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IT Failure at Central Bedfordshire Council

Central Bedfordshire Council suffered a major hardware failure on Monday 15th February, resulting in significant disruption to IT services for a week. The most obvious outward signs of the disruption were the loss of the Council’s website and a significant reduction in call capacity at the Council’s contact centre. There were delays to the payment of some benefits and it is estimated that, at one point, there was a backlog of 25 000 unanswered emails.

Despite the vast array of Disaster Recovery technologies that are now available, IT outages still represent a significant cause of disruption to business. Year after year the Chartered Management Institute survey reports that loss of IT is the most frequent cause of disruption. Many outages are short term and have limited impact but a recent survey in the US revealed that 43% of email outages lasted more than 24 hours, with the maximum being 120 hours. How would your business cope if you lost email for 5 days?

The incident at Central Bedfordshire therefore serves as a timely reminder not to be complacent about IT resilience: serious IT outages are perhaps more common than we would like to think.

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