Cloud telephony strengthens disaster recovery plans

Cloud-based UC systems can be critical in the event of a disaster.

The advantages of implementing a unified communications strategy into a company's business processes are well-documented. UC systems are cost-effective and offer a streamlined way to communicate with customers and partners with a range of applications, including via phone, unified messaging and Web conferencing. The value of the UC-as-a-Service market is expected to grow from $15.2 billion in 2015 to $24.88 billion in 2020, according to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets – that's an average increase of 10.5 percent every year.

However, there are other benefits of UC that aren't so obvious. Disaster recovery efforts, for example, are strengthened by utilizing a UC solution that works best for your company, according to TechTarget contributor Jessica Scarpati. For instance, when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, some companies' UC technologies were unusable because PBX systems didn't have any electricity running to them, despite the fact that companies could access their applications from offsite data centers. In this situation, a cloud-based telephony strategy would have been beneficial, because these kinds of systems are run through off-premises infrastructure instead of relying on a company's servers.

Cloud telephony can be an important tool for DR plans.Cloud telephony can be an important tool for DR plans.

The cloud factor
DR plans are an important part of any business. If an unfortunate event were to occur – such as a natural disaster or power outage – there needs to be a process in place for reinstating systems and gathering data that may have been lost, with the end goal of maintaining business continuity and getting back online in as short a time as possible. The advent and subsequent explosion of cloud computing is one thing that has impacted decision-making when it comes to dealing with disasters.

According to Network World, the cloud is causing businesses to rethink their DR strategies. By backing up data offsite in a cloud environment, businesses guarantee that recovery takes less time because they haven't lost any of their information. Even companies that already have sophisticated plans in place can benefit from investing in the cloud in terms of finances and control – and that investment can include UC systems.

"VoIP systems can become a crucial part of disaster recovery efforts."

Communication is key
When it comes to disaster recovery, cloud-based UC systems are important. A recent survey from Harvard Business Review Analytics found that collaboration ranks at the top of the list of cloud benefits for 72 percent of IT executives. Easy communication with customers and business partners is made possible through cloud telephony solutions. During an emergency situation, being able to quickly and effectively contact employees and clients is of the utmost importance.

Cloud telephony can also be important in the aftermath of a disaster like Hurricane Sandy. Because UC allows employees to work from home, this can be key to maintaining business continuity while the office is otherwise unreachable. TechTarget contributor Zeus Kerravala noted that it's important for businesses to make sure employees know how to utilize UC from their own homes in case of an emergency of this nature. In this way, a VoIP system can become a crucial part of disaster recovery efforts during and after unfortunate circumstances that may take a business offline.