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Business, Technology and the BA Outage

Jun 8, 2017 Posted by: Dwills Uncategorized

The recent British Airways outage and related fallout is a timely reminder that bad things do happen. Your business needs some form of Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) plan. BC/DR procedures are a bit like backups; we hope we never need them but to make sure they are fit for purpose they need to be tested routinely.

Disaster Recovery – Be Better Than BA!

Eric Hughes, Director of Hitchin’s EMH Technology, offers valuable advice for businesses: “Here is a brief guide I have put together based on the experience I’ve gathered over the years. Who was it that said ‘experience is what you get immediately after you need it’?”

First. Forget about the technology. This is a business-driven exercise. Split your business into the logical units such as sales, finance, support, HR, etc. and assign an owner. They are then responsible for stating the needs of that area. Think about the normal business as usual (BAU) processes which are performed. Prioritise them and the people needed to do them.

Next, overlay a time-from-disaster line. Place those tasks on that line to give you an idea of priority. Some businesses need to raise invoices daily or they are in trouble. If that’s not you then move the invoicing down the timeline to a point where it is needed. Completing this task for each business area gives you good picture of what you need to be able to do and when. Then you can overlay the current technology platform and its capabilities and start to look at common scenarios. Power failure, hardware loss, loss of site access, data loss, communications outage, key person loss.

Now, you can now evaluate your current setup in light of the business requirements. This then allows you to budget for whatever improvements need to be made.

Disaster Recovery Mechanics

The mechanics of your Disaster Recovery process need to be thought about:

  • Who decides when it is going to be implemented?
  • What happens if the people required to implement it are involved in the disaster?
  • Can the plans be followed by any person with the correct level of skill?
  • Once the dust has settled and business is carrying on, how do you get back to normal operations?
  • Lots of time is spent thinking about invoking the contingency plans but what about revocation?

Sometimes the revocation time can be longer and more complex that invoking the plans in the first place. You may decide to put up with some minor disruption rather than dive into your Disaster Recovery plan.

Whichever scenario, the more thinking about it that has been done in advance the easier it is when it happens. Pilots train for emergencies and a lot of the guess work is removed by having emergency checklists that have been well thought out in the safety of a meeting room. The same should go for your BC/DR plan.

More Information

If you would like to talk about your plans for business continuity and disaster recovery, talk to the team at EMH Technology. Initial discussions – and coffee – are without obligation.

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