The recent fire in a telephone exchange in Parklea west of Sydney's CBD has had a severe impact on the viability to business in the effected area and may even cause some to close their doors permanently.
With all services types effected, telephony, internet, mobile and data services. The outage crippled parts of Norwest Business Park. This Business Park is one of the largest Commercial Business Parks in Australia and when writing this post, it will be a week since the fire and some businesses are still without services.
In today's competitive global market all businesses are totally dependant on technology and the technology providers that include carriers and content providers delivering a service that allows their clients to present a 24 x 7 "open for business" product. This weeks disaster will be an "extinction event" for some, and it is totally out of their control.
For those businesses who have their data systems on premises their local employees can still work, but no email, internet or telephony and the remote branches or mobile workers will have no access.
For those who have their systems hosted in the cloud their local staff can work from home and the remote branches and mobile workers still work as normal.
If the business is using unified or hosted voice then this also is accessible with calls able to be redirected to other branches or mobile worker agents working from home.
So, for those businesses who have embraced shifting their business into the cloud and giving their staff the flexibility to be mobile (work from anywhere), this event has not disadvantaged their clients or business.
If you are reading this and are not effected by this outage, but have not moved to a cloud solution or service, either hybrid or totally, rethink your strategy.
Of course this is no silver bullet in protecting your business as there are a number of other factors you need to consider when doing an operational continuity strategy.
- Is the Hosting Centre Geo-redundant.
- Are the Carrier exchanges Geo-redundant (remember all carriers do not operate meshed environments for their network products, their networks are centralised in a single switched MPLS network. Whilst they can lose aspects of their network and have redundancy, if they lose the core or the cable between you and the carrier exchange is cut, well you know what happens) "Ask Questions" Is your provider a tier 1 provider if not, what tier? you do the research.
- Does the provider do hosted voice or can I use my on-premise unified solution as a hybrid enterprise SIP solution.
So, to put your business in a position to survive a catastrophic event like this you need to consider and act to allow your business to operate from anywhere, this means calls easily being diverted and staff being able to access your business systems from anywhere.
As mentioned, this is single factor in protecting your Business there are also Cyber and onsite and offsite backups factors to name a few - but that is another post..
Jeff Whitton - CEO - KNet.