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3 ways to build business continuity into your comms stack

Travis Hinton Travis Hinton
Travis Hinton

As many teams around the globe are responding to the rapid developments of COVID-19, there is a growing shift toward remote work to help mitigate the impacts of this pandemic.

Nobody truly knows the extent of the impact this will have on our teams, our communities, or our business initiatives. This leaves us to face the question: what can businesses do to prepare for the potential impacts and broadly assist in mitigation efforts?

How to create continuity in your business communications

Based on our own preparations as a company, as well as our observations about cloud communications from leading enterprises today, we’ve pulled together three ideas for building business continuity into your communications stack.

1. Build with redundancy & resiliency in mind

Redundancy and resiliency are important factors in any successful business continuity plan, and a crucial component of the long-term sustainability of any organization. With the unknown impacts of COVID-19, you may want to consider a few key tactics that Bandwidth uses as we operate to the ISO 22301:2019 Business Continuity standard:

  • Our network features multiple geographically redundant offices and data centers.
  • We conduct 24×7 network performance monitoring within our in-house Network Operations Center (NOC).
  • Our network and recovery plans are well-tested and certified by our annual ISO audits.
  • We have remote working capabilities for employees in all regions, strengthening our resiliency.
  • Our team works closely with its vendors to manage any potential impacts, and we can adjust rapidly should the need arise.
  • We have asked employees to limit all non-essential travel to reduce the impact of community spread.

All of these layers of redundancy are designed into our network and information security operating procedures to ensure critical business functions will continue to operate effectively, even when faced with unforeseen circumstances, like the potential business impacts of COVID-19.

Examine your own business continuity plans to assess your level of redundancy and resiliency. Are there ways you can implement additional redundancy measures? Are you connected to a service provider that will deliver redundancy directly into your stack through their services?

2. Prepare with cloud-based unified communications & collaboration tools

The recent spread of COVID-19 has companies of all types and sizes taking a fresh look at their communications toolkit to support an increase in remote work capabilities. Many large enterprises are already leveraging the power of popular UCaaS and cloud-based collaboration tools for their teams today. For those who have not yet migrated to the cloud, you’ve likely spun up a temporary solution to enable your teams to continue working, albeit remotely, during these times.

As you consider your options, several of the leading platforms have ramped up their trial capabilities and features. Google announced that it will begin rolling out free access to their advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing globally. Microsoft has arranged to offer a free six-month trial globally for a premium tier of Microsoft Teams. Cisco’s WebEx has communicated its support for customers during this outbreak. Many of these platforms already offer trials to allow CIO’s and IT decision-makers the opportunity to vet their organization’s needs up against what the platforms offer. What we’re seeing now as a direct response to the COVID-19 epidemic is an extension of additional features and functionality. This is helping to increase team productivity and collaboration globally amidst the increasing number of employees who are working from home.

While Bandwidth does not provide any out-of-the-box UCaaS or conferencing platforms, we do power all 12 of Gartner’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant leaders and many of the meeting solutions platform leaders today.

Perhaps you’ve made the temporary shift to the cloud, and you’re already thinking about what happens when this is all over?

Our experts wrote a guide with some important considerations for migrating on-premise telephony to the cloud. Download or share the guide for free online: The Most Helpful Telephony Migration Guide Out There

3. Make sure E911 location management is part of your plan

With all this discussion of moving from fixed, on-premise setups to robust cloud-based solutions, there’s one life-saving function that can unfortunately, but easily, get left out of the equation: accurate E911 location management for your remote employees. If you’ve enabled softphone applications for your teams, it is critical that you make sure your E911 solution can adapt to their changing location. 

To provide the E911 address information your employees would need in the midst of an emergency while working remotely, you need a powerful solution that adapts with your users dynamically. Bandwidth’s E911 Dynamic Location Routing leverages advanced, Next Generation 911 capabilities for real-time location information that is provided to public safety at the time of the 911 call. 

Even if you’re not yet using Bandwidth’s E911 solutions, there are some general best practices you can follow to stay compliant with E911 regulations and protect your users during the transition to remote working. We wrote a blog that asks Can 911 find your remote workers?

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While it’s still unclear what impact COVID-19 will have, these best practices are proven business processes that help ensure your team can communicate effectively no matter the situation. Our mission during this time is to help you, so that you can continue to help your customers. If you’d like to hear more about how our scalable and redundant solutions can help you during this evolving situation, let’s talk.

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