Global enterprises are beset by continually escalating threats to business continuity, including everything from ransomware to natural disasters. On top of this, regulators are taking a hard look at business continuity plans, putting in place ever stricter rules and requirements that can carry hefty fines for non-compliance.
In any business continuity plan, it is critically important to have a well-formed approach to reestablishing communication and thereby maintain collaboration resilience in the event of a disruption. Employees need to be able to:
- maintain normal operations to the greatest extent possible,
- address stakeholders and partners that require special attention,
- and, above all else, satisfy the needs of customers.
However, the question remains: what is the best and necessary level of collaboration resilience for a given enterprise?
The Four F’s of Business Continuity Planning
Not all situations are identical, so flexibility is needed when crafting a communication strategy. Business continuity communication plans can include an array of elements that meet the unique needs of an organization, including:
- basic communication strategies,
- integration with critical workloads,
- and full system replication.
Newer technologies are distinguished by their flexibility and adaptability, making it feasible to implement a solution that’s tailored to a given enterprise.
At a minimum, internal email capabilities should be an enterprise’s first priority, and chat / direct message functionality shouldn’t be far behind. Depending on the business, the ability to connect with partners and / or customers may also be necessary, and video meeting capabilities may also be desirable. In any case, any collaboration resilience solution has to meet the bedrock communication requirements of the enterprise.
Features and Functions
With basic communication reestablished, the next level of functionality is to replicate a further set of features and functions. More data will be required as processes from centralized sources such as Active Directory are included as capabilities expand.
The next opportunity is to expand services to include more integration for mission-critical applications and workloads. These may be pre-loaded, and it is sometimes desirable to include some email and data content from the legacy system. Again, more data is required to drive this type of solution, but it can be limited to only capturing the minimum amount of data possible to manage cost and complexity.
As a final option, it is possible to deliver a solution that aims to provide full functionality for team members, partners, and customers as quickly as possible following an incident. Recent emails, worksheets, documents, and other data are replicated on a dynamic basis, guaranteeing that business returns to as close to normal in the shortest possible time.
Finding the Right Solution for Business Continuity Communication
Finding a solution that’s right for the specifics of a business includes several other factors as well. Specifically, it is important to make sure that key capabilities are covered as well:
- Quick deployment: In a crisis, seconds matter. To be effective, a solution must be nearly instantaneous.
- Always current: A “set it and forget it” system is a poor choice. A good system will be dynamic and reliably up-to-date with the required data.
- Simple and intuitive: A business continuity event is disruptive by definition, and the last thing that is needed is a collaboration resilience solution that is difficult for users to deploy, understand, and utilize.
- Regularly scheduled event testing (mock events): It is important to test the system regularly — not only to make sure that it works but to also learn from the experience and adapt and improve the system dynamically.
- Flexible delivery: Whether controlled by the enterprise or delivered as a managed service, it’s important to have flexibility in how the solution is delivered. In short, the solution has to work for the enterprise — not the other way around.
In this day and age, finding a capable and experienced partner to craft and deliver a collaboration resilience solution that meets your unique needs is a must. Maven Wave Partners, an Atos Company, has the necessary experience across a number of industries — including financial services and healthcare.
To learn more about how collaboration resilience can be developed for your enterprise, click here and download our latest white paper “Communication in a Crisis: A New Approach for Business Continuity”.
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