Heard the one about the pigeon in the down pipe?

What does a pigeon in a drain pipe have to do with IT?

Well, it depends where the pipe is. In this case, for one of our clients it was the main down pipe for the drainage from their roof. So when a dead pigeon got stuck in the pipe and the rain came down heavily the water pooled in the gutter until it ran down the inside of the roof.

The effect was that inside the open plan office with desks for about 50 staff it started raining!

When it rains inside an office all sorts of things go wrong. Of course, anything electrical is immediately at risk. It must be shut down and protected before it shorts and fails.

So if it starts raining in your office how much work will you get done today? The short answer is none!

You will need people to assist with a recovery effort. They will need to mop and peel up wet smelly carpet. You will need to spend time with insurance assessors and a few other trades before you are done.

Where are your servers? Did they get shut down and protected or did they drown?

Our client, who is an international retailer, had chosen Office 365 a while earlier so most of the staff went home and worked from their own PCs. The servers were safely shut down and brought back on line as soon as it was safe. The dozens of stores were able to cache their sales data and send it once the servers came back on line.

In short, the data was safe. Even if the servers had fried there was an electronic offsite backup to restore from, it was not needed this time but it was a close call. There was still plenty to do to clean up the mess of the office with swollen chipboard in office furniture and very smelly waterlogged carpets.

The clean-up effort was a real distraction but trading continued throughout as this was the head office not the retail face of the business. Communications remained up and responsive. The outside world did not need to know. The company’s reputation was intact and there was no public damage control to do. Just a physical clean up.

The question I pose to you is: Are your systems set up to protect your business from the unexpected?

David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.


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