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Business continuity: our plans to ensure a reliable service

Head of Business Continuity Claire Powles explains the importance of business continuity and how Gamma prepare its people to face disruptions.

The pandemic made one thing abundantly clear: business continuity planning cannot be an afterthought.

While no one could have predicted this pandemic and some risk assessments might not have even included such an event, business continuity (BC) is about having a plan and capability to deal with most types of disruption – regardless of nature.

Most importantly, business continuity planning is about empowering relevant people within a business to be able to effectively respond during a crisis.

At Gamma, we have been doing just that. In this article, we will explore how we prepare our people to face disruptions in order to ensure a reliable service to our customers.

Why is business continuity important to Gamma?

Our mission is to provide straightforward cloud communication and collaboration services for businesses, underpinned by a robust, secure network.

Due to the nature of the services provided, we take BC very seriously. We fully understand that the unavailability of our services presents a real risk to businesses, the economy and even people’s lives in some instances.

With IT and telecommunications outages being one of the top disruptions experienced by businesses in 2021, we appreciate that our customers will look to us as a service provider to be resilient, reliable, and most importantly capable of responding, and recovering as quickly as possible should a disruption occur.

Planning for anything: our business continuity exercise

To this end, we recently ran a remote walkthrough exercise with members of our Customer Operations team, who were presented with six different scenarios causing disruption relating to people, property, technology, suppliers and data.

A few examples of the scenarios included a fire in a building next door; our Gamma Portal being unavailable; and one of our critical suppliers going into liquidation.

The exercise aimed to improve the content of our plans, ensure members of our BC Recovery Team are familiar with their roles and responsibilities and gather evidence during the exercise to strengthen our existing plans.

Our team explored and validated plans for each of the scenarios, which included an initial response assessment, impact assessment, and the assessment of any critical business processes necessary to continue to deliver our services.

Actually, you can’t plan for anything

The internet is brimming with business continuity planning advice, but many fail to include the most important component: people.

No matter what any article or BC guru might tell you, it’s obviously impossible to prepare for every eventuality, unless you’d like to end up with an encyclopaedia rather than a plan.

However, it is possible to develop the internal confidence and capabilities to effectively respond to any type of incident, regardless of whether it’s part of a written plan or not.

Thanks to the exercise, our team was able to get a feel for how they would react to any of those disruptions, giving them a run-through of possibilities before any actual event even occurred. It helped them establish roles, processes and responsibilities, while also giving them an understanding of any limitations or areas of improvement.

As a business, we firmly believe that our team is key to the successful deployment of our business continuity plan. This is why we prepare capable and competent people to be able to respond correctly to any disruption that might affect our customers.

What else are we doing?

We’re glad you asked…

  • We recently launched our revised Business Continuity policy and framework. The policy highlights Gamma’s focus on preparing those areas of the business that support the delivery of key products and services, and without them, there would be a risk to service
  • In May, we celebrated Business Continuity Awareness Week to raise awareness of, and provide training around, BC within the company
  • Gamma has a number of independently audited accreditations, including ISO22301, the internationally recognised standard for Business Continuity Management (BCM). All of our accreditations can be found here