Tim Meredith, Director of UC and Mobility at Daisy, discusses how virtual IT environments can help businesses deal with the threat of adverse weather conditions.
The recent cold chill has not only brought one of the mildest autumns on record to an abrupt end, but it has also signalled the start of what is anticipated to be one of the coldest winters in decades. Taking into account the floods that devastated the South West economy at the start of the year, extreme weather and erratic climate patterns are seemingly going to become more common.
Whilst personal safety is a number one concern, the arrival of severe weather can also affect a business in multiple ways.
Increased energy consumption
One key driver for businesses moving to the cloud is the prospect of reducing energy consumption and energy costs, simply done by removing individual power-hungry pieces of tin (PBX and UC appliances, IT-related servers, etc.) in basements and data centres.
Some businesses are even trying to reduce the amount of electrical equipment, such as desk phones and video conference controllers, in boardrooms and on employees’ desks. It is important that organisations devise a carbon footprint reduction strategy, not only to conform to future regulations, but also to reduce the cost of electricity supply to their offices during adverse weather.
Disruption to transport
Today, remote working is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s a necessity. New flexible working legislation and the availability of cost-effective technology has meant employers have no reason not to consider remote working policies, providing it doesn’t affect customer relationships. When adverse weather strikes, staff cannot be expected to risk their safety to get into the office, instead they should have the tools to work from home or another location.
Unfortunately, legacy ICT environments have traditionally required complicated and expensive workarounds to enable communication and collaboration, meaning staff have suffered when away from their normal desk.
However, adopting the de-facto standard of placing business ICT environments in a publically accessible, secure cloud environment, means all users will be treated equally. It doesn’t matter whether staff have managed to get to their normal desk or are working at home while watching their neighbours slip down their driveway – the cloud provides everyone with the necessary tools to undertake their normal responsibilities.
At the start of this year when severe flooding hit the UK, there seemed to be a new story emerging every day about a business being destroyed by water damage. Across the pond on the west coast of the United States, the region has emerged from one of its driest summers with homes and businesses being razed to the ground by forest fires. Whilst the UK today is a green and temperate zone for most of the year, it is not inconceivable that one day we too may have to deal with these same challenges.
When a business has to close its doors, even temporarily, new and existing customers immediately go to their favourite search engine and contact the competition. Business continuity plans therefore become essential to ensure trade isn’t lost.
The problem is that when businesses examine their phone bills, they often look for the numbers that cost them the most per minute. In a lot of cases, the most expensive call is not considered – the one you missed. Again, by removing the reliance on premise-based ICT systems and moving phone calls and messaging to the cloud, the reliance on bricks-and-mortar offices, or even fixed lines, to protect your customer communications diminishes.
Preparation is key
The key to building a robust business continuity plan is understanding what exactly your business needs. There is an array of technologies out there that facilitate remote working and effective communication, but not every one is suitable for your business. Talking to a reputable service provider that understands your needs will ensure you get the right support.
To find out more about our business continuity solutions or discuss your options, call 0808 163 9549 0333 209151