From organisations running their entire business electronically to small companies using computers to send emails and produce invoices – nowadays technology plays a pivotal role in all day-to-day business operations.
In the event of a disaster - whether a power outage from severe weather, a system failure from fire or flood, an office break-in or a workman cutting the wrong cable outside - you need to know that there will be minimal disruption to both your customers and employees and that it can be "business as usual" whilst the issue is being resolved.
At HTL we work with you to develop a cost effective IT service continuity plan, tailored to meet the needs of your business. This could be anything from a simple regular off-site backup of all your system and company information to a fully replicated office that could be "switched on" at a moment's notice.
Analysis of your business requirements and development of a plan tailored to your specific business. HTL have years of experience supporting financial firms in the city, and can use this experience to tailor solutions to any kind of business.
It is not always the IT Department that leads the drive for a business continuity plan, and this is something that effects the whole organisation, and is often led at board level. HTL can work with directors providing plain English speaking solutions to IT continuity issues.
Our documentation can be as simple as an informal page of A4 detailing how to change and store a backup tape or a details manual forming part or all of your IT or business continuity standards that conform to ISO27002.
When we work with a client to develop a plan we typically start by trying to figure out how much downtime costs them, vs the cost of implementing a solution.
A small business with a single server relies on a cheap tape backup. If the server is completely lost, for whatever reason, and all we have is a tape, it might take a day to buy a new server, and another day to restore the data from tape and get things up and running again. Can the business afford a 48 down time?
The first step to planning for disaster is to try and prevent it in the first place. Our proactive monitoring systems are an automated way for you to ensure systems are running optimally. Having an engineer perform a monthly health check is another recommendation we make to all our clients. If your systems are running in tip top order, there is less chance they will go wrong.
HTL can help you plan for both on site and off site data backup and storage.
On Site backups are usually stored on Tape, Hard Disk or Network Attached Storage (NAS). Tapes and some Hard Disk Solutions typically require manual intervention to change the tape or Hard Disk each day. This requires a procedure to be enforced and checked.
Some companies require the tapes or hard disks to be removed from site and kept securely. In small businesses the Office Manager may get the task of taking the tape home, in larger businesses there may be a requirement for keeping the tape off site for archiving and security purposes in which case we can arrange courier pickups and secure storage at a data storage facility. In these facilities tapes and disks are stored in an environmentally controlled and secure warehouse and can be dispatched back to you within 4 hours in the event of an emergency.
Off Site Backups (Cloud Backups or Online Backup) involve installing specialist software on your server(s). Overnight the system uses your Internet connection to replicate your changed data to our datacentre. This is called Incremental Backup. There is no need for manual backup, or for taking tapes or disks offsite. Data can easily be recovered and even if you loose your servers completely you will be able to restore your data quickly and effectively. Data is kept securely to ISO 27001 standards.
Systems can be made to be fully redundant. What does this mean? Well essentially where before you have one of everything it means we have two of everything.
RAID disk systems – despite modern advances and the huge increase in reliability , Hard Disks are still the most common thing to fail inside a computer. RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) systems are a common and cheap way of proving disk redundancy.
Server Clustering – each server has a real time partner which automatically takes over if the server fails.
Spanning Tree for Network Lan Switches – multiple network switches and multiple network cards for each computer and switch.
Multiple Firewalls – Load Balanced firewalls can manage multiple connections.
The dilemma is typically that if your business is based in one location it is impossible to make everything redundant against all possible scenarios. Typically planning may include massive power outages, extreme weather preventing access to the building, or, god forbid, terrorist or other form of serious disruption. For a fully redundant solution you will need to make a duplicate of your entire office.
A duplication of your entire coms room with real-time replication of your entire business system, located offsite
The holy grail of business continuity. If the worst case ever happened, imagine simply telling them to arrive at a new address for work. Here you would find all your computer systems and telephone systems waiting for them to log in and commence work as normal.
In order to achieve this we use a mixture of technologies but they are mainly based around full replication of virtualised servers using Double Take Software. It’s a complex business, and we have been called in to help several companies fix installations that have not gone well. Once set up professionally a fully redundant system is the most reassuring investment a company can make.
Through our partner ICM in Wapping and Maidstone we have extensive facilities for up to 1,000 employees for full continuation of your business in the event of a disaster