how to communicate with prospects and customers to ensure products and services are not interrupted. Simultaneously, they’ve had to ensure there are adequate measures in place to enable employees to work remotely – all within a moment’s notice. This is typically a journey that needs to be well planned by businesses as they think about the needs of employees, business partners, and customers.

I am more confident than ever that this moment in time will birth a new communication hub - one that is a centralised way to communicate and can instantly deliver live video, video conferencing, video-on-demand, as well as traditional communication vehicles such as podcasts, messaging, blog posts and more.

We’ve seen first-hand the popularity that communication tools such as Slack, Zoom and others have experienced during the coronavirus crisis. Yet each of these solutions have a niche focus in one communication channel – whether that’s messaging, video conferencing or otherwise. More than ever, we need a hub that encompasses multiple communications channels and serves as an all-in-one platform to communicate globally.

Until that hub exists, enterprises need to plan ahead. Now, as countries begin to reopen and businesses plan their return to the offices, business leaders must put their continuity plans in place to prepare for the next potential disruption. Here are the top components IT leaders need to consider when it comes to enterprise communications planning.

Reliability

Reliability is key to continuity. Businesses need to trust that streaming quality is at its highest, bandwidth is properly managed to withstand the increased digital activity, and that digital assets and resources are available and accessible 24/7. To achieve this, IT teams need to evaluate workflows to ensure a number of variables are in place; such as if they can support adaptive bitrate streaming for high-quality video, if their player can reach multiple devices and screens to cater to various viewing preferences, or if they have an easy-to-navigate video portal that stores content in an organised, accessible way. For business continuity, we need reliable, safe, and trustworthy communication tools that don’t compromise our path forward.

Scalability

Businesses also need the ability to immediately host live events that can be scaled to hundreds of thousands of people at the same time. This means having the ability to process and analyse an abundance of data across regions, having access to video platforms that can hold an infinite amount of participants at once, and having the ability to reach people wherever they are across smartphones, tablets, connected TVs, desktops, and beyond.

A good example of this is the NAB Show, which is launching its first-ever digital event, NAB Show Express, as they’re offering 24-hour broadcasting across three channels in order to cater to various time zones and viewing preferences. The use of broadcast channels – or content hubs – in lieu of physical corporate events is one we anticipate to see more frequently moving forward. IT leaders should work closely with their corporate events team to determine the scalable video solution that will best serve for future event broadcasting.

Security

The last essential component of an effective communication plan is the ability to integrate video seamlessly and securely with conferencing and other communication technologies. This moment in time has put a lot of strain on businesses’ IT and security teams as they need to consider various infrastructure factors such as cybersecurity risks, data protection, governance, and beyond. There were already a number of concerns for security officers pre-pandemic that are now amplified with a completely remote workforce; such as shortages in cybersecurity skills and resources, or the lack of a strong data governance and monitoring practice. Businesses have also seen more processes move to the cloud and an expansion of network endpoints, which make access and identity management an ongoing challenge. To ensure a safe path forward, businesses need platforms that offer infallible data security with features like IP restriction, single sign-on (SSO), digital rights management (DRM), and more, while also giving them the global reach they need. This strategy not only manages content security and operational risks, but also enables businesses to do more virtually with easy and effective workflows.

Social distancing has caused people, technology, and processes to change and evolve as our priorities and way of life have quickly shifted. But, there has been one constant that has kept us together – and that’s video. While video has certainly maintained human interaction to a certain degree, businesses’ continuity plans are only successful if they’re reliable, scalable, and most importantly, secure.

As someone who started his career in intelligence communication and cybersecurity, the complexities and concerns that global crises have initiated – such as the dawn of the hacker and 9/11– draw similarities to what we face today. I am even more confident that this moment in time will evolve into a continuity communication plan for enterprises globally. This is a time for business leaders to work together to ensure we are all prepared for the next “moment” that will define us. When that time comes, we need to be ready and able to communicate on a moment's notice, through whatever resources we have and for as large and complex of an audience as required. I see a new dawn of digital transformation emerging; one that will ensure we are prepared to communicate effectively, confidently, and instantaneously whenever and wherever needed.

Rick Hanson, Chief Revenue Officer, Brightcove