Posted by: on March 23, 2018 at 11:01 am

“I see too many laptops left on desks overnight,” Tavis lectured us. “It’s time to prove that we can be up and ready to support our clients, even if our office had an issue, or – worse – if a natural disaster occurred.”

Last December, we stood in our regular morning huddle when Tavis dropped this bomb on us: The very next day we would have a “disaster recovery drill.” Every employee – including office and other non-technical staff – would work from home.

Since most of us had some warning, we had time to make sure our VoIP app was configured on our personal cell phones. We had a last chance to remedy any log-in or connection problems. Some people (not many) grabbed a few paper files they would need.

Everyone planned which pajamas they would wear. (Just kidding.)

disaster recovery drill

Heather’s workmate for our disaster recovery drill day.

We’re glad to say that the day went smoothly. The technical team visited clients and worked on support tickets, just like a typical work day. Stacie says, “It was no different as far as using all of our tools we use to log in and access data. Everything we use is cloud-based now so we don’t need to worry about not having a specific program or file or anything like that.”

Non-technical work went pretty much as usual also. For example, Laurel is our part-time bookkeeper. She wasn’t in the office the day Tavis announced the disaster recovery drill, so she didn’t have her laptop at home for it. She was, however, able to log in at her home computer and check email on her cell phone. Her experience, she says, “was pretty smooth. I didn’t feel that I was missing anything that I needed to do my job for the day. I tracked shipments online and processed them as received without delay. I was able to get our regular weekly billing out without a problem.”

In addition, Laurel points out that client payments that came via credit card or ACH were processed immediately, as usual. Those payments would not be at risk of getting lost in the event of a true disaster.

What made our disaster recovery drill work?
  • We had some warning, so we could eliminate any lingering bugs in our process before we started. This gave us a more accurate test of the full solution.
  • We scheduled our disaster recovery drill during the slowest time of year for most of our clients – between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • Tavis worked from the office to cover any order deliveries or clients dropping off items.
What we learned:
  • We did not have a process in place for deliveries in case the office was inaccessible due to a fire, flood, or other problem. We have since developed a process for this scenario.
  • We LOVE our multiple, large monitors. Most of us would make sure to have a larger monitor for home use if working from home became a regular option.
  • Those of us who work in the office most of the time realized that we like having the collaborative environment that co-workers can offer. Most of us would not want to work from home all the time.

And the biggest thing we learned…

Absolutely, 100%, we could not have done this without carefully developing our cloud-based computer network.

  • Our ticketing and timekeeping system is entirely cloud-based. Client issues and requests can be addressed and handled from anywhere with internet access.
  • All of our client documentation is in the cloud, so we can find passwords and network diagrams quickly, without disruption to our clients.
  • Our phone system is hosted and run from the internet (VoIP).
  • All of our bookkeeping information, marketing tools, and office files are hosted in the cloud.

As Tavis likes to quote: We need to make sure we “eat our own dog food” (source). Spending a day fully reliant on our cloud-based computer network showed that our solution works, even for non-technical people.

What’s your business plan in case of disaster? Have you run a disaster recovery drill for your company? TAZ Networks can help you develop a disaster recovery plan, or see if moving at least some of your computer network to the cloud is right for your business. Call us today.

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