Last Monday, the faithful employees of 3n1media – ready to begin a new week of saving the world, one computer at a time – arrived on the scene of a minor disaster when we pulled into our parking lot. Upon entering the foyer of our office, we encountered a pungent chemical odor. Another of our building's tennants had re-finished its concrete flooring over the weekend, leaving clouds of xylene vapor (from a chemical agent used in the process) wafting through our office. After bravely attempting to start business as usual amid clouds of this vapor, it became clear that the safety and sanity of the 3n1media team could not continue as usual at our office.
For the first time since the harrowing (by Nashville standards) ice storms of 2011, 3n1media’s disaster recovery plan was put into motion, and our work resumed.
All kidding aside, we were able to maintain our productivity last week because we had measures in place to maintain continuity of all the technology we rely on to do our work. The xylene vapor made it impossible for us to work in our office for the better part of the week, so we all had to work remotely.
In order to do that, several key points in our IT infrastructure had to be made accessible remotely. We were able to use CounterPath’s Bria iPhone app to connect in to our office’s network and make and receive calls from our main VoIP phone line. We have a terminal server that allows any of us to log into a remote desktop on our network with Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection. We could each access our Exchange accounts online through the Outlook Web App. And we could even log into and work on our actual workstations at the office through the Remote Web Access capability of our server's operating system.
The bottom line is that we were able to access all of our business-critical data and communications without too much of a fuss. Why? Because we had planned for situations where we would be forced to work remotely and implemented technologies that allowed us to do so when necessary. We had a disaster recovery plan in place, and we were able to use it to regroup and get back to work with minimal downtime.
Our situation shows how essential a disaster recovery plan is to a business’s productivity. And, to be sure, we’ve seen disasters much more severe than our encounter with xylene.
That's why we always have disaster recovery in mind when we recommend and implement technology systems for our clients. It’s not enough that technology works when conditions are normal; it needs to work when the unexpected happens as well.