You Can’t Get There from Here — Now What?

You Can’t Get There from Here — Now What?

As we head into the 2018 hurricane season, it’s time once again to evaluate your organization’s preparedness. Business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) planning involves more than just technology — your primary objectives are to ensure the safety of your people and your facilities. But if IT is critical to your day-to-day operations, you need to address data backup and the rapid recovery of applications and services. We offered some tips in last year’s post.

As you’re reviewing your business continuity plan, you should keep in mind that your staff may not be able to get to the office in a disaster. Officials typically discourage all non-emergency travel, and employees may not want to leave their families anyway. Allowing employees to work remotely can keep your business up and running, at least on a limited basis. Here are three things to consider.

Communications. Experts say that effective communication is the most critical aspect of BC and DR planning. Remote workers will need access to the company phone system and email, and ideally to any other collaboration tools you regularly use (instant messaging, conferencing, etc.). A unified communications (UC) platform can be accessed remotely using a client interface, and can be programmed to intelligently route calls to mobile phones. Presence capabilities show at a glance who is available and how they prefer to communicate.

Business Applications and Data. If you have applications and data in the cloud, your staff should be able to access those services with the proper credentials. But how do they access the systems in your onsite data center? That requires a virtual private network (VPN) — a secure connection that’s established using the Internet. Various encryption methods, such as IP-SEC and SSL, are used to protect data as it travels across the public network. Software on the user’s laptop or remote computer handles authentication and establishes the VPN connection.

Administrator Access. What happens if there’s a problem with a server or the network and no one can get there to fix it? Many administrative tools include remote access capabilities, but too few organizations take the time to ensure that they work properly. In addition, security systems are typically designed to prevent outside access to administrative privileges. System administrators should be assigned laptops with VPN software and any tools needed to remotely troubleshoot systems. Better yet, you can rely on Verteks for remote monitoring, management and troubleshooting.

You may already have some of these tools in place for mobile workers and employees who work from home on a regular basis. If that’s the case, you simply need to identify members of your staff who may need remote access in an emergency, and make sure they have everything they need. You’ll also want to develop written policies and procedures so everyone knows what to do, and regularly test remote access tools to ensure they’re working properly.

If you’re not sure where to begin, we invite you to give Verteks a call. Our team will conduct a thorough evaluation of your environment and help you implement a cost-efficient strategy that make your business more resilient.