Business interruption can take many forms, and no organisation is immune to its effects.

August 7, 2017

Planning for business interruption is key to business continuity

In a survey of almost 1000 businesses by the Business Continuity Institute, 12 percent said their organisation lacked any kind of workspace recovery arrangements, and 35% of those respondents said workspace recovery plans are not a priority for their organisation.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Hands up who could manage without any staff in the face of an interruption to business? With almost two decades of high level ICT sector expertise under our belts, we know that effective business continuity relies heavily on the human factor. If your staff cannot do their jobs then your business cannot run.

So what would a disaster look like to your business – an hour, a day or even a month’s downtime? Do you know how long you could survive, and what every hour’s downtime would cost you?

Having an up to date business continuity strategy in place is the insurance that protects you against the risk of unexpected downtime. A key element of that strategy is workspace recovery, which gives you a location in which to house staff, and promotes fast recovery to systems and data.

When we created a new £4m enterprise-class data centre in County Durham, we asked our clients what extra features they wanted to see. A fully equipped, state of the art workspace recovery centre with affordable, fixed cost pricing was at the top of the list, so that’s exactly what we included.

Our centre has hundreds of seats ready and waiting to give staff access to all the tools available in their usual work environment such as networked PCs, familiar systems and data, high speed connectivity and unified communications.

Our onsite network operations experts operate a constant test and review cycle to maintain a secure, managed environment that is ‘always ready’ should a client need to invoke its disaster recovery plan. In short, we have everything your people need to get on with business as usual.

Of course workspace recovery centres can be used for much more than a safe and secure environment when disaster strikes. They can also be a useful short or long term addition to existing office space. For instance when one of our clients needed extra space to house a specific project team for six months, rather than searching for premises to rent, they moved the team into our workspace recovery centre.

This became an extension of their offices, with dedicated meeting rooms, kitchen and breakout areas plus high capacity project and build space, and the project team members were able to communicate with colleagues in just the same way as if they were on their own site.

One element of business continuity our clients often ask for help with is creating both a strategy and a plan. Continuity and recovery is about more than just detailing how you are going to recover systems and data, this is only half of the equation. If you cannot access the information fairly rapidly then the fact that you have a copy of your systems is immaterial, they are pretty much redundant without communications. As our workspace recovery centre is housed in the North East’s premier data centre, providing connectivity is relatively easy, it can be incorporated into any disaster recovery plan, and is easily and quickly scalable.

When you are creating your continuity strategy, don’t forget to make staff aware of what arrangements are in place. The BCI survey referred to earlier in this article showed that although only 12 percent of businesses actually lacked any workspace recovery provision, over 30 percent of their own staff believed their employers did not have any recovery arrangements in place. That is potentially a lot of staff unaware of how their own business would cope in the event of an interruption.

Keeping the wheels of your business turning does not happen by accident. Don’t assume you will be able to muddle through if disaster strikes. Speak to one of our disaster recovery experts to see how we can help you plan and protect your business against the unexpected.

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