Published: October 30th, 2014

Over Thanksgiving  (that’s in October up here in the Great North, for all you Americans scratching your heads and looking at the calendar) 2,100 Calgary businesses were thrust into complete darkness over– another great example of businesses not being prepared to weather the unexpected storm.

Calgary’s Thanksgiving outage wasn’t caused by rising flood waters on the Bow River or by some violent summer hail storm that frequently hit Southern Alberta. This time, it was something much worse. Enmax, the cities utility company, had a fire in its west end substation that resulted in 2,100 businesses and over 7,000 residents having no power for almost a week.

There were no warning signs. There was nothing on the horizon hinting that businesses should start battening down the hatches. So when it happened, guess how many businesses weren’t ready for it?

Too many.

 

This is exactly the kind of disaster you should be preparing your clients to weather. You’ve got to remind them (and yourself) that disasters aren’t just widespread acts of Mother Nature, and that if you don’t have the right plan in place for fast recovery, your business might not recover.

Calgary managed service provider, Computer Rescue, shared what happened on their blog site immediately following the event.

Don Clayton and his team at Computer Rescue take business continuity seriously and sit down with each of his clients so they fully embrace what business continuity is all about.

“It is more than just backup,” Clayton told me in a recent telephone call. “With backup everyone thinks it won’t happen to them, but it will, they just don’t see the value. They think disk or tape is fine. Computer Rescue goes much deeper.”

Clayton’s team focuses on a complete business continuity strategy that includes data backup, cloud services, email continuity, remote access solutions, power failure and backup power generation solutions… and these are just the tip of the iceberg.

“Living in Canada, we take our utilities and general day-to-day business operations safety issues for granted,” continued Clayton. “Looking at the recent Calgary 5-day power outage and the 2013 floods, one lesson that we have learned is that you must be prepared for the unexpected.”

Computer Rescue’s business continuity strategy starts with:

  • Knowing how to reach employees and customers.
  • Having their important files backed up off-site.
  • Knowing how to keep the business running if the physical location isn’t accessible.

But the focus is on recovery. Computer Rescue sells its business continuity strategy with the fact that their failover servers in the cloud help businesses stay connected with access to data and applications while reducing the impact of a power outage, and an online virtualized backup that could be operational in less than an hour through one of Computer Rescue’s Backup Partners.

Do you provide this kind of service for your clients?

You might think you live in an area that’s not “disaster-prone,” but Calgary’s troubles prove that this kind of thing can happen anywhere.

And here’s the thing: When you embrace that disaster preparedness is a necessary step for any business, you can lead with that when selling to existing or prospective clients. Make them understand what you’ve come to understand – that disasters of any size and type can drag a business under, and having the right tools in place can make all the difference.

Ask them questions on their state of readiness; look at Google Maps and point out all the dangers that could impact their business; and work with them to understand the risks to their business and the livelihood of each employee.

How does the average managed services provider successfully implement a business continuity strategy? It first starts with the right partners. You can’t do this alone. You need to have partners in your corner who are going to help you succeed.

The next step is creating the marketing materials and sales strategy to position business continuity with your clients and prospects. This is where Ulistic can come in to help. Our team has recently launched a business continuity strategy with RJ Systems in Edmonton, alongside Datto, to help them get the message out on business continuity for their clients in Edmonton.

Business Continuity is more than just backup. Make sure your clients understand that before they’re left in the dark (and unable to pay your invoice!).