In today’s business, social, and political climates, unexpected events are the norm. Private and public sector organizations alike must be prepared to maintain business as usual regardless of what comes their way—be it a natural-, human-, or technology-related hazard. A video collaboration solution can be the linchpin in your business continuity plan that keeps communications operating seamlessly and reduces your time to recover the rest of the business.

Business continuity is not to be confused with disaster recovery. Disaster recovery implies that an event has disrupted business operations and that recovery measures are required to get going again. Business continuity, on the other hand, ensures that business continues despite an event. A business continuity plan must cover all of your business-critical systems and functions, but underlying all of them is your line of communications.

“When a disruptive event happens the most crucial factor is having working communication lines. None of your other plans can be executed without someone providing clear direction. An effective suite of communication and collaboration tools will enable employees to defy distance and disregard the limitations of geography. They may need access to specialist resources or system experts who are located in different regions, or maybe have to have a flexible workforce due to seasonality requirements or market drivers. All of these needs come back to needing simple and effective communications in a challenging situation that maximize the knowledge base in an organization,” writes Nick Hawkins for Polycom.

A video collaboration solution can help ensure business continuity through a variety of events. For example, if a natural disaster results in an unforeseen office closure or prohibits people from driving to and from the office, they can continue working as they normally would from the safety of their home. Employees can continue to meet colleagues and managers face-to-face via video. This can be particularly beneficial for those who are accustomed to working in the same location. Being able to converse and collaborate via video is the next best thing. A solution that is intuitive and accessible from any mobile device helps employees quickly adjust to their new work environment while keeping projects advancing.

Video can also help maintain continuity when business is disrupted on a global level. Flights can be cancelled or travel can become restrictive due to, for example, an epidemic or political issues. Something as seemingly benign as a ban on bringing a laptop on a plane may make your employees think twice about traveling to a business meeting. Instead of foregoing important conversation or deteriorating a sensitive or complex discussion by attempting to hold it over audio only, your executives and sales people can simply hold their meetings via video. Not only do they still benefit from a face-to-face meeting, but you prevent the hassle and costs associated with travel.

Video can also help assuage any fears or concerns that employees have related to unforeseen events, such as a natural disaster or terror attack. The ability to see each other face-to-face allows them to engage on a more personal level and talk about how they are coping with the aftermath, both in terms of their work and family life. Work can become a refuge for employees, even if they’re working from home.

Similarly, video can facilitate external communications following an event. “External emergency communications that should fit into your business continuity plan include notifying family members of an injury or death, discussing the disaster with the media, and providing status information to key clients and stakeholders,” writes Paul Kirvan for TechTarget.

These difficult communications can be easier for everybody by video. As we’ve reported previously, “Video communication delivers a form of sensory input that can play to an executive’s advantage. By allowing key stakeholders to observe a CEO’s body language and facial expressions, companies provide additional data by which stakeholders can react–if only on a subconscious level.”

Finally, video can play a key role in smoothly and efficiently executing a disaster recovery plan. Senior management and IT must work closely following an event to get systems and business processes up and running. At the same time, everyone is under tremendous stress and they want to see that their own families are safe. Meeting over video enables stakeholders to have more productive meetings regardless of everyone’s location. They can even share content and communicate clearer, thereby speeding recovery.

Nobody likes to think about the worst-case scenario, but it is that very thinking that helps prevent one. Using a video collaboration solution as part of your business continuity plan can help you maintain critical business operations regardless of what comes your way. What’s more, it’s a tool that people can use as part of their everyday workflow, making it a no-brainer when disaster strikes.