Posted on 31 May 2020
Don't worry, neither did we.
Many small businesses have a disaster recovery plan to cover their IT systems, and some may have a full business continuity plan (BCP) but how many of these considered the possibility of a global pandemic? Not many, I’m guessing.
The last couple of months have certainly been a learning curve for many small and medium businesses. I doubt that at the start of 2020, any business owners were fully prepared for what was on the horizon. Given the recent years of austerity, many businesses have delayed investing in their IT systems which may now be hampering their ability to adapt to today’s circumstances. But all is not lost; for those businesses still lucky enough to be operating at the moment, now is the perfect time to catch up and prepare up to the ‘new normal’ that we are all facing.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity – what’s the difference?
You will likely be aware of the term ‘disaster recovery’ and already have some measures in place to mitigate against IT systems failure, but a DR plan is only a part of a larger business continuity plan. Business continuity plans cover more than just your IT systems, and they cover everything required to keep your business operating, including events that would potentially affect:
- Your business premises
- Supply Chain
- Ability to serve your customers
In today’s world, all of the above are affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, with much of the world on lockdown, your business premises are either closed or running with minimal staff, your supply chain may be affected as those suppliers are facing the same problems as you are. Your staff are unable to come into the office, some may have been furloughed, and those that are working are doing so remotely. All these factors have a major impact on your company’s ability to provide a high level of service to your customers.
Overcoming the Challenges
Over the past couple of months, Impact Computing have been helping all our clients adjust and adapt to the challenges posed by the Coronavirus. As a company, we have been facing the same challenges that our clients are facing, but this means we recognise these challenges and can use our experiences to help our client base.
We recognised early on, before lockdown came into effect that, as a company, we would need to change the way we work but with a key focus that we must uphold the high level of service for our customers are they would need our help to keep their businesses functioning.
As an IT services company, we needed to be able to practice what we preach, and in doing so, we transitioned from being based in one office to the majority of staff working from home with those staff having access to all of the essentials tools and systems required to service our customers. Some of the key aspects of this were:
- Remote access to all our systems, some of these were cloud-based, and others were run from servers in our office, so a robust remote access solution was crucial for us continuing to function.
- A modern telephone system allowed our staff to take their office phones home and have them function as if they were still sat on their desks in the office
- Constant communication between our staff was key to ensure the staff felt connected and still part of the team whilst being in isolation at home. Using Microsoft Teams, each person remained engaged and motivated, using instant messaging and regular one-to-one video calls and team meetings.
By quickly adapting to this new way of working, we were able to pass on our knowledge and experiences to our clients.
Helping our clients
At the beginning of this crisis, remote working was one of the key concerns for our clients; some of whom already had an element of remote access and needed for it to be scaled up and others who, prior to this, had no requirement for remote access.
Each customer’s requirements and existing systems were considered to provide them with a solution that met their needs as a business. Whether that be setting up remote access for their company laptops or allowing users to connect to their office PCs using their personal computers and laptops; our engineers were able to provide a solution on a case-by-case basis.
For those clients using Microsoft 365 in some capacity; Microsoft Teams was quickly added to their platform and training provided to ensure they were comfortable using, what for many, was a new way of communicating.
Whilst most people were working from home, it was important that we didn’t neglect the IT systems still based in their office – many clients still needed to rely on applications running from their office servers for their business to function. Impact Computing’s remote monitoring systems allowed us to continue maintaining and monitoring those servers and proactively act should any problems arise.
A backup solution is key to any disaster recovery plan, and throughout this crisis, we were able to ensure that our clients’ data remained protected. By using a cloud backup system from Datto, we would be alerted at the first sign of trouble without the need to get the client involved.
What lessons have been learnt?
It’s safe to say that the past couple of months have been a massive learning experience for all businesses, including ourselves. And while we cannot get away from the inevitable fact that some businesses will not come through this, we must all continue to learn and adapt as we move forward.
The lockdown has proved that business continuity plans shouldn’t be an afterthought, and whilst a lot of businesses have been forced to adapt, there is still much to do. Remote working has become a reality for many businesses, and it’s important to now develop this practice and learn from the pitfalls.
Given our own experience as a company over the past couple of months, we have proved that changing the way you work is possible and it doesn’t take too much effort to adapt to it. Impact Computing have the experience to help your business run to its full potential in the ‘new normal’ that awaits us. The lessons we have learnt ourselves and through supporting our clients will go on to help other businesses succeed.
If you want to prepare for the future by putting a business continuity plan in place, we can help and support you. Call us today on 01772 684282.