Downtime is not an option.

Your contact centre can’t afford to be offline or unavailable.

That’s why it’s essential for contact centres to have effective disaster recovery plans, ensuring that any disruption is short-lived and that agents can operate without interruption.

According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is roughly £4500 per minute. The costs differ wildly by industry and the nature of the business, meaning that downtime can cost as little £100,000 per hour – or as much as £425,000 for a single hour lost.

And that’s just the immediate costs.

It’s harder to count the brand damage caused by an unreachable contact centre. Customers who need help may never call back; they’ll just move on to a brand they can reach.

Only 37% of organisations feel prepared to deal with disaster – Forrester: State of Disaster Recovery Preparedness (2017)

Disaster recovery is also mandated by GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation doesn’t just protect our personal data; it also includes a requirement for organisations to restore personal information efficiently in the event of a crisis – and to regularly test their disaster recovery systems and processes.

Article 32 of GDPR stipulates that organisations should have:

  • The ability to restore the availability and access to personal data in a timely manner in the event of a physical or technical incident
  • A process for regularly testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of technical and organisational measures for ensuring the security of the processing.

What does contact centre disaster look like?

In broad terms, disaster comes in two forms:

Natural disasters, such as extreme weather and earthquakes

Man-made disasters, such as software bugs, hacking, vandalism or terrorism.

Contact centres must be prepared to respond to both kinds of disaster.

What should your contact centre disaster recovery plan include?

Your contact centre disaster recovery plan will be unique to your organisation. The contents of your plan will vary according to:

Systems. What options do you have for working around broken systems? Do you have alternative systems or networks you can fall back on? Or are there options for recovering your systems if they fail?

Environment. How much of your IT is on-premise? If you are reliant on in-house solutions, then you will need to consider alternative power, connectivity, hardware and software solutions. What would you do if your server room was flooded or vandalised?

Business need. How long can you cope with unavailable systems? No business wants to think about being unavailable for any period of time, but you may have to balance the need for a prompt recovery with the costs associated with running parallel systems.

Resources. Who will be responsible for managing the recovery process? Make sure there is always provision for managing an IT disaster – even if key individuals are on holiday.

Control measures

Obviously, one of the best approaches for managing disasters is to prevent them from ever happening. The next best hope is to ensure that IT failures can be quickly resolved or worked around, preventing a problem from escalating into a crisis. This involves being able to quickly identify emerging issues so they can be tackled.

Control measures fall into three categories:

  1. Preventative measures
  2. Detective measures
  3. Corrective measures

Recovery point objective

Your recovery point objective is your goal for the amount of data you might lose in the event of a major failure.

Could your business cope with losing a day’s worth of data? If not, then daily backups will not suffice, and you may need to investigate parallel solutions or constant backups to a secondary site.

Recovery time objective

How long will it take your business to get back to normal operations in the event of a major incident?

Your recovery time objective is your goal for the time it will take to restore systems and data after a major failure. This should be a realistic goal based on your systems and your recovery plans.

Technologies and approaches

While larger companies may be able to afford to run a secondary data centre, with all their services and applications running in parallel, smaller companies need a more affordable approach to disaster recovery.

This might include:

  • An uninterruptible power supply can prevent downtime during brief interruptions to the power supply.
  • Cloud services. By relying on fewer on-premise solutions, organisations remove the risks from their own environment.
  • Do you have a secondary option for your internet access?

Is your contact centre prepared for disasters?

Want to know more about the steps you can take to safeguard your contact centre? Contact our friendly team to find out more.

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