In case of emergency

Several months ago, a new product was introduced to the market: the SpareOne phone, a simple cell phone powered by a single AA battery. Why such a “primitive” device, when we are surrounded by smartphones and tablets? In case of a power outage or a lost/destroyed phone, you still have a cell phone to make and receive calls. It’s like your old wind-up weather radio!

Working in IT in 2012, it’s hard to imagine using such an unsophisticated mobile device, when even the most basic “dumbphones” have text, e-mail, and Internet access. But in cases of emergency, I cannot afford to go more than a few hours without access to a phone; having a backup makes perfect sense. If I lose power for a week – like in this summer’s derecho – or if my phone is lost while on vacation, I can remain connected and continue to work and communicate in some capacity.

Just like individuals, organizations have certain devices and capabilities they rely on 24/7. Any organization’s operations plan should include an assessment of what’s known as your “uptime requirements.” With my family and work responsibilities, my phone’s “uptime requirement” can be measured in hours! Having a simple backup phone is just good judgement, and fulfills my basic requirements.

What parts of your organization’s infrastructure have redundancies and backup plans in place? How long can you go without phone service? E-mail? AMS or website? How would your organization operate “in case of emergency”?