After Hurricane Sandy hit the US east coast last October, blog sites were awash with business continuity plan reminders – lists of timely tips on how to deal with business disruptions from natural disasters.
These damaging natural events remind us of the importance of planning: if you don’t put the necessary time and effort into developing a real process, even smaller mishaps such as a power cut could leave the contact centre in the dark and in the lurch.
The lack of Disaster Recovery preparation was evident in the 2012 Acronis Global Disaster Recovery Index survey. In the survey, two thirds of businesses said their backup and disaster recovery operations would fail or that they would suffer substantial downtime in the wake of a serious incident.
When thinking about disaster recovery, don’t overcomplicate things and reinvent the wheel with expensive second sites: why not consider the cloud?
We spoke to Nathan Bell, Global Director, Product and Marketing for Telstra Global about the main reasons he recommends Cloud for organisations looking to implement a new Disaster Recovery solution.
Cloud is revolutionising the IT landscape. With Cloud you house your services, storage and networks with a service provider in the cloud and access it over the internet or secure network. This means you have a Live Cloud Disaster Recovery solution that can be activated in minutes – simply the time it takes your people to log on to the service from a remote or second location.
There are three key benefits Cloud brings to DR planning:
- Cloud has LIVE disaster recovery built-in.
Implementing a Cloud solution means that disaster recovery is inherently built in. All current data and live access to software, hardware and telecommunications can be activated in minutes and accessed by any computer or device with an internet connection. If your contact centre is inaccessible, your agents can simply log on from a remote or second location; or calls can be routed in minutes to a second regional or in country centre. The key benefit of a Live Cloud DR service is that it includes all your core data and functionality at no extra cost – because it is, your core system.
- Cloud delivers hot, hot, hot standby
There are three styles of disaster recovery strategy: cold, warm and hot standby. These relate to the length of time it takes and how much it costs to recover solutions and systems and get operations back up and running. Cold takes longer to recover, but is cheaper; hot is faster but costs more; warm is somewhere in-between. The majority of businesses would want the gold standard: hot standby – offering the fastest restore of data and applications, enabling continuous application availability within minutes of an interruption at the primary site. However many organisations would not be able to afford the traditionally hefty charges associated with this type of recovery.
Enter Cloud. With a Cloud DR model, you don’t pay extra for a separate DR system, and it’s extremely hot and ready whenever you need it. Due to users already being comfortable with the interface and tools it is increasingly only the physicals you need to be worried about which should be your priority anyway – people and place, can you get your staff to a different location that is easily accessible and fit for purpose.
- Save on resources
With the cloud, businesses gain access to a disaster recovery platform, without the need to build or dedicate staff to maintaining one. You don’t need large, capital intensive servers and storage systems – you simply leverage the latest resources and economies of scale of the cloud service provider. Redundancy is automatically built into the cloud and easily stored/replicated across multiple geographies without significant additional cost.
Running a contact centre often requires a crystal ball to predict the future: of course these are not easy to come by and hence we tend to scale for what we think we need versus what we are actually likely to use. With a cloud based contact centre you are able to manage your platform capacity on a just in time basis. Scaling up your number of seats / agents based on the needs of your business, in turn leads to greater variable cost and in doing so greater alignment to your businesses expansion or contraction.