As businesses become more dependent on technology, small technical problems can have an enormous financial impact on an organisation.
For example, earlier this year two Newcastle medical clinics faced more than three days of business disruption and a financial hit of more the $350,000 after the failure of their near-new state-of-the-art network server – a rare but show-stopping event.
Lotus Dermatology and Coco Skin Laser Health, which employ more than 20 people in the CBD, use the latest technology both for their services and for day-to-day operations. Computer systems play an essential role in managing appointments and storing patient records to meet operational and regulatory requirements.
After a faulty motherboard shut down their one-year-old network server, Lotus Dermatology and Coco Skin Laser Health had to put business on hold until their backup systems came online. Fortunately, the clinics had previously accepted a recommendation from my company to install a Datto SIRIS backup appliance, which makes a near real-time backup of their data.
As a result, we had both clinics back in business that same day. Lotus Dermatology and Coco Skin Laser Health worked locally off the Datto appliance for three days while Dell replaced the server motherboard and then migrated it back into production.
Marketing Manager for Coco Skin Laser Health, Joe Relic said the server hardware failure would have typically taken both businesses offline for days. He said the estimated saved cost of downtime for both businesses during this period, including the number of employees, lost revenue, wages and overheads, was more than $354,000. He said that despite what could have been a substantial loss to both businesses, they didn’t miss a beat and no data was lost.
The key to successful business continuity is to identify how to keep technology running when things go wrong, not if. Like insurance, business continuity systems such as Datto aim to offset the impact of a worst-case scenario. If you run a business, follow three rules to avoid technology disruption:
- Identify your vulnerabilities.
Whether it’s a network server, an internet connection or business-specific dependencies, make a list of those systems you need every day. This is critical infrastructure that lets you serve customers, sell products and deliver services. To build resilience, firstly define your weaknesses.
- Implement redundant systems
In a nutshell, this means you have at least two ways to achieve these critical business outcomes. If your Internet access is via ADSL or fibre, have a 4G mobile data backup system ready to roll in case someone cuts a cable. The Datto backup appliance provided data access for the medical clinics when their server died. What do you need to keep the wheels turning when vital systems fail?
- Test these systems regularly
Make sure you test these failover systems on a regular basis to guarantee that they will work when needed and that your employees know how to operate them so the failover process runs seamlessly.
Following these three simple rules, and choosing the right technology partner, will keep your business working, even when things go wrong.
IMAGE | Marketing Manager for Coco Skin Laser Health, Joe Relic.
Nathan Franks is Founder and CEO of Dynamic Business Technologies, a Newcastle-based IT service provider that delivers innovative IT solutions with a personalised approach. As CEO, Nathan provides the vision, direction and delivery for his company. As well as inspiring his staff, Nathan mentors other business owners to achieve their business goals.