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Fires and Business Continuity

There have been a couple of fires of note in the recent press. The first was the loss of the Headquarters of Seearo Construction, based in Royston. The second was the fire on 10th July in Soho, which damaged the Dean Street offices of Future Capital Partners. Both fires aptly demonstrate the importance of Business Continuity, both to the companies affected and to their customers and key stakeholders.

Business Impacts

The Royston fire devastated Seearo Construction company headquarters. Beyond immediate issues such as the evacuation and safety of staff, there are further issues that could be addressed by a suitable business continuity programme. These include issues such as

  • IT back up and accesibility
  • location of critical documentation
  • communications
  • payroll
  • the ability to continue to work

Whilst the fire probably had a limited impact on the site-based construction elements, stakeholders would still be concerned to know that project work would be unaffected, and staff would need reassurance that, for example, they would be paid.

Following the Soho fire, by 13th July the Future Capital Partners website explains that the company are striving to get back to business, but that the switchboard is still unoperational. This highlights the need for a simple business continuity programme covering issues such as:

  • telephone diversion
  • IT back up and access
  • alternative office premises
  • prioritisation of critical activitites
  • communications and updates for key stakeholders

So what does this mean for your business?

Beyond the need to have basic business continuity plans in place to be able to continue to deliver a service in the event of a disruption, both fires also demonstrate the importance of understanding the business continuity arrangements of key suppliers and the levels of service likely to be available in the event of a major disruption. It is important to appreciate the impact that an outage may have on SLAs and other targets. This is particularly important where businesses rely on single-source provision. Where multiple suppliers are available, it is important to confirm that alternatives are able to deliver within your specified time frames.