The key to having an effective business continuity (BC)/disaster recovery (DR) response in place is planning well before an emergency arises. The frustrating thing is that you never know what the emergency will be, so you have to do your best to cover a wide array of contingencies.
One tool that should be considered in the response plan is a unified communications and collaboration (UCC) platform. UCC and BC/DR are natural partners. UCC creates a level of interactivity and cooperation that is not possible using older tools.
However, companies must realize that a UCC platform can change the BC/DR structure. An expansive UCC platform will most likely use more public tools -- such as commercial IM networks, mobile networks, Gmail and other services – than a traditionally more closed corporate LAN-based approach to BC/DR. Indeed, CTOEdge Site Editor Mike Vizard points out that Twitter now has a role in UC; John Storts at IT Business Edge mentions Facebook as well. The decision for planners, therefore, is how to sensibly incorporate these applications and services into vital BC/DR platforms.
The other issue is that UCC puts a tremendous amount of eggs in one basket. One of the attractions of IP-based networks in general and UC in particular is that it centralizes a number of services on a single platform. In most cases, this is a good thing: It saves money, alleviates management complexity and otherwise streamlines operations.
Those advantages are built upon the idea of consolidation. The danger is pretty obvious: If all of the communications tools are running on one platform, a poorly designed system can lead to single points of failure.
Before embarking on a UCC BC/DR plan, make sure you have answers to the questions highlighted in this slideshow.
10 Mistakes Made by Too Many Disaster Recovery Teams
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Disaster Planning Grows to Include More Team Members
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Five Business Continuity Misconceptions that Could Be Disastrous
It's not all about floods and earthquakes, and you can never assume you are truly prepared.
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