About 25 years ago, I was doing some disaster recovery planning for a large insurance company. We did the study to see what computer applications were critical to their operation. We were amazed that e-mail was high on the list of critical applications. I had never seen that before.
You’d think that e-mail would always be one of the most critical applications today. However, I still run into the occasional senior executive who doesn’t believe how critical e-mail is to the organization! (Editor’s Hint: don’t buy stock in this company.)
In a serious interruption to your business, one of the most important activities for you to continue is communication – with your staff, with your customers, with your suppliers, with your regulators, with your board. Lots of stakeholders in your business, no matter it’s size. They all want to know what’s going on and how you are doing with your BIG problem.
So having e-mail service, including past e-mails, contacts, calendars, is critically important to survival for your business. Within hours of the start of the interruption, even minutes, you should be able to work e-mail effectively.
Lucky for you, since that study I did 25 years ago, services have developed and evolved for you to do just that – continue your e-mail quickly and easily. I’m not going to tell you which services to use because there are a lot of them. Just google “e-mail continuity” to see what I mean. But there are a couple of key features you will need:
- Ability to sign on to the Internet based e-mail continuity service with your own user ID and password
- Immediate availability of your own e-mail inbox and folder contents, calendar and contacts
- Really easy implementation. Please don’t undervalue this feature. The e-mail continuity service will have to make instant copies of any e-mail activities you and your colleagues do on a regular basis before the interruption, so that nothing is lost.
Finally, you should consider a few issues as you figure out how to protect and continue your e-mail:
- Where will your e-mail, calendar and contact data be stored? You (or your regulator if you are a regulated business) might not be comfortable to have it stored in another country. You might be unhappy to have it stored too close to your business either. It might be affected by the same interruption.
- Can anyone else see your e-mail data? Remember this is the lifeblood of your company. It is confidential and valuable data. The e-mail data should have at least the same level of security that you have given it in your own e-mail server.
- How much extra workload will the preferred e-mail continuity service pile onto your e-mail server and network? Every time you send or receive an e-mail, it is copied by the e-mail continuity service onto their own servers. That means extra work for your own servers and communications lines. How much extra?
So have at it. Go and find the service that works for you. Imagine how valuable it will be to you to do your e-mail at home even after Godzilla has stepped on your building.