Make mobile a component of disaster recovery

A growing mobile workforce is changing the way businesses need to and can prepare for natural disasters. With employees capable of connecting to corporate networks from tablets and smartphones, organizations can do a better job communicating with workers in the wake of an event while also improving business continuity. For mobile to play a role in disaster recovery, however, businesses must develop plans for how data is stored and systems are accessed in anticipation of any challenges.


Companies are beginning to incorporate mobile into emergency plans so they can send out text, e-mail and voice blasts to workers in the wake of an event, Computerworld reported. Using these blasts, businesses can check in on workers who may have been harmed, communicate safety information and establish work processes for continuing business as usual.


Establishing guidelines for remote working


Once this communication has been made, executives can determine which employees can use their mobile devices to continue working remotely and implement guidelines to ensure this is done in a secure fashion, Michael Porier, a managing director at consulting firm Protiviti, told Computerworld. For instance, CIOs must decide whether to allow employees to store data on their devices or if work should be done over a virtual network. One way to smooth this decision and prepare for a disaster is by building mobile access into daily work processes, according to Ray Thomas, a senior associate at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.


“We’ve been building mobility into how people work on a day-to-day basis, and that same flexibility works to our advantage during a disaster,” he told Computerworld. “As long as there’s connectivity, our employees can continue to be productive.”


The essential consideration for guaranteeing mobile access is ensuring uptime for the servers that store data and run applications. Businesses should make sure their infrastructure design takes this type of redundancy into account, according to John Morency, research vice president at Gartner.


“[Enterprises] cannot depend on corporate headquarters or the data center always being available following a disruptive event,” he told CSO Online. “They have to ensure that critical plan content is always available [including to mobile users] regardless of what happened.”


To ensure their IT infrastructure is prepared to contact and power a mobile workforce following a disaster, executives may want to work with a managed services provider to outline a recovery plan. With tools such as unified communications and virtual storage making it easier to manage a remote workforce, organizations should be able to develop a disaster response that guarantees complete continuity.