Monday, June 10, 2013

CenturyLink helps Illinois businesses prepare for Storm Season

The severe weather season is here, and CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) is encouraging Illinois businesses of all sizes to prepare by updating their business continuity and disaster recovery plans with resources that will help minimize and even eliminate risks.

Even minimal downtime during a storm can result in lost revenue and customers, which is why CenturyLink makes careful preparations to keep its network operating for business customers when severe weather impacts the area. A few extra resources from CenturyLink may help business customers weather a storm.  

CenturyLink Resources for Illinois Businesses

  • CenturyLink business customers with voice services can take advantage of Emergency Call Forwarding (ECF) for up to 90 days at no charge when CenturyLink determines that an area has been impacted by a natural disaster.  ECF helps businesses stay in contact with their customers by forwarding calls to an alternate local phone number, including local wireless numbers. Customers can call 1-800-786-6272 to request this service.
  • Moving critical business data from an office to the cloud is an easy way to protect a company’s information from damaging, severe weather. Businesses can find peace of mind by having their data and infrastructure located off-site and far away from the storm in a secure, reliable data center. For information on CenturyLink’s managed and cloud hosting services go to www.centurylink.com/small-business/products/hosting-services/.     
  • Business customers who rely on CenturyLink for voice, data hosting or managed services are encouraged to report service outages or request repairs resulting from storm damage by calling the company’s 24-hour repair center at 1-800-786-6272.  

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning Tips

CenturyLink consults with some of the world’s largest enterprises to establish comprehensive business continuity programs that help minimize or eliminate business disruptions. Here are tips for implementing an effective plan:    

  • A good plan should address four key elements: building(s), systems, equipment and personnel, plus contingencies for the loss of any or all of them.
  • Know your company’s critical functions, vendors and suppliers and what you would stand to lose if they were unavailable for a few hours, a day or weeks. Create continuity plans for those you cannot afford to be without.
  • Develop a communications plan so that employees can reach one another and learn where to go if a building is closed, etc. Use new forms of communication technology such as text messaging or social media to disseminate critical information if needed.
  • Consider cloud-based services or other technologies that provide cost-effective redundancies to help maintain business operations.
  • Test your business continuity plan at least annually and when staff changes occur. 

“Not being prepared is a big mistake,” said Michael D. Brill, CenturyLink’s vice president and general manager for Illinois.  “Businesses may put off disaster preparedness planning because it seems costly and daunting, but it is manageable with clear priorities, a well documented plan and a strong team. With severe weather on the way, there is no better time than now to do some planning.”

To help protect the communications services it provides to businesses, CenturyLink has developed an internal disaster preparedness plan that puts recovery practices in motion before a storm ever reaches Illinois.

“CenturyLink has a long history of ensuring the reliability and resiliency of our services under any circumstance,” said Brill. “We have plans in place to prepare for pending storms and for restoring services, should they be impacted, as quickly as possible after a weather-related event.”

For more information about CenturyLink services for businesses, go to www.centurylink.com/business.

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