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System down!

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Computer failure has headlined in the media recently.  Quite apart from the British Airways debacle (and the lame excuse – that any IT specialist will tell you is far from what you’d expect from a company of this size) – there have also been several cybercrime attacks that have caused considerable difficulties to employees, customers and the general public.

The cost of failure

The cost of recovery is easy to calculate: the number of engineers, multiplied by the number of hours (or days), multiplied by their hourly charge.  In the case of a firm of accountants who had been hit by a crypto virus with all their users equipment and their server encrypted, it cost them for two engineers for two days, to recover their systems, but the actual cost was well beyond that.

When people can’t work there will be a loss of business. If you’ve ever called a company to be told “Sorry, our system’s down, can you call back?” did you bother? Probably, you will have phoned another company instead

I was in one of many checkout queues at Tesco’s a few weeks ago when they had a power failure and we were all asked to abandon our trolleys and leave the store. A few people hung around outside waiting for the power to be restored, but most of us headed up the road to Sainsburys!  I wonder how many of those that tried out an alternative store enjoyed the experience and now shop there instead.

When the system goes down you can suffer loss of assets. Of course, it is often possible to recover data, but is it worth risking your valuable customer database, or your company accounts being lost forever? At what cost to your business?

It’s not just having a backup – they don’t always work as you expect and, depending on the backup system you use and the virus your system’s caught, viruses have been known to spread into backups too.

We’ve had new clients come to us in the past with failed hard drives containing their accounts, knowing that they had invoices to send out, VAT returns or annual accounts to prepare.  Even if we can retrieve their data it takes time – and that could mean fines from the Tax man, cashflow delays and more – it all adds up.

Your reputation is on the line

The 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey reports that the biggest impact is to your reputation. You only had to watch the television over the last few weeks to see former passengers of British Airways lining up to openly declare that they would never fly BA again. We’ve also asked clients how many would ever consider using a supplier if they had ever received emails containing attachments or links to viruses and unsurprisingly the answer is very few.

 

There’s nothing like having a plan!

Your best safeguard is to have a business disaster recovery plan with strategies for both prevention and response.  You need to know:

  • How quickly data it’s likely to take to recover your data
  • Lost revenue
  • Lost productivity
  • Direct recovery costs
  • The potential damage to your reputation

When you’ve calculated all of the above you’ll be equipped to decide what needs to be included in a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. You’ll know the financial, legal, reputational and, in some instances, environmental impact of potential threats.  Better still you’ll have considered those threats and be able to take avoiding action and reduce the threat considerably.

If you would like assistance in creating a business continuity plan, don’t hesitate to contact IT Positive on 01376 653115 or email contact@it-positive.co.uk

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