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Hypothetical Use Case: The Disaster-Prepared Enterprise Vs. the Unprepared

As the Fourth of July Holiday flies by, it’s as good an indicator as any that we’ve entered the warm, summer months.

While the summer provides any number of amazing opportunities to spend time outside, hit the beach with family and friends, and grill – the hot, unpredictable weather has a downside as well.

That downside is how drastically and negatively extreme weather can impact not only our homes, but our businesses as well. The potential consequences of having your business hit by extreme weather without a business continuity plan in place can be extremely dire.


From network outages that cause delayed revenue cycles, to permanent losses of customer data that flatly put enterprises out of business – the consequences are as real and as grave as possible. In fact, 75% of businesses that experience a major loss of data fail within three years of the initial event. But even without a full loss of operational data, businesses in the US have lost $70 billion due to downtime alone, meaning that even smaller operational disruptions could be costly.

While the consequences are incredibly grave for organizations without a plan on the books, those with continuity plans that are thoughtfully-planned, tested, and backed up by off-site tech support – can effectively help mitigate these risks.

Below, we’ll take a look at one hypothetical event that affects two fictitious, separate businesses – one with a recovery plan in place, and one without, to see how they would fare.

The Event:

An intense thunderstorm – high winds, hail, rain, and flooding. Not quite a hurricane – rather, the type of storm that could occur in any part of the country. The kind of storm that causes extended, hours or days-long electrical power outages, floods the roads, and the type that can cause a business without a backup plan on the books to suffer some very serious operational issues.

Business A: Established Continuity Protocol

When the storm strikes, the management team at Business A is well-prepared and ready to act.

Business A works with a document outsourcer, such as Novitex, so their business-critical communications such as bills, statements, enrollments, EOBs, customer communications, promotions, and more – can still be produced.

Using Novitex’s own Business Continuity Services as an example, the service would look like this:

Managers at Business A would communicate to their Novitex Service Delivery Manager that their power is out – a quick phone call or a message from a smartphone will do. From there, the work we complete either on-site for this client, or at a near-site Document Solution Center, would be transferred to one of our two MegaCenters.

Novitex MegaCenter facilities were built with not only world-class multi-channel communication production capabilities in mind, but also with extensive disaster recovery capabilities. The MegaCenters, one located in Austin, TX and the other in Windsor, CT for ample geographic dispersion, and boast incredible business continuity capability. These facilities are completely power-independent and feature redundant-generator power – meaning electricity is continuous in their environment regardless of what happens with the larger electric grid. Other continuity features include 24/7/365 availability, and USPS MQC Certified Staff.

This would be all made possible because of the secure, cloud-based architecture we use to manage our services for clients. Because of this, business-specific data like lists of customer addresses or emails, customer account information, customer preference information and more that businesses use to manage their customer accounts – is not only available on their end, but at our MegaCenter as well. When instructed by Company A, our teams will be able to access that information at our MegaCenter facilities, and keep their mission-critical communications flowing as intended. This means that their customers receive updates as intended which keeps complaints down, and billing can continue, keeping their cash flow up.

There’s also a data storage advantage to this cloud-based approach. As mentioned, 75% of businesses that experience a major loss of data fail within three years of the initial event. But if your business-critical information is not only stored on-site on your premises, as well as securely in the cloud storage of a trusted business partner, the risk of that data being permanently lost is in large part mitigated.

To recap, by preemptively partnering with an outsourcer with business continuity capabilities, Company A effectively mitigated the effects their organization felt due to extreme weather – keeping communications flowing as necessary, and retaining crucial data.  

Business B: No Plan

For an enterprise experiencing an extended loss of power, flooded roads, and a complete inability to operate their business without a continuity plan preemptively in place – the consequences can be incredibly dire.

In this example situation, when managers at Business B realize they’re without power and experiencing flooding – they don’t have anyone to call. There is nowhere else to direct their communications, meaning all incoming and outgoing information for this enterprise grinds to a halt.

But realistically, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What enables Novitex to provide these business continuity services in the first place is our secure, cloud-based data storage that we offer to clients. In the case of Business B, where they may be solely storing business-critical data on customers, accounts, and other operating information on premises – that data not only cannot be leveraged to keep communications flowing – it may be lost forever.

Of course, power may return quickly, and flooding may not damage on-site servers. So, Business B may eventually be able to recover. But even if they avoid a total disaster, in a 2014 study, 78% of companies reported losing one or more mission-critical applications at some point—and 28% lost the use of a data center for more than a week. This kind of significant disruption has a trickle-down effect throughout an organization, slowing down productivity and damaging various aspects of the business. Sales are no longer converted, customer service suffers, and the impact of the crisis continues to grow.

Conclusion

What would happen to your business if you lost all your customer and account data? It’s a nightmarish situation for any business stakeholder to consider. Thankfully, it’s an addressable one, too. By taking a preemptive approach to disaster recovery and having a plan solidly in place ahead of an event that we all hope never occurs can give you both peace of mind, and perhaps, a way forward for your business in the event that the unthinkable occurs. 

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