Disaster & Contingency Planning for Businesses
In addition to all of the spares and backups, Extend maintains a “spare” operations centre (pictured above). That’s right, an extra one.
Extend Communications Inc. operates a 24/7 contact centre, and as such employs staff in the building and on-call, to respond to any emergency situation immediately. In addition, 24/7 support and maintenance contracts are in force with all major suppliers of both software and hardware. Give us a disaster recovery scenario, and we’ll tell you how we can handle it. We have backup generators for the backup generator, back-up air conditioners for the server room, and more as part of our business contingency planning. Read some examples below.
Extend has purchased and maintains spare parts and boards for all system components which are critical to ongoing operations. System disk drives are redundant, and also hot-swappable with on-site spares. A company employed technician is on call 24/7. Furthermore, all data is backed up daily, and in some cases multiple times per day. Backups are facilitated with alternate system disk drives and tapes, with a rotation of tapes stored off-site.
In addition to all of the spares and backups, Extend maintains a “spare” operations centre as part of our contingency planning. That’s right, an extra one. Empty desks, idle phone circuits, ACD switch, workstations, servers, it’s all there. When we built our beautiful new site, we decided to hang on to the old one. It might be a little excessive, and call us paranoid, but whatever unfortunate circumstances might come our way, we’re prepared for.
Many of our clients, who are involved in emergency measures themselves, could simply not operate without our services. At Extend, we take that very seriously.
Extend subscribes to multiple T1 circuits and internet connections to minimize client impact should one of these circuits go down due to circumstances beyond Extend’s control. To further reduce this type of exposure, various connections are contracted from different providers including Bell Canada, Allstream & Rogers.
All systems operate on UPS (uninterruptible power supplies), with extended battery capacity. In the event of a long-term power outage, a natural gas generator automatically kicks in, and can provide power indefinitely. The generator operates on a weekly auto-test schedule, and once monthly the main power is disconnected to the system to facilitate an extended test under full load. In the unlikely event of a problem with both the hydro and the natural gas generator, a portable gasoline generator is also on-hand. Extend was one of a handful of call centres to experience ZERO downtime during the August 2003 blackout of Ontario and the entire Northeastern US.
Extend’s new state-of-the-art call handling platform supports remote agents with full functionality. In the event of a mandatory evacuation at our primary site, our complement of remote (home-based) staff will continue to handle calls as usual. In addition, our backup location is configured for up to 20 staff to handle calls during the crisis. All call routing and transfers are automatic, dynamic, and totally transparent to callers.
Our remote staff are key to our pandemic planning. They are individual staff members, going about their usual call handling without any physical interaction with the workplace. In addition to our full-time remote staff, all supervisors are able to work remotely.