How Mass Messaging Sustains Business Continuity During An IT Outage

IT outages are a fact of life and a persistent threat to every organization. They can be the result of massive network failures that compromise even Google and Amazon or issues specific to your IT infrastructure.

Even an outage of a few minutes can have significant impact on the bottom line and your reputation. The cost of downtime is immediate and tangible in terms of labor costs alone. If you have 1,000 employees earning an average of $30 per hour who are idled for a mere 15 minutes, you just spent $7,500 for a company-wide extended break. When IT outages drag on, costs pile up. The revenue stream can be disrupted, supply chain compromised, and company image damaged.

A Fast Response Begins With Effective IT Alerting

Fast, effective response to an IT outage is critical to sustaining business continuity and minimizing disruptions. That requires intelligent IT alerting that immediately puts the right technology personnel in place for an efficient response. You’ll also need to notify users and other impacted staff on what is happening, how the outage is being addressed, and when to expect resolution. Simply blasting a mass email to the organization and crossing your fingers won’t cut it.

Your organization probably already has response protocols in place as part of a business continuity plan. Your people need to know their roles and responsibilities before an outage occurs. The first step in any response should be to alert the appropriate people and put your plan in motion. If you can’t do that quickly and effectively, all your planning will be for naught.

The solution is an intelligent communication system, one that enables a major incident manager or IT service desk to engage the right IT staff, alert affected users, respond instantly, and minimize downtime. If you can preconfigure response groups and notify them when a specific type of incident takes place, your IT disaster recovery response can start with a keystroke or push of a button, not a series of phone calls, flurry of texts, or hastily scheduled meetings. Right off the bat you’ve saved time and are heading for a faster return to operations.

Auto-Escalation Saves Critical Time

When an outage impacts a limited number of people or a single business unit and doesn’t inflict company-wide heartburn, you’re probably looking at something the service desk or incident manager can handle without help – a "one-nerd incident," if you will. But if you’re manning the desk when a major outage strikes, you want a system in place that can support your response plan. Auto-escalation saves precious time if the first responder is unavailable or can’t resolve the outage without additional support. Instead of back and forth with the incident manager, the next resource in line is immediately notified.

With AlertFind, designated channels will get pinged until the message is acknowledged. You don’t have to worry whether an appropriate team member received a message. If an on-call resource doesn’t pick up, the incident alert automatically goes to the next team member. No time is wasted getting the issue to someone who can address it.

As the designated IT staff is notified, AlertFind also alerts impacted users. The list of affected users can include employees and contractors, as well as customers and suppliers – anyone who will feel the effects of the outage. Employees will have different concerns than someone in your supply chain, so each user group often requires its own unique type of alert. The AlertFind mass notification system supports pre-defined groups, putting the right information in the right hands, right away.

You’ll not only need to alert users when an outage occurs – you’ll also want to let them know as soon as it’s resolved, so they can resume normal operations as quickly as possible. If everyone is standing around drinking coffee half an hour later, unaware that the outage is over, you’re still wasting precious resources and losing money.

Text Messaging Capabilities Are Key To Disaster Recovery

Text messaging is the single most effective channel for alerting in urgent situations. Email is problematic in the best of times, and during IT disruptions, email systems may go down. People won’t necessarily be using their computers or sitting at their desks, either. But they will stay glued to their phones. It’s crucial to have a mass notification system with robust SMS support. Even better, the tool should allow multi-channel message delivery, so you can cover all the bases, including texts, email, push notifications in apps, and automated voice calls. As with the response effort, you want to notify only the right people in the right places. IT alerting with geo-fencing lets you target specific regions to communicate about localized events.

Mass Notifications Require Up-To-The-Minute Employee Data

To make all this happen smoothly, you should always have the most up-to-date employee contact information in your mass notification system database. As we noted above, not everyone will be at their desk throughout an outage, but you can be confident they’ll have mobile phones handy. If your mass notification system maintains up-to-date mobile contact information on every employee, both key response personnel and those impacted by the outage will be notified in timely fashion. On the other hand, if your contact information is outdated, communications efforts will be stymied. AlertFind’s unique SmartContact feature solves this problem by keeping your alert system contact list up to date automatically.

IT outages are inevitable, but with solid business continuity management and an intelligent IT alerting system, you can minimize their impact. To learn more about how AlertFind’s state-of-the-art mass notification system can keep your team connected during IT disaster recovery events, get a demo today.

You are well on your way toward protecting your staff and organization.

Take the next step toward protecting your organization by learning more about emergency notification systems and the vital role they play in your emergency preparedness plan.