Unforeseen disaster is something that, given the choice, most of us would rather not contemplate. Unfortunately, in business there really is no choice if you want to safeguard the wellbeing of your company. Preparing for the worst-case scenario could mitigate a great deal of the impact if disaster strikes. That’s why a disaster recovery plan is an essential procedure. It will save you a world of stress and avoid a potentially ruinous effect on your business. It will also eliminate costly contingencies and substantially reduce your insurance premiums.
Insurers are known to withhold pay-outs where a disaster recovery plan is proved to be inadequate, so it’s worth doing properly. Cutting corners and crossing fingers is itself a recipe for disaster: you could invalidate your insurance and double your troubles. Larger organisations must meet all kinds of regulatory obligations for their disaster recovery, from data and physical security to speed of recovery for customer-focussed operations.
A fundamental element of your disaster recovery plan is your choice of workplace recovery facility. Expert advice is absolutely vital, so with that in mind Firstnet Group have identified five key attributes which are essential for an effective workplace /disaster recovery facility.
1. SPEED = CONTINUITY
Maximising continuity should be at the heart of your disaster recovery plan. Nowadays customers expect uninterrupted service regardless of the circumstances. You need a workplace/disaster recovery facility that gets you up and running not just from day one, but from hour one. An arduous commute is a headache you could do without in a time of crisis, so it needs to be located within easy reach but shouldn’t be in the immediate vicinity of your own office as the two sites could be affected by the same disaster. Ideally it should have easy access to the motorway network. It also needs plentiful on-site parking to avoid endless loops of the city centre in search of a suitable space. The workplace recovery suite should be fit for purpose as soon as you arrive – it needs to have desks that are fully equipped with networked PCs, software and phones so you’re ready to go in an instant. You don’t want to be turning up at an empty desk, literally left to your own devices. If it’s a ‘bring your own’ workplace recovery suite, you might as well stay at home.
2. CONNECTIVITY IS CRUCIAL
If your business is hit by a crisis, a disaster recovery plan needs to eliminate any other factors that could further delay its operation. With the digital demands of today’s business environment, poor internet and network connectivity is one of those factors. A fast and reliable connection is a high priority, so make sure your disaster recovery facility is up to the task by checking its capabilities before signing up. The following features should be on your checklist: multiple diverse and redundant optical fibre points, cost-effective IP transit and Layer 2 Ethernet circuits and all national network operators in the locality. The minimum requirement for connectivity is open to debate, but at Firstnet we don’t think in terms of minimum requirements: we offer outstanding internet connectivity of up to 80GB and network connectivity of 10/120 Gbps IP & MPLS.
Having an on-site data centre alongside a workplace recovery facility is a huge advantage. Many Firstnet clients co-locate their IT systems at our purpose-built data centre and reserve space at our workplace recovery suite, located within the same building. In the event of a disaster, they can turn up at our facility, sit at a desk and instantly access their entire IT infrastructure as if it was just another day at the office.
3. EXPERT ADVICE ON HAND
As one of the most critical periods your business is ever likely to go through, workplace/disaster recovery is incredibly stressful. It can feel like a very lonely place when you’re trying to keep your business on track in unfamiliar surroundings. That’s when in-house support staff can be very reassuring in a workplace recovery environment. Having experts by your side, giving you technical support when you need it most, is one of the most appreciated aspects of Firstnet’s disaster recovery facility. Many clients have told us how much they valued the advice and support they received from our staff during the disaster recovery process. Our team can also carry out a managed service wrap which means that, should our clients’ hardware fail, we can be on-hand to restore services quickly, often before they even arrive.
4. MORE THAN JUST DESKSPACE
Many businesses, especially those in the service industry, need more than a row of desks to maintain an efficient, motivated day–to-day operation. You shouldn’t have to compromise the physical comfort of your staff in times of crisis – in fact, it helps to increase their comfort during such a challenging period. With that in mind, it’s worth visiting a facility in person to get a feel for the office environment that you would be using in the event of an emergency.
The better facilities are built to contemporary standards with dedicated square footage for board rooms, meeting rooms, showers and break-out space with refreshments. At Firstnet, we even offer a sun terrace for clients to enjoy some fresh air or an al fresco lunch. When they’re ready to return to their own office, some of our clients joke that they’d rather continue working in Firstnet’s!
5. SECURITY, SAFETY AND RESILIENCE
If your own office is struck by a fire, flood, power cut or theft, you need to relocate to a place that is designed and built to counter the same threats: physical security and resilience is essential for your business and your staff. With a purpose-built data centre also on our site, Firstnet take security extremely seriously and we provide a host of enhanced features, including 24/7 manned security, CCTV fitted externally and internally, dual interlocked external gates and internal door entry, prox and pin access to all doors and 100% coverage Seismic perimeter detection with Redwall Microwave intruder sensors. Our facility is ISO27001 and PCI compliant. It’s also located in a low-crime, non-floodplain area and has its own N+1 3.4 MVA continuous standby generator with 72 hours of diesel storage to maintain that all-important continuity in the event of a power cut in the locality.
Together these attributes can minimise the impact of disaster and the stress that comes with it. It may seem like a very unappealing way to spend your time, but thinking about the potential consequences of a disaster – and the course of action they may require – could be one of the most valuable pieces of planning you ever do.
23th October 2017