As part of a broader business continuity plan Wiseman switches off its IT facilities three times a year and runs its business remotely from an office run by data recovery firm Onyx Group.
“If we lost our East Kilbride office in any disaster, then we can be relocated within an hour at Onyx’s Data Centre in Glasgow with 50 hot desks where our major systems can be immediately operational, keeping downtime minimal,” said a spokesman.
“In the event of a major problem you need the comfort that any loss of data, product, employee downtime or revenue would be minimal.”
However, Wiseman was the exception to the rule, with surprisingly few small to medium-sized food manufacturers properly backing up business-critical IT systems, leaving them highly exposed in the event of disruption or disaster, Onyx Group infrastructure md Hugh Gillen told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
Onyx, which works with several other food and drink clients including Inver House Distillers, provides back-up IT systems and in some cases physical locations where firms can immediately install their staff and keep their business running in the event of a disaster.
Data recovery is only part of the solution
While most food manufacturers recognised the need to back up financial/accounting and payroll data, customer/supplier records and operational data, simply saving your data was not enough, said Gillen.
“Data recovery is only one part of the picture. You need to be able to put a system in place that enables you to use that data to carry on running your business, which means working out which people would work where, how they would access the data and so on. You also have to test your system to prove that it works at least once a year.
“The mistake that many companies make is making this an IT problem. It’s not, it’s a business issue if you lose days and days of production because of IT failure.”
The recent disruption caused by extreme weather in the winter and the volcanic ash cloud had also revealed how poorly equipped many companies were to cope when key staff were not able to get into work and access company IT systems, said Onyx.