Fire in Holborn: what can we learn about disaster recovery?
By Catherine McFarland • 10 Apr 2015
An underground electrical fire sparked chaos amongst businesses in Holborn, London, last week. 5,000 people had to be evacuated, 3,000 properties were left without power, broadband services went down and eight theatres had to cancel performances. Firefighters struggled to contain the blaze for 36 hours before finally bringing it under control on Thursday 2nd April.
The impact of the Holborn fire on local business
The source of the fire is believed to have been located under a man-hole cover on Kingsway in the Holborn area of London. Seven days later, and businesses in the area are still suffering. Kingsway is still closed - as are Waterloo Bridge and the Strand underpass. Transport is a mess. Businesses are still struggling to regain vital communications to allow their businesses to run effectively again.
How cloud IT saved the day for one business
One of our client’s, London and Continental Railways (LCR) was unfortunate enough to have the fire burning directly under and around their building. However, they had the foresight to have their business in the cloud, so they were able to pick up business offsite pretty much immediately. They still don’t have access to their building so are having to relocate their HQ – but they were prepared so, while they’re still suffering the inconvenience of it all and still working to get the business running at 100% capacity, they are one of the luckier ones. Even today – more than a week after the incident - businesses who haven’t been able to work offsite are still struggling along without power and email. Now, bearing in mind the cost of business downtime, that is a disaster…
Technology analysts Gartner estimate that two out of five organisations that experience a disaster go out of business within five years.
So what can businesses learn from such incidents and how can we use this knowledge to help protect against such disruption?
How smoothly will your recovery go?
Loss of power and communications - including email - are the most common impacts of a disaster like this. For companies in Holborn, those who have recovered quickly are those who have invested in the cloud - and in cloud disaster recovery solutions.
Without exception, those with business continuity and disaster recovery solutions in place all have replication solutions. This means their business critical data is mirrored in separate sites - so they can recover their data offsite. They aren’t relying on a server that is now water damaged or inaccessible.
Disaster recovery – after the event – or before?
But unfortunately, a lot of these businesses with DR solutions in place are also still struggling. Why? Because their DR solutions retrieve IT systems and data AFTER a disaster has struck. These solutions rely on you having a good sized IT department that can put in a lot of work and time to recover from scratch.
And all this at the height of a stressful situation.
Failing that, traditional DR solutions at least require that you take their DR solution and test it on your business – regularly. Actually run through a mock disaster.
For the average small or midsize business, having a large IT department is not an option. And more often than not, regular disaster recovery testing just doesn’t happen.
So what’s the solution?
What they really want is a solution that ‘pre-recovers’ and tests their IT systems daily, so they can be sure their disaster recovery will work - quickly and easily.
Our DR solution guarantees to have you 100% productive within twice the time it normally takes to boot your IT systems.
If you’d like to find out more about how Azure site recovery can help prepare your business for any disaster, simply give us a call on 0800 0315 966.
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