Maintaining real-time operational business continuity (which infers instant or near-instant systems and operational fail-over) over disaster recovery (which infers a time lag in returning to full operations), is a complex and remarkably expensive proposition.
BAS has made substantial investments in its technical and physical infrastructures to assure its business continuity (“BC”) capabilities over disaster recovery capabilities. One important area of BAS’ BC design affects its call center operations.
For example, to assure uninterrupted call center operations, BAS maintains duplicate, online telephony equipment at two, geographically diverse data centers. Telephony is the equipment and technology associated with the electronic transmission of voice, fax and other communication devices over distances.
First, the basic redundancy structure is that all telephone lines feed into data centers rather than into BAS offices because such data centers are “hardened” facilities with many more structural and environmental protections and redundancies than any office building would have.
Second, BAS maintains redundant, duplicate telephony systems at both of its data centers that are connected through a private, secure fiber link (interfacility link).
Third, one half of BAS’ telephone lines feed into its CISCO VoIP telephone routing system and voicemail systems housed at its Southeastern, PA data center. The other half of BAS’ telephone lines feed into its CISCO VoIP telephone routing system and voicemail systems housed at its Northeastern, PA data center location.
As calls feed into the redundant CISCO call systems at both data centers, the CISCO equipment routes calls to BAS’ personnel utilizing voice IP technology. Therefore, calls into a data center are distributed out of that same data center.
Fourth, in the event that technical problems prevent the calls from being distributed out of the data center in which such calls arrived, the telephony equipment automatically and seamlessly moves those calls from the affected data center to BAS’ other data center utilizing the inter-facility link.
Fifth, another protection built into BAS’ telephony solution is within BAS’ Telco’s infrastructure. In the event that there is a switching station problem in Pennsylvania, BAS' redundancy design provides for calls to be diverted to a switching station in New York and then routed to the BAS data centers.
Finally, BAS maintains two, geographically diversified office hot sites (separate from its two office facilities) that are fully equipped office facilities sufficient to support BAS’ entire call center and account manager personnel. BAS has prepared these sites with duplicate phone systems, personal computers, and other equipment necessary for ongoing operations. One site is about 10 miles from BAS offices and one is about 50 miles from BAS offices. The hot site that is 10 miles away provides BAS with a convenient facility that would not impact BAS personnel's daily commute and work life quality. The facility that is 50 miles away is not so far away to be impractical for daily commutes, but is available if a wide area around BAS' offices were impacted by a disaster.
In summary, BAS is highly committed to its business continuity capabilities, in order to assure operational continuity with immediate or at least near-immediate uninterrupted operations.