When many businesses think about an emergency notification system (ENS), true safety emergencies come to mind: terrorist attacks, a shooter on campus, or devastating natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. All of these events absolutely necessitate an ENS, but thankfully, they are also relatively rare. As a result, especially if you’re in a location that isn’t particularly prone to weather events, you may wonder whether an emergency or mass notification system is really necessary for your organization.

Let’s talk about a different kind of emergency: IT downtime. Yes, I used the word “emergency”, because while lives aren’t (usually) at stake, IT outages can be devastating to your business. And unlike serious safety or weather situations, they’re unfortunately common.

Consider:

These unplanned business continuity events happen for a multitude of reasons, from technology to human error to mother nature. And you’re not safe from IT outages no matter where your business operates: 95% of businesses experience outages for reasons unrelated to natural disasters.

source: http://ctgusa.net/blog/disaster-recovery-infographic/

IT outages impact business continuity in a variety of different ways. Loss of productivity, however, is perhaps the most damaging. In fact, IT downtime reduces companies’ ability to generate income by more than 22% annually. When the systems and/or networks go down, work stops. Employees can’t access their data, but more importantly, they can’t communicate effectively with each other, their customers, or administration.

This is where emergency notification systems come in. You have disaster recovery systems in place to get your technology back up and running; you need systems to get your people back online, too.

An emergency notification system gives your organization the ability to communicate quickly and efficiently with your employees even when your usual channels, like email, are unavailable. It helps you get back to productivity faster by ensuring that all your employees can be contacted on each of their preferred channels or devices. During an IT outage, your emergency notification system enables you to:

  • Get all your technical resources on a conference bridge with a single click – even if your usual conferencing service is down.
  • Set up a hotline with the latest news on the situation and notify all employees when it’s been updated.
  • Reach predefined groups of people, like sales, IT, or HR, with notifications and instructions specific to their job roles.
  • Understand who’s up and running with two-way communication. You could sent a poll, for instance, asking employees if they have WiFi so you always know who is available.
  • Provide instructions for where to go and what to do in order to remain most productive during the outage, like the address of an alternate office space.

Information and communication technology downtime costs North American organizations $700 billion per year, largely through lost employee productivity. An emergency notification system puts that time and money back in your pocket when – not if – your regular systems go down.