When Nature gets angry, are you ready?

This is what Datchet looks like at the moment. One of our clients, comxo, has an office in Datchet, fortunately raised above the level of the ground, but their car-park is under about 5ft of water with about 6 inches to go before it gets in to the power cabinets and they have to turn power off. Comxo cannot be without power — they provide switchboard services to professional services firms who rely on a continuous service — any suggestion that a continuous service is at risk because of a flood just wouldn’t be acceptable.

Comxo is the only company that we know that has a comprehensive DR and BCP plan in place. I don’t mean a lip-service plan, I mean a full and workable DR plan that has been tested and includes an off-site office space provided by sungard. DR and BCP isn’t fun, it’s not sexy and it’s rarely a priority so it often gets pushed to the back of the queue, but if comxo hadn’t thought about it and implemented it, they would be on the precipice of losing their business right now.

The recent events have demonstrated that it can affect anyone and should be a priority for organisations big and small. Remember the Buncefield explosion? Many companies just don’t recover from these major events, but with a little planning and thought you can go a long way to protect from the worst. Business continuity needs to be put in the context of the business requirement, for instance many other companies won’t need an off-site office-space. The best way to get in to the planning is to think about just two scenarios:

  1. What if there was no power to the office for 5 days?
  2. What if we couldn’t access the office for 5 days?

Working out what would need to be in place to prevent the above two issues from being a major blow to the business will provide a great deal of insight and allow a decent plan to emerge quickly. A lot of what will be required will be dependent on the technology, so put that front and centre.

Sticking your head under the covers and pretending this kind of thing could never happen to your company is not the right solution. It takes perhaps a few hours to agree what the plan might be and a few hours to do a test of the plan every now and then. If you value your business as an on-going concern, then get a business continuity and disasater recovery plan in place today.

Edit: Our client found this blog-post and recognised themselves in it and told us they were happy to be named, so I’ve edited it accordingly.