Business Continuity Planning
Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity – the ability for a business to continue trading during and after a serious incident. Business continuity is significantly weighted towards the preservation of data and so has seen considerable improvements in speed and cost as the cloud becomes more prevalent in modern life. Here are five common causes we see from within the communications industry, to help you review your current business continuity plan.
Conversion of Office Space into Residential Use
The Town and Country Planning Order 2013 allows properties being used within Class B1(a) – offices – to be converted to Class C3 – dwelling houses – without the need for full planning application. The net result is a greater risk of your landlord changing their plans for your business space, and a greater demand for the reducing commercial properties available. What would the impact be if your landlord served notice on you tomorrow?
Our recommendation: consider if your business can relocate within the contractual notice your landlord is required to give you. Identify your businesses’ essential services (voice, data, video etc) that would need to move and ask the providers to talk you through the processes, risks and lead times. Consider facilitating remote working and outsourcing as a temporary solution if alternative office space cannot be found quickly.
Planned Business Relocation
Unbelievably, Openreach will not divert ISDN lines while there is an open order on the telephone line (a number relocation request is an open order). If the number relocation doesn’t happen on the day your business moves (which does happen) then your business is expected to stay at the former premises until Openreach rebook the event, usually a couple of weeks away. If you do move on the day you planned, which most companies will need to follow through with, you may have no incoming calls for as many weeks as Openreach take to relocate your lines.
Our recommendation: speak with a communications expert who has the experience to identify risks and the ability to explain prevention planning vs cost. Consider changing from ISDN trunks to SIP trunks, which do allow diverts, work on almost any internet connection, and are more appropriate for taking your published telephone numbers with you. The ISDN network will be switched off permanently in 2025, so the move to SIP trunks will need to be addressed at some point.
Fire, Flood, Theft, Terrorism
There may be insurance companies that cover tangible losses under the common risks, but replacement hardware can take weeks, even months, to arrange and configure. What happens to your clients during that time, and what happens to the data you have lost?
Our recommendation: cloud backup is the minimum recommendation, and is not price prohibitive (business grade cloud backup is less than 40p per GB per month). But this is not a complete solution; cloud backup may still need replacement hardware for data restoration. Hybrid backup solutions are the preferred option, offering on premise data backup for instant file recovery and sandbox testing; cloud backup for offsite storage; and virtual cloud servers. These virtual cloud servers are managed by the backup provider and spin up with your data to act as your missing hardware until you arrange replacement hardware. The typical virtual cloud server is up and running within 10 minutes of request and comes at no extra cost when used. Hybrid backup is popular in mid-market and enterprise, but less common within SMB as it only became affordable on smaller scales with the development in cloud.
Denied Site Access
We have helped clients through many scenarios where they simply cannot access their premises – landlord disputes, snow, and suspected gas leaks to name a few. Whatever the reason, your business and your clients should not be put on hold while site access is discussed and recovered, or long term reputation and revenue damage can occur.
Our recommendation: identify your skeleton staff and enable remote working for them. Remote working is common place these days and the tools to do so are available and secure. It is necessary to test the facility periodically; the time to find out it isn’t working is not when you need it to work. The option to work remotely part-time is increasing in popularity and is often considered as an alternative to an offer of a payrise.
Phreaking, identify theft and website fraud has made solvent companies collapse overnight; a devastating event that often has no insurance cover and no option to avoid financial liability, or recover lost funds. Phreaking is the hacking of a telephone system and calling overseas telephone numbers. Identify theft is the cloning of senior personnel in a business, in order to transfer money out of the business and into an overseas bank account. Website fraud is breaking into a website and installing an iframe that presents another website that appears to be yours, moving transactions away from your business and damaging brand on non-delivery.
Our recommendation: speak with your providers to ensure your voice network, IT network, and website are reviewed with the options provided to you. Some high security has high cost, but take time to understand the risk versus cost so you make an informed choice. Use checklists to reinforce your confidence in your provider.
If you would like to discuss any of the above points and not sure where to begin looking, we are able to discuss options and arrange introductions/demonstrations as necessary. Get in touch here to improve your business continuity plan.