Over the past week or so the news has been full of BA’s latest woes, with the bank holiday weekend getting off to a disastrous start for many holiday-goers. BA, and more importantly their customers, endured around 48 hours of catastrophic system failure, meaning that flights couldn’t leave, check-in was impossible, and bags couldn’t find their way to the right destination. Even the customer app was down, leaving pre-checked in passengers unable to enter security at Heathrow and Gatwick – the UK’s busiest airports.
There have been many apologies and reasons for the crisis bandied about – not least the cost-cutting measures undertaken by BA which had led them to outsource their IT to a global company.
But what lessons should other businesses, whether small or large, learn from this?
1. Outsourcing your IT support is often the right thing to do – but you need to do it carefully
We work with a number of businesses across the country and globally, successfully looking after their systems and IT applications remotely. In order to avoid issues, we have a clear framework of responsibility and accountability – meaning that clients are clear what elements we take responsibility for, and what is managed in house. We work closely with clients to develop this framework as we take over their systems – and our process mapping means that there will never be any part of the infrastructure that falls through the cracks.
2. A well planned and tested Disaster Recovery plan is crucial
Inadvertently, and despite best intention, things will go wrong. Flooding, fire and theft are all physical issues that needed to be planned for. Electricity outages will not only leave physical machines stranded but can prevent server access for remote staff too, and electricity surges, which are the alleged cause of BA’s problems, are another risk. Recovery is one thing, but how do you go on operating during periods of outage? Any IT provider, whether in-house or outsourced should map all the critical infrastructure and come up with a robust disaster recovery and business continuity plan – which should be tested, well before it might be needed!
3. Fundamentally, impact of outage will always be on the client (as BA are discovering!)
At Intrepid, we understand that you can't pass responsibility onto someone else. In today's world of IaaS, Paas, Saas, Cloud, outsourcing and all the items in between, it would be easy to hold our hands up and say 'it's not our fault'. But at the end of the day the client will look at us as the organisation that is responsible for the service, and they aren't interested in all the other parties involved. And it's important to understand that it is their reputation on the line. That's why we will work with our clients to ensure that they are protected, both in physical infrastructure and reputation, as far as is possible - including making sure that they have access to all the system documentation.
To find out more about IT outsourcing and disaster recovery, contact Intrepid’s experts.