Brace yourselves. Winter is coming. Is your IT ready?
Just (less than) three years ago, Britain was on its knees after winter did its thing and dumped a load of snow across the country. Although the UK has got used to relatively-snow free winters, there has always been a risk that some of the white stuff may fallout of the sky.
And so when it did snow in 2013, the country ground to a halt. Public transport was cancelled, roads were blocked and people were forced to stay home because they simply could not make it into work. Some estimates from the Chartered Management Institute suggest that snow cost the average British business £52,770 that year. At the height of the blizzards, insurance group RSA found that the economy was being dented to the tune of £500 million a day.
And with very little apparently changing from year to year, is it possible we will see a repeat?
El Nino cometh
Although scaremongering headlines from the tabloids often use this time of year to start running stories about ‘the coldest winter on record’, this time there appears to be more than a little truth in the rumour. The El Nino weather effect, which determines transatlantic weather conditions, is set to be much stronger than normal, bringing a harsh winter with it.
In fact early indications suggest that El Nino will be the strongest observed since 1950, potentially causing temperatures to drop as low as -22ºC and bringing up to 19 inches of snow. Much, much worse than Winter 2013.
Don't let you business get caught out
Despite the relatively recent experiences, businesses have spectacularly failed to take action to address snow and the effect it has on their businesses. The Chartered Management Institute revealed the enormity of the problem; 89% of managers recognise business continuity as a key responsibility, but over a third (37%) have no continuity measures in place.
A lot of weaker UK businesses may not survive the Great Winter of 2015.
Start preparations now
So knowing that snow causes major problems for your business, and that serious snowfall is likely this winter, you need to start preparing for what will happen when staff cannot get into work.
The good news is that equipped with an Internet connection and the right Cloud-based software, your employees can work from anywhere in the world. Google Apps provides access to email, calendar, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools via a web browser, or even the dedicated mobile apps. If the worst came to the worst, your employees could even work using nothing but their smartphone.
Files can be saved to Google Drive, making them available for access by other workers, in the office or from their own houses. And with a heavy focus on collaboration, Google Apps also provides neat tools for making video calls and working on documents together. So even if snow is keeping your team at home, they can still contribute in much the same way they would in the office.
But these benefits and failovers are only available to those businesses who plan ahead. Kimbley IT can help you get Google Apps in place at any time but you will need to train your staff in advance. By starting now, you should be ready for when the first flakes begin to fall.