In our previous blog, we asked whether you might need a workplace recovery service. According to a 2016 survey by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), this continues to be an important aspect of business continuity planning – almost nine in ten practitioners (88%) claim to have a workplace recovery plan in place to protect their firms against floods, fires, power and network outages, and other disasters.
However, it can be tempting to think that choosing a backup office location is as simple as finding somewhere close to your primary site with enough room for your workforce, as well as decent transport links. In reality, you should be looking at other factors, too:
If there’s one thing you want from your workplace recovery service, it’s peace of mind that your business continuity work area won’t be affected by the same potential disruptors as your primary site. That’s why the first thing you should check is whether a location is protected against – or susceptible to – the risks that inspired your business continuity plan in the first place.
Consider resilience to the following factors:
- Adverse weather conditions
- Interruption to utility supplies
- Power and network outages
- Fires, floods and natural disasters
- Health and safety risks
- Supply chain disruption
According to the BCI, 21% of companies turn to workplace recovery as a way to pre-empt IT outages in particular. If this applies to you, be sure to check that your temporary office has a diverse power feed and backup power supply to protect against power loss, as well as a range of network providers on-site to deliver a high level of redundancy in terms of connectivity.
One of the reasons organisations choose workplace recovery services over work-from-home business continuity plans is security. After all, the last thing you want to deal with in a time of crisis is a data breach.
Not all workplace recovery providers are created equal when it comes to security, not least because they may deliver services to a number of different customers on the same premises. You should check for a manned security presence and CCTV monitoring to ensure that your equipment will be protected against unauthorised personnel both inside and outside the building. Also, be sure to check that your workplace recovery provider can fulfil any compliance requirements you may have.
The more network providers and connectivity options on-site, the more backup options you get for network outages and the easier it’ll be to stay connected with external IT resources, remote workers and clients.
You may also want to factor connection speed and capacity into your choice of workplace recovery provider, particularly if resources will be shared between more than one customer.
The most effective business continuity strategies are extensively planned and regularly tested. As such, you should look for a provider that’s willing to collaborate with you in this respect, rather than someone who’ll just hand over the key to your backup office premises and leave you on your own.
More generally, in a time of crisis, there’s a lot to be said for working with trusted people who can guide you through the process of moving your team to their new workplace and getting settled in.