How To Help Customers Plan for Disaster

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Small and midsize businesses are often too busy or too preoccupied to plan for disaster. In the hectic activity of daily business life, something always seems to have a more immediate need. Intel's Townsend blogs on the need for solution providers to show clients why disaster recovery planning should be at the top of their customers' "to-do" lists, and how it can be done in a cost-effective and simple manner.— Jennifer Bosavage, editor

Two years ago, a winterstorm, colloquially known as “Snowmaggedon,” hit the nation. States on the East Coast received between 20 to 40 inches of snow, followed by another snowstorm which brought another 10 to 20 inches. The storm brought air transportation and Interstate highways to a halt. Needless to say, some small and large businesses were left at a standstill due to the halt in transportation. IT channel partners and managed service providers (MSPs) can help their small business customers prepare for all sorts of treacherous weather, not only that of the winter months.

With low-cost, highly capable disaster recovery solutions, IT and MSPs can ensure their small business customers can continue running their businesses to maintain uptime.

Tools To Maintain Uptime During a Disaster
IT and MSPs should enable employees to telecommute if a disaster like flooding or snowstorms make it impossible to access the office. During regional disasters, employees stranded by travel restrictions have been able to work from any location.

Likely, the most important tool to provide employees is the mobile business PC. In fact, Intel IT estimates that 7,500 of Intel’s 80,000 employees have experienced disruptive events in which their mobile business PCs played an essential role in enabling them to continue working productively. From large-scale natural disasters to smaller disruptions such as illness, employees can use the mobile business PC to stay productive. That means individuals and organizations can continue being productive and respond to crisis without significant disruption to the business. Even individuals that undergo brief or unexpected power outages can continue working unaffected, using battery power. Business PCs with remote management capabilities also enable faster and more consistent backups—ensuring that the disaster recovery processes can go smoothly and without surprises.

Other helpful tools include unified messaging. Employees can then use their PCs for all messaging, including voicemail. An employee can then easily access their messages right from his or her email inbox from work, home, or while on the road. Second, many business PCs come equipped with a video camera for videoconferencing, allowing employees to attend meetings remotely using VoIP. Finally, an enterprise portal allows employees to access enterprise applications and the intranet wherever employees have network access.

During a Disaster
In the middle of a business disaster, access and speed are everything. Should a disaster occur, employees now have the tools to continue working unaffected with no downtime. Additionally, IT and MSPs should make sure they are equipped with better disaster recovery tools to ensure a smooth disaster recovery process. Using remote management capabilities, IT can restore PCs that are turned off remotely to restore data and applications quickly.

Small disasters may also occur. For example, although the loss of one laptop may seem like a small event, the impact of the loss of sensitive data on one PC can cripple a business. New built-in technology can detect when a laptop is lost or stolen, and secure sensitive data before it gets into the wrong hands. Authorized personnel can also locate a lost laptop with a locator beacon feature that supports GPS technology. Once recovered, the laptop can be reactivated to full functionality.

Whether it’s a severe storm, a natural disaster, or the loss of access to facilities due to fire or flooding, a business can continue to serve their customers with the right tools. IT partners or MSPs should provide these tools that are low-cost, highly capable disaster recovery solutions for their small business customers.

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