When your organization is experiencing downtime during a disaster or business continuity situation, there is no more critical time to have fast access to your Support Desk. But when your support team is in the same geographical area as your business, they are likely experiencing the same disaster and issues you are.
To mitigate the chance of being unable to get support for your business during a disaster you should consider engaging with a second IT company outside your geographical area or using a company based outside your geographical area that is still able to provide remote support and on-site support to your business.
Getting started we published an Infographic Overview of the five components of business continuity success which we will cover in this blog series:
- Intro: Business Continuity Infographic
- Part 1: Cloud Backup
- Part 2: Cloud Servers
- Part 3: Remote Access
- Part 4: Bring Your Own Device
- Part 5: Support Desk
The Business Continuity solution in its simplest form is to backup your data to the cloud where it can be restored to a warm data center at any time. The warm data center will have a remote access solution in place that allows your dispersed employees to connect to your servers and work from anywhere using their personal and company devices. Finally, your business needs uninterrupted access to your IT Support Desk in this time of need.
The fifth and final article in this series discusses Remote Support Desk.
Everyday IT Support
IT companies are changing. Back in the day, an IT company had to live in your neighborhood to deliver your company with fast computer technical support. And of course, they had to be able to put boots in your building to fix problems.
This is no longer the case with the more cutting edge IT providers. IT providers today should be able to not only monitor your computers but also provide remote technical support. LIVE remote technical support with a 24/7 remote support desk team whose entire job is to monitor your environment for issues then either proactively resolve them or work directly with your staff to solve your issue before they start to drag your payroll and service ability.
A company that cannot offer a sufficiently staffed live remote support desk is going to be in a bind during a disaster because they surely won't be able to remotely take care of a large group of customers from outside a disaster impacted area.
What to Look for in a Business Continuity Support Desk
When evaluating IT companies to provide your support desk, the criteria you use to determine if they are good for everyday support should also apply to those you would consider using for business continuity.
Is your remote support desk team geometrically dispersed?
If your technology company shares your zip code, it is likely they will be struggling to execute their business continuity plan while also trying to service your company and all their other customers. With your business struggling to get back online following a disaster or evacuation, you want to make sure that your employees can get fast technical support to assist them with getting their tablets and laptops online and connected to your remote Business Continuity solution. This should be happening while your Business Continuity team is spinning up your servers and remote desktop environment (if it is not already hot and in production) so your employees can get back to business as soon as services are ready.
Some larger providers address the geography issue of their customers by having remote offices -- which is great. One thing to determine, though, is if those remote offices are staffed sufficiently to take over an influx of new users during a disaster. Many times the remote office is only able to stand on its own and only support its local customers.
Ideally you want to look for a blended company with local offices or regional workers to support you on-site locally and have a centralized support desk capable of supporting all customers across all supported locations.
How do you contact your remote support desk?
This question falls back to having a remote support desk that operates in the cloud -- just like you will. Your IT company needs to have cloud-based communications to ensure that it cannot only rely upon regional employees and offices but also not be susceptible to downtime in the event of a disaster at a specific location.
With your computer support using cloud communications, your employees will be able to contact your remote support desk using the exact same methods they do for day-to-day support.
What level of support can your remote support desk offer?
Computer support should be able to drink its own Kool-Aid.
While your company is expected to not only work but also resume normal business operations with your properly implemented Business Continuity Plan, your computer support should be able to do the same. Your IT support should not only be able to provide uninterrupted support during your disaster recovery but they should be mostly if not wholly unimpacted by the event.
Walk and chew gum at the same time. Your IT support must be able to bring your warm data center services back online and provide the same level of timely support your business receives during normal business operations.
Plan Well and You Won't Need Luck
Looking at the five components of a Business Continuity Plan separately, these pieces aren't specific to a disaster plan. All of these components can and likely should be implemented as a part of your everyday operations to provide the most stable and business-friendly IT environment possible. A fine-tuned and properly running server, remote access, and support environment help your employees work faster, generate more revenue, and increase customer satisfaction.
When you bring all the pieces of a Business Continuity Plan online as a part of your everyday operations, you get the economic advantage of using these elements to support revenue rather than just leaving them in the closet for a day we hope never comes.