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I was at a networking event last week and I got talking with a couple of people about the BT outage that occurred last week as both of the companies they work for had been affected. 
I was at a networking event last week and I got talking with a couple of people about the BT outage that occurred last week as both of the companies they work for had been affected. One of the companies was a local taxi firm so it had an impact on bookings and getting the taxis out to the customers. 
 
One of the first questions I asked was ‘Do you have a Business Continuity plan (BCP or Disaster recovery plan) in place?’ 
 
I wasn’t surprised at the answer when both turned around and said ‘Of course not’ 
 
Why in this age of dependency on technology and online business do organisations still fail to recognise they need to put some form of basic planning in place to cope with an outage be it a loss of access to the office, power outage or a loss of internet connectivity? It could be that your computer systems or data have been compromised or lost. 
 
How would your business continue to operate? 
How would you communicate to your clients and suppliers what is going on? 
Who would do it and when? 
How quickly do you really need to be up and running? 
 
It is certainly worth ‘lifting the rock’ and asking yourself, or ask the relevant people in your organisation, the questions above and if you are unable to get a clear answer then look at getting them. 
In the case of the taxi firm I asked how much revenue they think they lost through lost custom and the reply was ‘I don’t really know’. I suspect it could run into the thousands as there were two outages by BT last week. 
 
The first step that all organisations need to take is to check to see if they do have a Business Continuity plan at all. This is if you have a place of work or work from home, it is all the same scenarios if you think about it. 
 
If not then look to put something in place that covers the basic risks such as loss of electricity or internet, computer outage or data loss. 
 
Think about where you may go if the internet goes down. It could be the local coffee shop that offers free wifi or the well-known burger chains. 
 
You also need to determine if the technology you have will allow you to work from anywhere else easily. If you use Office 365 then you can use emails from a laptop or mobile using the internet login or access your Word/Excel documents, if you have stored them in the cloud that is. 
 
Is your CRM system only stored on a single machine and could you migrate it to one of the many Cloud offerings to allow you the freedom to access it from anywhere? I use a cloud solution that I can easily get to from my mobile as well. 
If you do have a BCP in place then you need to check to see if it still up to date. As with your Business Plan (if you have one of those also) it needs to be reviewed at least annually to make sure all the details are correct e.g. Key communication lines to customers, place of work, systems, and applications etc. It should also be tested to ensure it still meets the needs of the organisation. 
 
Outages are actually quite a rare event but when they do happen it can have a major impact on your organisation so planning ahead and spending the time now could save you money in the longer term. If the taxi company could have moved to a serviced office or local coffee shop in a reasonable amount of time I am sure they would not have lost as much revenue as they did. 
Green Giant Consulting Ltd can help your organisation in building this plan by acting as an independent body to gather all the necessary information needed to put the right plan in place for you. We could review your current plan and make sure it still meets today’s needs. 
 
Contact Green Giant Consulting today on 0844 359 6210 or visit www.greengiantconsulting.co.uk to book your free initial consultation. 
Tagged as: Business Continuity
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