Blackout highlights need for business continuity

Despite the recent debilitating power outage, it was still business as usual for many Ontario-based enterprises, at least as far as IT operations were concerned, according to a couple of IT managed services providers.

When the largest blackout in North American history left 50 million people in the dark in parts of Canada and the United States, Osama Arafat’s company was busy making phone calls.

Arafat, CEO of hosting service provider Q9 Networks, said the Toronto-based company’s contingency plans involved dealing with concerned organizations and proactively informing clients that data and connectivity was still available.

“In a lot of cases, we ended up helping some customers where they temporarily moved some servers,” Arafat said. In addition to two diesel back-up generators – one for redundancy – Arafat noted Q9 was also running UPS battery banks, which act as a buffer between utility and back-up power.

Q9’s connectivity to major service providers across Canada ensured that companies outside of the affected areas still had uninterrupted access, Arafat said.

Toronto-based Fusepoint Managed Services Inc. followed a similar contingency plan. Despite all, it is still “business as usual,” said CEO Robert Offley. He noted the blackout has exposed organizations that are ill-prepared to deal with major disruptions to their operations.

According to Offley, the need for proper business continuity and disaster-recovery planning services – along with the trusted suppliers and expertise to provide them – has never been so acute.

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