Business continuity in the face of terrorism

Disaster Recovery Suite

When business owners think of disaster recovery, more often than not they focus in on the most likely threats; flooding, fires, power cuts, and other common infrastructural issues.

Terrorism is often cited as an outside consideration for business continuity. After all, if you look at the raw statistics, it is a very unlikely occurrence. But when the UK endures three horrendous attacks in as many months, this is a topic that clearly deserves more attention.

The atrocities committed in London Bridge on Saturday 3rd June will be solemnly remembered for a long time here at Netwise, as will the awful attacks in Manchester and Westminster. The London Bridge attack hits particularly close to home for us, given our relatively close proximity to the area, and our regular use of Borough Market and the surrounding pubs for lunchtime meetings with our team.

Outside of the devastating loss of life, attacks such as the one in London Bridge really do serve to highlight the clear importance of reliable disaster recovery services for businesses up and down the country.

The knock-on effect of this economic impact is not likely a conscious consideration of the cowardly perpetrators, though it is a very real post-event consideration which adds dramatically to the gravity of their actions.

While many businesses are now fully on-board with the idea of outsourcing mission critical IT infrastructure to highly-resilient data centres, the physical side of business continuity is still an area often overlooked.

 

The knock-on effect

Failing to properly plan for an eventuality such as this can be devastating to any business. To further compound this, it also increases the effectiveness of the disruption and damage set in motion during the attack.

Outside of the horrific impact an attack like this has locally in the days following such an event, the ripple effect can be felt for much longer, with a far wider sphere of influence. Of course, this includes the economic impact caused through the disruption of business in the area.

The security cordon area in London Bridge and Borough Market contained hundreds of businesses, all of whom had limited or no access to their premises during this time. This cordon lasted several days – enough to cause serious disruption to businesses in the area.

We live in a time whereby these kind of considerations need to be taken seriously by all business owners. If action can be taken to lessen the impact of an event entirely out of your control, then it stands to reason that this is something that must be of critical importance.

 

Disaster recovery as a proactive counter-terrorism measure

London and the UK are clearly major global targets for this kind of terrorist activity, which is something we must work to combat on both a macro and micro level. Protecting your business against any loss of revenue incurred as a result of an event like this is to directly combat the impact this will have on the UK economy – no matter how small that contribution may be.

Having a business continuity plan in place, both for digital and physical operations, can be considered an effective, proactive counter-terrorist measure; one which any business can contribute towards.

To protect your business against the threat of a terror attack is perhaps the most valuable of all the DR advantages; particularly when operating in a major city. Not only does it present clear benefits to your own organisation, it also helps limit the damaging shock-wave effect an attack of this nature will have on the wider area.

Being able to carry on with ‘business as usual’ in the face of an atrocity such as the one felt in London Bridge is absolutely vital in minimising the social and economic impact this type of event will otherwise set in motion.

Naturally, this is a far cry from quenching the true source of the problem, but it is a proactive action that can be taken by organisations in dealing with the fallout from something as awful as a terror attack in a major UK city.

 

Disaster recovery for SMEs

Fully-featured business continuity planning has been a mainstay of banks and governments for decades, with private replica offices on standby for emergency use should something like this unfold. Likewise, larger corporations have also joined the physical DR revolution over the past ten years, making use of big-scale shared operations run by major serviced office operators here in the UK.

This service exclusivity has slowly been eroded over the past few years, with a number of operators (ourselves included) now delivering physical business continuity services for SMEs.

Long gone are the days of thousand-desk commits with the major DR service providers. We operate a dedicated Disaster Recovery Suite which can service single desks right through to entire run-of-suite operations, opening up this concept of protection to anyone and everyone.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes mould the economic landscape of the UK. It is commonplace for smaller, specialist organisations to be servicing some very large and important contracts, which puts extreme pressure on service and operational reliability, no matter what is happening outside. As such, it is no longer acceptable for any business to incur avoidable downtime, with DR services available at a per-desk level on a monthly service plan.

 

It is never too late to be thinking about your business continuity plan, and how this will safeguard your operations against any physical threat – acts of terror included.

Remember: good DR services should be close to your existing premises – for ease of use during an issue – but well outside of any hot-zones that would be considered a likely target for terrorist activities. Our London Central facility falls into this category; we are located in a quiet but easily accessible area between London Bridge and Bermondsey.

Learn more about our fully-serviced London disaster recovery suite.

The importance of business continuity

The concept of business continuity is nothing new. In fact, you probably already partake in a range of business activities that help protect your enterprise from localised issues, even if you’re largely unaware of it.

Office 365, for example, is one way in which modern businesses are mitigating the risks associated with running critical applications locally, which usually place full reliance on in-house systems with single points of failure.

A great deal of businesses — both small and large — are now moving more completely into the current era of technological separation, pushing their mission-critical IT infrastructure away from the office, into highly resilient data centres whereby systems enjoy access to the very best in connectivity, power and cooling.

This is all well and good, but it does leave one fundamental area of business operations open to serious problems should a localised issue occur; the physical premises.

Most businesses still overlook the potentially catastrophic effect a major disaster could have on their working environment, and in the fast-paced economy of today, this is no longer acceptable to customers and end-users at any level.

DR Suite

 

Disaster recovery services

Essentially, physical DR services are a safety blanket designed to offer piece of mind through access to standby working spaces.

If a fire, flood or other similarly damaging problem causes your usual place of work to be unreachable or unusable, you can switch operations to your standby business continuity suite. If planned and implemented correctly, this can often be a transparent process to your clients, which is vital in maintaining quality of service.

This was once a service set enjoyed exclusively by large-scale operations, such as banks and governments, who would build replica offices for their own private use.

Over the past decade or so, access to these kinds of services have filtered down to mid-sized enterprises, with a number of operators offering large office spaces for reservation to multiple tenants, without the need to self-build. This still requires a large commitment in terms of square footage, which tends to limit use to enterprises of significant size; certainly out of reach for those businesses with smaller requirements.

It’s only in the past few years that this has entered into the realm of accessibility for smaller organisations.

 

Small-scale DR services

Small (or even micro) organisations often require nothing more than a handful of desks. This can still be a struggle to find, as many major suppliers of such services still have a minimum commit of at least 25 desks.

Smaller businesses also need turnkey DR services, with nothing more than a monthly subscription fee providing direct access to fully services workstations in the event of an emergency. Unlike larger enterprises, building out a space to specification internally is rarely an option.

DR Suite

 

Turnkey disaster recovery services

We offer access to a fully serviced 33-desk disaster recovery suite, with availability from single desks upwards.

Our high-specification DR suite is accessible around the clock, with a private meeting space and reception area to bolster emergency operations.

With the space being on-site at our world-class data centre facility, users of our DR services also enjoy access to our blue-ribbon site amenities, which include a customer kitchen, customer lounge, showers and secure storage spaces.

Additionally, provided you also use our facility for your colocation requirements, you will be on-site with your mission-critical IT infrastructure, providing enhanced end-to-end business continuity capabilities.

This unified approach to the concept of disaster recovery brings the full range of outsourced high-availability services under one roof, making for a fantastically simple one-stop-shop for both technical and physical business continuity planning.

If you’d like to speak with us about how this space can work for you, or to book a tour, please do get in touch.

Introducing your new Customer Lounge

‘Usual’ is not a word that often enters into our vocabulary here at Netwise. We like to do things differently. After all, that’s why people enjoy using our facilities – we mix enterprise-grade data centre services with world-class supplementary amenities, something our customers relish in everyday.

Build Room One received a full makeover towards the end of last year, much to the enjoyment of our clients. This has now been followed up with a full overhaul of the Customer Lounge, which to this point had been a fairly uninspiring white room.

Customer Lounge

The space is now our personal ode to London Bridge and Bermondsey, the area in which our London Central data centre calls home. We’ve designed the space to be warm and inviting, which is in contrast to the highly technical spaces found throughout the rest of the building.

White technical spaces can feel somewhat anodyne over extended periods of time, so this space offers customers some respite and escapism from the high-tech environment of the data hall and associated work spaces.

Two of the walls have been completely clad in reclaimed ethically-sourced wood, giving the space fantastic texture and an altogether natural feel. This extends into a set of shelves, which follow the same design.

Bermondsey

Additionally, we’ve put in soft architectural lighting which complements the new wall textures very nicely. You’ll also find a vintage tea-stained Union Jack on the wall and a range of London themed bric-a-brac and vintage technology kit on the custom wooden shelving (with plenty more coming soon). In the not-too-distant future, we will be adding an oxblood chesterfield sofa to complete the look, replacing the two tub chairs currently occupying the space.

Flag

Union Jack

Customer Lounge

Customers familiar with our new Build Room will be very pleased to hear that we’ve installed another overhead sound system for use in the lounge, with the amplifier and control point in the centre of the work desks, underneath the flying Union Jack.

Future plans include vintage games consoles, a coffee machine and additional work lighting at each desk.

It truth, this is a space that needs to be experienced in person to fully appreciate it. If you’d like to come in for a coffee and a look around, please do let us know.

Also, watch this space for an exciting new addition to our Customer Kitchen, coming very soon.

Build Blog – One year on

When we began the lengthy design and build process for our new London Central data centre, we decided to start a comprehensive build blog which would track the progress made each week, including photographs of the changes and a short write up of what’s been happening.

This ended in July 2015, shortly after we soft-opened the facility to existing clients. From a technical standpoint, the facility was indeed ‘finished’, however we still had plenty of additions to make with regards to customer amenities. We officially launched the new facility in February 2016, after completing another run of works inside the data centre.

We posted our first build blog update in November 2016, which documented the overhaul of our much-loved Build Room for data hall one. We’re now almost exactly a year on from our official launch event, and so thought it would be a good opportunity to provide an update post that documents all the changes we have made over the past 12-18 months.

This photographic tour of the facility shows all of the key spaces in their current configuration, bringing the build blog fully up to date with the facility as it stands today.

NOC

Our NOC screens command centre stage in our open plan office.

Workstations

All workstations in our office now have a triple-screen setup.

Office

Our open plan HQ office has become a real hive of activity over the past 12 months.

Meeting Room

Our much-lauded meeting room is a real favourite with site visitors.

Meeting Room

Two large conference screens sit at the head of our Vitra board table.

Reception

Our reception now sports a sleek desk with custom white logo.

Reception

We have a new tube status readout screen above the main entrance, for the convenience of visitors as they leave.

Reception

A look up at the soaring atrium in the main entrance.

Customer Lounge

Our new Customer Lounge is very much a space that will evolve over the coming months, but it is already a uniquely interesting space that our customers love to use.

Customer Lounge

Our new Customer Lounge is very much a space that will evolve over the coming months, but it is already a uniquely interesting space that our customers love to use.

Customer Lounge

Our new Customer Lounge is very much a space that will evolve over the coming months, but it is already a uniquely interesting space that our customers love to use.

Customer Kitchen

Our dedicated customer kitchen, while still a blank canvas awaiting further work, is rarely pictured.

Customer Kitchen

Our dedicated customer kitchen, while still a blank canvas awaiting further work, is rarely pictured.

Electrical Intake

Our electrical intake room has had colour coding for both A and B sides applied, with further colouring to come soon.

Electrical Intake

Our electrical intake room has had colour coding for both A and B sides applied, with further colouring to come soon.

Showers

Our shower facilities received a full make over shortly after opening.

Build Room

Build Room 1 received a full overhaul recently, much to the praise of its users.

Build Room

Build Room 1 received a full overhaul recently, much to the praise of its users.

Build Room

The two workstations in Build Room 1 are always ready for customer use.

Data Hall 1

A look down the length of Data Hall One as it stands today, an ever-evolving modular space.

Data Hall 1

A look down the length of Data Hall One as it stands today, an ever-evolving modular space.

Data Hall 1

An alternative view of Data Hall One, this time from Row B/C.

Data Hall 1

A look at the new optical distribution infrastructure recently upgraded in Data Hall One.

We have additional improvement works scheduled for 2017, including additional perimeter fencing with razor wire and a man trap, the deployment of additional rack and cooling capacity in data hall one, as well as improved on-site amenities for both customers and staff.

Frank Pearson joins Netwise Hosting

We are very pleased to introduce you to the latest member of our ever-growing support team; Frank Pearson.

Frank

Frank Pearson

Frank is now a part of our critical out-of-hours support team, looking after customer support enquiries that come into the NOC overnight.

Digital security is where Frank excels, with a vast array of real-world experience to draw from in helping our customers with their support requirements. With work for the likes of Google on his resume, you know you’ll be in very safe hands if you happen to deal with Frank during a support case.

Frank is also an integral part of our internal development team, assisting with the build and execution of new systems and software solutions that benefit our customers on a day-to-day basis, with a keen focus always placed on security.

Our support team is growing, with additional operatives joining us over the next few months. Keep an eye out for further introductions coming soon.