The Beast from East bought disruption to many parts of the UK causing traffic chaos, school closures, deserted high streets and disruption to business. The financial cost of severe weather events on small firms averages at around £7,000 for each affected business estimates Mike Cherry, the Chairman of Federation of Small Business.
Making it easier for employees to continue to work, when environmental factors make it difficult, would help limit the economic damage. One obvious way is increasing the number of people that can work from home. Since the 1980’s, when the term “Business Continuity” was coined, businesses have begun to put processes in place to protect their organisation, employees and technologies. More recently that's gone a step further, with the need to formulate Disaster Recovery plans for keeping an organisation’s data and critical systems safe, in order they can be restored if the worst should happen.
Cognito iQ built a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (DR) program to ensure resilience and continuity from significant disruptions. Our plans focus on ensuring our critical business functions and technologies will continue to operate whatever comes our way. We have formal plans in place and conduct regular DR assessments of our processes and technology.
Disaster Recovery days are practiced at Cognito iQ 3-4 times a year. When a DR practice day is called, without any prior knowledge to those involved, the management team send a text message to everyone concerned and the procedures kick into action. Earlier this month, when inclement weather struck, we were able to put our plans into action under authentic circumstances.
At the heart of our business is our Customer Service and Support Teams. They are right at the coalface, responding to incidents and requests raised by our customers as well as reacting to alerts triggered from proactive monitoring. Ensuring these teams are equipped whatever the weather is our top priority.
Typically, our Service and Support Teams are office-based, working shifts between 6:00am – 8:00pm, with out of hours covered by on-call resources. Making sure our first and second-line response teams are able to execute their duties, remain in contact with customers and continue to proactively monitor all systems, requires detailed planning and implementation in multiple areas:
- Network Access: All our service teams have wireless access and a VPN connection. This ensures they have secure and encrypted access to all the critical monitoring systems, customer environments as well as the vital suite of tools and applications required, regardless of location.
- Phone System: In addition to network access, the ability for our customers to be to reach us over the phone is paramount. A VoIP telephone system which automatically redirects incoming calls to the appropriate support staff, irrespective of location, has been put in place to support business continuity.
Our support teams might not have been able to make it to the office, but nonetheless continued to deliver assistance with no down time or no impact to our customers or their operations.
At the end of the film A Knight’s Tale, when William Thatcher knocks Count Adhemar from his horse, Adhemar looks up from the ground as William’s team comment that Adhemar has been weighed and he has been measured and he has been found wanting. William then welcomes Adhemar to the new world (the world where he has been beaten).
In the world of Cognito iQ and our customers, The Beast from the East was measured, it was weighed, and it was found very wanting.