Business continuity is on the minds of many company managers these days. Likely, this is for two reasons. One is the increasing trend toward doing business on a global stage—the need to serve customers in the same city and halfway across the world with the same level of responsiveness. Another is increased focus in the media on the type of events that can cause business disruptions, whether that be a man-made disaster caused by terrorism or a natural phenomenon like a flood or hurricane.

Developing holistic strategies that prepare organizations for any type of disruption is ultimately a positive move, but it can be challenging because so many stakeholders, systems and processes are involved.

“Business continuity is further up the corporate agenda than it has ever been and is no longer being viewed as a necessary burden but as an opportunity to increase productivity, retain customers, and gain revenue,” saidIDC analyst Martin Hingley in a recent report.

Luckily, the more advanced technology available to companies today, including VoIP- phone systems, can help change business continuity from being a burden to being an opportunity. VoIP phone systems have features built in that come in handy both for branch offices/remote workers and disaster preparedness.

The ability to forward extensions off-site, for example, can be part of a business continuity plan by ensuring that employees can receive calls even if they’re unable to go into the office.

During 2006, IDC conducted a survey about business continuity, storage and security issues and concluded that there are four main drivers for business continuity solutions: centralization, security, compliance and 24/7 system availability.

Of the organizations IDC surveyed, 100 percent said they expected an increase in spending on business continuity and storage solutions. Eighty percent said their IT budgets were slated to increase during 2007. More than 40 percent said that security was the top issue facing their organization.

With so much talk about disaster preparedness and recovery, and security threats, these results should not come as a surprise. VoIP phone systems are paving the way for a more secure, more accessible and more resilient corporate communications system. But companies are wise to move ahead cautiously and look for only the best technology solutions.