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Press Release -- September 17th, 2014
Source: Verizon

10 Business Continuity Tips for Companies and Government Agencies

National Preparedness Month serves as a reminder to review, test and update emergency plans

by Kevin W. Irland

Chief information officers and business continuity specialists know that business-impacting events can occur at any time and take many forms, whether it be Mother Nature or man-made events.

September marks National Preparedness Month and serves as a timely reminder that plans should be regularly reviewed, tested and updated to help maintain the continuity of business operations and delivery of government services.

The following list of 10 recommendations and best practices from Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ business continuity experts can help businesses and government agencies effectively prepare for and respond to events that might impact normal operations.

  • Plan in advance. Developing a plan in the midst of a crisis is a recipe for disaster. Anticipate the unexpected and have a well-documented, comprehensive plan to address both disaster recovery and continuity of essential business operations.
  • Assess your risk. Organizations should assess business models and networks to identify risks, as well as operational and financial exposures. Base decisions on the principles of risk management and identify critical business functions and processes in order to deploy assets to help maintain seamless operations.
  • Create a strong partner ecosystem. Select business partners with resources that can be readily available for rapid deployment to assist in recovery and continuity efforts.
  • Protect critical networks, systems and applications. Inventory critical equipment and applications, and assess vulnerabilities. Determine the best location for these services to help reduce catastrophic disruptions and provide rapid recovery response time.
  • Engineer flexible and resilient networks. Deploy networks that meet bandwidth requirements and help maintain continuous operations while delivering a return on investment.
  • Use cloud- and network-based services for redundancy. A combination of diverse network routing and the ability to duplicate mission-critical applications is essential to communications and the continuity of critical business operations. Cloud- and network-based services enable access to important information, the rapid restoration of service and the ability to quickly switch services to alternative sites.
  • Develop telecommuting programs. Applications such as remote access and conferencing help improve recovery time and maintain employees’ connectedness and productivity in extreme circumstances.
  • Train and educate your employees. An organization is only as good as its people. Design an effective distributed-work business model, and ensure employees have the training and tools to do their jobs — in the office, on the road or at home. Perform skills-set assessments to understand staffing requirements necessary to support continuous operations.
  • Utilize social media. Social media outlets play an important role in keeping stakeholders, including customers and employees, connected and informed during an emergency, especially when traditional methods of communications may be unavailable.
  • Review, test and refresh — continually. Once a plan has been developed, it must be reviewed, tested and refreshed. A business continuity plan is a living document and a critical business asset. Plans should be routinely updated and tested throughout the year.

Please see related news release on how Verizon plans, prepares and trains its employees to help restore network facilities or help communities with communications needs during the critical hours after a catastrophic event.

Verizon offers a comprehensive portfolio of professional consulting services that can be leveraged by businesses and governments to create enterprise-wide business-continuity programs. The company also offers a fully managed Virtualized Disaster Recovery service that enables customers to replicate operating systems, applications and data into a secure cloud-computing environment within a Verizon-owned and operated data center.

The National Preparedness Community, a website sponsored by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, offers a wide range of resources and information for individuals, businesses and other organizations.

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