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Counting on the Cloud During an Emergency (Part 1)

Hurricane SandyNo one knows exactly when disaster will strike but it's possible to be prepared. People in the San Francisco Bay Area keep extra bottles of water in case of an earthquake. Mid-West residents have first aid kits and battery operated radios at the ready in case of a tornado. Folks living in the Southern and Eastern United States have emergency kits and shutters to board up windows during hurricane season.

But what about a contact center? Can you prepare in advance for a crisis? Yes, however this means more than extra water, blankets and a first aid kit. It involves keeping the lights on and the phones ringing, particularly when you are a government contact center tasked with providing essential information to residents in the midst of an emergency.

For example, New Jersey 2-1-1 connects residents to community resources and emergency information. During Super Storm Sandy, it was critical they keep the phone lines running as residents were calling looking for help and information. Keeping operations going in the midst of a hurricane is a challenge, but with cloud-based technology they were able to respond to the surge of incoming calls.

Creating a flexible and reliable contact center using cloud software ensures those in need get answers as quickly as possible from the most knowledgeable agents available. Tapping into the cloud in lieu of building a center using on-premise software helps to achieve a high level of availability and scalability during emergencies.

With thousands of large enterprises, financial institutions and government agencies placing their trust in cloud solutions to run operations, providers are committed to avoiding unplanned disruptions. Their cloud platforms are architected for a high degree of fault tolerance, leveraging redundant phone carriers, Internet connections, hardware components and software servers. They are built to support multiple accounts optimized for high-volume telephony and resilience in hardware and software.

For centers seeking the highest degree of architecture redundancy, cloud providers also offer an option for geographic redundancy that will automatically back up the system and provide failover services within minutes of a disruption. This is especially important if one geographic location is particularly devastated.

Part two will discuss the scalability, flexibility and cost- effectiveness of the cloud and how this make for an essential contact center solution during emergencies.

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