Our Business Continuity plans have received lots of exercise this year – far more so than I ever imagined. So what can we learn from our experiences?
Firstly, people tend to think of Business Continuity as a fancy word for ‘backup’ – but we’ve not had to refer to our backup once this year.
I’m currently writing this blog whilst listening to the workmen outside my office window digging away at the pavement. The Electricity supply to our building failed on Friday, and the Electricity Board have been digging up the streets to get everything repaired.
It’s not a major disruption, but we kind of need electricity to operate our computers and telephones. Plus, having the lights on tends to help, as does the Door Entry system and the Lift (which makes it much easier for the deliveries). And, don’t get me started on the coffee machine…
But, I’m not aware that any of our clients noticed the impact that this inconvenient lack of electricity caused.
Likewise, when the Bomb Scare evacuated Camberley Town Centre in June, we were quick to implement our Business Continuity Plan again – this time, we also took advantage of some PR opportunity to ‘Tweet’ about what was happening, and get quoted on a few local news stations (including stories on the web like the one on Get Surrey… ).
I don’t like to tempt fate, but after the Snow at the beginning of the year, the traffic issues, the unexploded bomb, and the lack of electricity, I’m feeling like the time spent thinking about our Business Continuity needs was well spent.
We identified that of primary importance is for our clients to still be able to reach us – both by phone and email. Therefore, we’ve installed resilient solutions to both – which include the ability to failover to another location if needed.
So, having full access to the phone system from home, and full remote access to email from any location have really helped.
Having our important data available in a number of different locations has also helped. Again, we’re not talking about backup here – just the ability to synchronise our data so that it’s available offline (on our laptops), or online (via a SharePoint site).
Without our phone system, email, client database, time & recording and client files, we wouldn’t be able to function. We have all of these bases covered.
The only thing we missed was a spare colour printer outside of our office. (I’d prepared a report for a client, and couldn’t print it without any electricity – so, I had to email it to them and ask them to print it out in time for our meeting).
Have you spent time thinking about how you would cope in any of these situations? It’s not about waiting for Disaster to strike – there are hundreds of little everyday problems that can trip you up.
This year has proven the point quite nicely.
If you want to talk to us about any of the solutions we’ve implemented, please get in touch.
In the meantime, it’s time to get a new Colour Laser Printer for home…