My first exposure to how a business could suffer from the loss of a computer system was in 1989. I wasn’t even in the computer industry then but it became clear, very quickly, the importance of Business Continuity within every business.
I was helping my father-in-law, Norman, in his coach-building body-shop. The rep from the company that provided the paint for spraying the cars and coaches, arrived with an unusual question…“Can you tell me how much you owe us please?”
This unexpected question came because the spray-paint company had suffered a catastrophic hard disk failure. They had discovered that their backup copies, whilst seemingly being diligently done, just would not restore, leaving them without a business system.
It meant they couldn’t process orders, but crucially, they didn’t have any insight into what they owed suppliers and what was owed to them by customers. The spray-paint company only did an invoice run once a month and unfortunately it was two days before month end, so you can imagine how much critical data they were now without.
Their only option was to ask this same question of each of their customers; Can you tell me how much you owe us please? Of course, the suppliers knew exactly how much the spray-paint company owed them and those bills were represented quickly.
Norman didn’t buy a lot of paint from that supplier and was able to calculate very quickly from memory how much he owed – and paid cash on the spot as he always had.
However, the customers who bought and used a significant amount of spray-paint from them were not able to be as accurate as Norman. Some customers took the opportunity this backup error presented them with and claimed to not know how much they had ordered. Consequently, they paid a fraction, or sometimes nothing, of what they owed leaving the spray-paint company entirely out of pocket.
Unsurprisingly, three months later the paint company had gone out of business.
It was then that I understood the importance of Business Continuity and the need for a business continuity plan, and a robust business systems backup solution, in place.
Without constant access to your systems and data, your business simply can’t operate. And with the amount of risk factors that could cause a disruption to the access of your data and systems, including:
- Malware & ransomware,
- Natural disaster such as fire, flood etc; and,
- Loss of connectivity,
the importance of Business Continuity has never been higher.