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The power’s out. Are your phones still on? (We’re talking to you, Seattle!)

There was a huge power outage in Seattle yesterday. According to KOMO News, 60% of the downtown area was out of power for an hour.

KOMO’s report quotes a woman who mentions being on the phone when suddenly it went dead. What a nightmare — think of all the revenue and business opportunities that were lost because of that outage!

(Needlessly lost, I might add. More on that below.)

The power is going out more and more often

Don’t think that outages are few and far between. Inside Energy published a report stating that power outages are on the rise in the US. Some highlights of that report include the fact that:

  • In the first six months of 2014, there were 130 reported grid outages—which puts that six month period as having more outages than all but four years since 2000.
  • Comparing 2000 to 2013, the monthly average grid outages increased six-fold, from 2.5 per month in 2000 to 14.5 per month in 2013
  • Since 2000, there have been 19 weather-related grid disruption events that affected more than one million customers: 8 were hurricanes and 3 were winter storms.

The government has its own outage reports that reinforce the point. The Energy Information Administration produces a list of outages that they consider to be “Major Disturbances and Unusual Occurrences.” Their report covers outages that have impacted the US during the first 3 months of 2016. From January to March of this year, there were 12 such major events. One in January lasted almost 45 hours and impacted 150,000 customers in North and South Carolina.

Would your business survive 45 hours with no power?

I think about that event in January: 150,000 customers with no power for almost 2 full days. Would your business survive that kind of outage?  If so, how much would it cost you? How would you make sure all of your customers, partners and suppliers knew what was happening? Local phone company switches might be impacted by the outage. And if you’re using an on-premises PBX system, that system will be down just like your lights, your printers, your wi-fi, your coffee machines.

The key to surviving a business disruption is keeping the lines of communication open with your customers, partners and suppliers. Even if you aren’t fully operational, you can at least let them know what’s going on and preserve those relationships.

It all comes down to proper business continuity planning. With a comprehensive business continuity strategy, you can better prepare your employees and protect your business when disruptions occur.

Learn more about business continuity planning

We recently published a report about business continuity planning and how important it is to shield your business from downtime events. We recommend moving your phone system to the cloud to help ensure that you’ll have a working communications system in the event of a disruption.

You can read our report, “Shield your phones from the Legion of Downtime“, to learn more about the types of disruptions that could harm your business and the steps you can take to build a business continuity plan. We’ve even developed a planning guide you can use to help get you started.

And if you want more information about how we build our cloud voice network to withstand major disruptions, check out this white paper:

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About Kirsten Barta

Kirsten Barta is Sr Marketing Communications Manager at Intermedia