Business continuity planning emerged from disaster recovery planning in the early 1970s. Financial organisations, such as banks and insurance companies began the trend by ensuring they had data backed up at protected sites. Recovery efforts were almost always triggered by a fire, flood, storm or other physical devastation.
Today, we are in a whole new world of business continuity. Technological developments such as the cloud and IP telephony have made executing plans easier, but other factors including a disparate work force, security threats and multiple suppliers have simultaneously made them more complicated. And it is no longer just a physical devastation that triggers business continuity measures, but rather pandemics, network outages and cyber threats.
There are many different templates you could use to create an effective business continuity plan, outlining what needs to be done to ensure each aspect of business operations continue to run despite an interruption. They can be incredibly complicated and often never looked at when an actual disaster strikes.
Here we look at one aspect of business continuity that can be implemented immediately and effectively without having to reference a detailed plan: the phone system. An IT Director or Office Manager who knows off the top of their head what to do when no one is able to get into the office or when there is a city-wide internet outage will save their business money and time.
For businesses with a cloud telephony system (also known as VoIP or IP) such as that provided by VTSL, you most likely have the following tool-kit at your disposal. You can use this as a to-do list.
Business Continuity – Telephony Checklist
Switch your Auto Attendant message to the emergency version
If you use auto-attendants, you may want to consider having a pre-recorded emergency Auto Attendant message in place, ready to switch to.
Utilising the VTSL portal, an Auto Attendant can be easily applied to any of your direct lines, ensuring all calls are covered. An emergency Auto Attendant will help keep customers informed of the situation as well as provide them with options they can select to speak to someone.
You can record the message callers will hear well in advance and can select where you want the callers to be sent dependant on their selection. This could be to a voicemail, diverted to a mobile or another user off site.
Instructions: Auto Attendant Quick Reference GuideActivate Mobile Twinning and Group Twinning
Mobile twinning is the ability to use your mobile device as a ‘twin’ of your office desktop phone. When your office phone rings your mobile does too.
Twinning can also be set up as part of a group meaning multiple users can receive the inbound calls at the same time.
Like Auto Attendants, twinning can be managed in the VTSL portal.
Soft Client / Softphone
VTSL’s soft client is a remote working solution that supports both flexible working and business continuity. Using an application downloaded to a mobile, tablet or laptop, VTSL’s soft client application allows users to make, receive and manage work calls on their personal devices – using their work number.
It enables users to transfer calls to colleagues, or conference colleagues in. It also means that users can keep their personal mobile number private when making work calls and that work calls won’t be charged against their own mobile minutes.
Instructions: VTSL Soft Client Quick Reference Guide
Diverts, also known as call forwarding or call routing, are an incredibly quick way to alter where calls go in the event no one can answer a particular number. Remember to turn off / change your personal voicemail if diverting a main number to a mobile.
Instructions: In the VTSL Portal, go to Call Routing. Click on the number you would like to divert. Then click on the dots under settings, and select Diverts.Voicemail
Similar to having an emergency Auto-Attendant ready to go in the event of an business continuity issue, having an emergency voicemail box and pre-recorded message is a great way to keep callers informed, and keep track messages coming in during the event. Voicemail can be set up either for an individual user or multiple with group voicemail.
With climate change advancing, pandemics only more likely, and networks only becoming more interconnected, it is safe to say that the need for quick and effective business continuity measures will only become increasingly necessary. If you use VTSL for telephony, and would like a tutorial on any of the measures listed in this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you would like more information on VTSL’s cloud telephony services, please contact the team at email@example.com.
VTSL is a leading hosted communications technology company, providing organisations across the UK and Ireland with the solutions they need to work smarter. From integrated telephony-CRM systems, to video conferencing, to fibre connectivity and work-from-home solutions, VTSL is committed to helping companies use technology to get ahead. Find out more about VTSL's award-winning cloud business telephony system, network solutions and software integrations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or giving us a call.