It must be the nightmare of any communications company to lose both internet and telephone connection simultaneously, but that is exactly what happened to us for a frustrating 9 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.
So, how did we cope?
In a word, CONTINGENCY.
(Cue the theme from The A-Team)
The first thing to sort out was the phone line. We pride ourselves on always being there for our clients and offering world class customer service. Obviously, this long-standing ethos and commitment had to be sustained and we could only maintain our own standards by ensuring customers could phone us as usual. By 8:55 am on the first day of the problem (due to criminal damage to BT's infrastructure in High Wycombe) our office phone lines had been redirected to a key team member's mobile phone.
Equally important was ensuring that our technical and client web support services were seamlessly continued. While hosting was unaffected since security of services is ensured via our off-site facilities, it was vital that our operations team were able to access hosted client websites at all times in order to perform necessary updates.
Since security is paramount where client websites are concerned, only authorised team members with static i.p. addresses are able to access the website servers remotely. This usually means access is only open to team members physically seated in our offices. On the first day of the problem, we immediately set up VPN access to the servers from each technical team member's home, after first establishing a static i.p. address for each of them.
Of course, the situation was challenging to say the least, but it had a value in that it tested our technical and communications capabilities with a genuine major issue that required solving. While we have planned for this kind of situation in the past, it was satisfying to see our backup strategies working well in practice.
So, it's a big pat on the back for us - our customer service never missed a beat, despite the testing conditions.
We would just like to make absolutely clear that no client websites were affected by the disruption to our phone and internet connections, the servers on which they are housed are located in a state of the art data centre in Reading. If, after reading how well we have coped with adversity, you would like to visit either the data centre in Reading or our offices in High Wycombe (to see at first hand what a bullet-proof communications agency looks like) please let us know
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