I had a really interesting discussion with a customer last week, when we were musing over the effects that the snow had on UK businesses. It was another example – like the floods which have hit parts of the country over the last few years – of a threat to business continuity which it’s easy to overlook.
Most businesses have prepared some contingency for what IT should do when it all goes wrong – starting with individual equipment failure (using RAID disks, redundant power supplies & the like), to clustering of services and replication of data to be able to survive bigger losses, either temporarily (like a power cut) or for longer-term outages (like loss of connectivity to a datacentre, maybe even loss of the datacentre itself).
What the weather conditions taught us the other day was that the people are even more important than the premises – the customer said it was ironic, that all their systems were up and running well, it was just that nobody was there to consume them.
Warwick Ashford from Computer Weekly writes about how their publisher, Reed Business Information, has built remote access into their business continuity plans. Interestingly, most of the discussion focussed on how to use VPN technology to connect to the office.