The recent fire in Warrnambool has caused a myriad of problems in the past week due to the Telstra exchange being damaged, and as such most of the South Western Victoria has been without Telstra phone services. Any Telstra supported landline, internet and mobile devices have been effectively disabled, including many Banks ATM’s, Eftpos machines etc.
I was reading a post from a Warrnambool based friend on Facebook last week. She provided ongoing commentary about the ATM’s not working, shops unable to process EFTPOS sales, Banks limiting withdrawals and shops being closed in Warrnambool. I also listened to my wife comment how she could not contact her parents (also in South Western Victoria) as the phones were not working and she could not get in touch with them. It was Dooms Day type situations and for those affected it had serious ramifications.
All this made me think, I had just published a blog about MYOB cloud based solutions and thought with all the inviting benefits that the cloud brings there are a number of risks that you need to consider. First and foremost you need to ask yourself ‘what is my contingency if my internet does not work?’.
Evaluation and implementation of a disaster plan for your business as a whole, and your IT services, is critical for those looking at placing either entire servers into the cloud or crucial software applications. You need to ensure you have fall back positions in place, evaluate the risks and have a contingency plan.
In the above Telstra example Optus’s services continued to operate (my Facebook friend is with Optus), therefore if relying on phone/internet services in a business it may be prudent to have a second phone and internet service already in place. Better still, it may be prudent to have a wireless connection with an alternate provider at the ready at all times.
There is a cost to these contingency services, but should someone dig up your landline connection, what is the cost of losing access to data and communication for your business? If your servers are housed offsite (whether it is the other side of town or over the internet) this may devastate (or even close down for a period) your business!
All businesses would be affected differently, but ask yourself, could you survive a week or more with out your computer systems?