Disasters always occur when they are least expected. Any number of events outside your control could prevent your staff from reaching your office or accessing their systems when they get there: fire, flood, power outage or network failure, for example. Even in this age of remotely hosted IT, cloud computing, and home working, most businesses still rely on a core team of staff based on site in a regional or national office. If a disaster makes the office unavailable for any period of time, the business is sure to be affected.
Making alternative arrangements for providing office space after a disaster strikes your site is costly and time-consuming and often isn’t a viable option at all. A far better approach is to make arrangements in advance, with seats reserved in a backup office location and a plan in place to activate and relocate to the backup for the duration of the emergency. This is the core thinking behind engaging with a workplace recovery solution such as that which we provide..
Our workplace recovery service should form a core part of your business continuity and disaster recovery strategy. Workplace recovery is effectively an insurance policy. You reserve office space and facilities in a workplace recovery centre, allowing you to quickly and efficiently relocate your staff to that centre should the worst happen. And, like insurance, while you hope you never need to call on it, you have peace of mind that if you do, your business can concentrate on serving your customers effectively from the alternate location no matter what unexpected disaster should strike your offices.
Workplace recovery centres should be fully equipped to provide an effective working environment for the duration of their occupancy. Your staff need to be comfortable and have access to the right equipment and systems to carry on business as usual. Our workplace recovery sites include:
- fully equipped, ergonomic workstations with pre-imaged desktop PCs, keyboard and mouse
- A full reception facility
- Welfare facilities such as kitchens and meeting spaces,
- Secure parking.
- Full DDI redirect into our telephony platform, with a VoIP handset provided on every desk
- A segregated local area network with onward resilient telecommunications over the Internet, to ensure you will have access to your customers, suppliers and core IT systems.
We maintain six workplace recovery sites in the north of England and central Scotland, providing fully equipped desktop, network and telephony services. We also have reciprocal agreements with trusted partners in the Midlands, London and the South that allows us to extend this coverage across the UK. Our service may be invoked at any time on a 24/7/365 basis. We will respond quickly and our SLA for invocation is just four hours, ensuring that disruption to business operations is minimised as far as possible.
In order to be cost-effective, workplace recovery providers will operate a “shared seat” model, in which several customers will reserve the same spaces within the provider’s workplace recovery centre. This model relies on the fact that the chances of two customers needing to invoke the service and use the same seats at the same time is extremely low. One thing you should always ask when selecting a workplace recovery site is how many other customers will be allowed to reserve the same seats—what is referred to as the “contention ratio”. The higher the contention ratio, the higher the chance that your seats will be unavailable when you need them because another customer will be using them. We guarantee a contention ratio of no more than 20:1, which experience and testing shows us is an optimum level to guarantee service to all of our customers.
A second consideration of the shared seat model is geographical separation of customers. The chances of an incident such as a power outage or environmental disaster striking two businesses simultaneously obviously increases if those businesses are situated next to one another. Thus, even a low contention ratio will cause you problems if the workplace recovery centre is shared by several businesses close to you. To mitigate this, we guarantee a minimum geographic separation of 150 metres between businesses that we sell workplace recovery services to.
In the extremely unlikely situation that two customers do invoke the use of our facilities at the same time, every endeavour will be made to accommodate both customers, using alternative facilities if necessary.
Where your business needs mean that the shared-seat model is not operationally viable for your business, we can offer exclusive contracts that allow you to reserve seats for your sole use. Obviously this comes at an additional cost, and whether this model is right for you will depend entirely on how you balance your risk appetite against commercial considerations.
We realise that workplace recovery needs are different for every organisation, which is why our specialists work with each of our customers to design a service that suits them, assist in the development of invocation procedures, and put protocols in place to ensure an experience that is as seamless as possible. Our customers provide us with an image of their own desktop builds, which we store securely until needed. When you invoke the service, we use that image to rapidly configure the desktop machines in our workplace recovery centres, so that your staff arrive to find they have the operating system and software applications they require, installed and configured exactly as they are used to in their own offices. Seating layout within the workplace recovery centre will be discussed and agreed when you reserve the seats and documented so that there can be no confusion when your staff arrive at the site.
Disasters can strike at any time, and so we allow the service to be invoked at any time, 24×7. Invocation will be by telephone call to us from designated staff in your organisation who will be given a security code to prove their identity and authority.
Inclusive test days
It is essential to have confidence that, in the case of a real-life disaster, you and your staff understand how to invoke the service and can get to the workplace recovery site and set up quickly and easily. Accordingly, our service includes annual test days, in which you can test the service invocation and relocation processes—using some or even all of your staff in a “live” relocation if you wish—to ensure that not only does the service and the facilities continue to meet your needs but also that your staff are familiar with the process should a real-life invocation be necessary. Our specialists assist with these tests and help you identify any areas for improvement and make the necessary changes to ensure the service remains fit for your purpose.
Health and safety
Security and safety, of both your staff and your IT systems, is obviously of paramount importance during a disaster invocation. We will take responsibility for the physical security of the workplace recovery site and for existing fixtures and fittings, and will make you aware of all relevant security and health and safety processes in place to protect your staff. We will have lists of your staff who are permitted to access the facility and may request photographic identification, and anyone who has not been pre-screened may be denied access.
To ensure data security, all of the desktop PCs in the workplace recovery suite will be sanitised using industry-standard security protocols to remove any remaining data you may leave behind at the end of an invocation. While you occupy the workplace recovery suite, your connections to the Internet and beyond will be protected by our enterprise-class firewalls, though securing your desktops by measures such as anti-virus software remains your responsibility.
Contact us to find out more.