When Disaster Strikes

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We have had a disaster recovery plan in place for a few years now and unexpectedly got to test it out in January…today I am very grateful for having had that opportunity!

When I first set about putting together the disaster recovery plan it was a chore and the paperwork was immense. Trying to plan for events that you couldn’t even think could ever happen was difficult and at the time felt like paying for insurance that you’d never need to cash.

How I undervalued that time spent and how relieved am I that I put in the hours needed to ensure McGowan Transcriptions stayed afloat (pardon the pun) in a disaster.

I have to admit, I was thinking more in terms of a terrorist attack or similar…I didn’t anticipate losing our offices to groundwater.

Last Sunday we were aware we were under a flood warning but was told it wouldn’t be worse than January, so we didn’t panic and slept as if we didn’t have a care in the world…which is just as well as we needed our wits about us when we awoke on Monday morning to realise we were about to be flooded – and we had two hours to get all transcription deadlines met.

On arriving at the offices, via wellies, we were to find the electrics already blown so out came the torches and we went to work dismantling everything. We switched the phones to a service so we didn’t lose a call but also so we could concentrate on saving the transcription machines, back ups and computers.

The photographs taken at the back of each computer really saved time putting the computers and transcription machines back together later. The transcription network and Wi-Fi system came back to life as soon as we plugged them into their new home – which I’m still amazed about to be honest. All the transcription backup data is solid and everything is working perfectly. No client deadlines were missed although it took longer for the transcription team to get back to normal as four of us are dealing with individual disaster recovery plans and it was our minds rather than our machinery that were slowing us down initially!

On Tuesday, when I started writing this from our temporary headquarters, we had four men outside making sand bags, as due to the extent of the flooding the councils couldn’t deliver sandbags fast enough. We were unable to save our second building or our neighbours’ office but all our homes stayed dry. It was all hands on deck here but around the UK our transcribers were busily working hard and ensuring all deadlines were met.

We are eight days on and you would never know that we are not transcribing and working as usual in our own offices and all of our security procedures are at the same strength as they have always been.

My recommendation is that if you don’t have a disaster recovery plan, and it’s not too late, make one today. It may well prove to be one of the best things I’ve done for our business as we are likely to be in a temporary situation for a few months yet to come.

Blog written by
Joe McGowan