2017 is off to a very frosty start. A state of emergency was declared in Georgia yesterday evening, with as much as 4 inches of snow expected in the Metro Atlanta area. There are serious concerns that fluctuations in the freezing temperatures will create ice hazards over the next few days, and when combined with the snowfall will leave roads completely impassable. Residents are being urged to stay indoors and off of the roads for the duration.
This wintery disruption also has the potential to create serious problems for your business. When nasty weather strikes, there is always a possibility of physical damage to your office space caused by icy conditions and below freezing temperatures. But even if your workspace remains intact, service outages can damage hardware, or leave your team without access to the resources they rely on to complete tasks and look after your customers.
Perhaps the biggest concern in this particular scenario, however, is this simple fact that it’s extremely unlikely that you or your staff would be able to make it to the office at all, even if you were inclined to make the trip. As appealing as the thought of a snow day might have been when it meant staying home from school, it’s a lot less exciting now. You still have work to get done, and customers who are counting on your services. Closing up shop for a day or more while the city digs itself out isn’t just inconvenient – it can be costly.
Which is why planning ahead is so important. But Business Continuity planning can only take you so far when it doesn’t allow for your team to function outside of your office. Virtualization services that let your employees access necessary files and applications remotely and securely make it possible to turn your home office, living room sofa, or dining room table into a temporary workspace when leaving the house just isn’t an option. Hosting your IT systems virtually through an offsite location not only gives you added freedom and flexibility during the work day, but allows you to have a work day when outside forces have other ideas.
But that only solves half of your problem. You need a communication tool at your disposal that provides the same access and flexibility as your virtualized environment. A business phone system that follows you wherever you will keep you connected to your fellow stranded team members, your customers, and your business associates. A solution like Unified Communications from Allworx will allow you to carry your entire office around in your pocket essentially.
Most disaster scenarios are unexpected, and leave little time to prepare. That’s why having a rock solid Business Continuity plan in place is so important. But when it comes to inclement weather, even a few hours warning can make a big difference. It gives you the opportunity to power down nonessential hardware, check that data backups have been completed, move electronics up out of potential flood damage range, and ensure that surge protectors and backup power are in place where needed.