It is a strange thing to describe a fire as an opportunity, but indirectly it has been an opportunity to test whether we were prepared for it. Obviously, I would prefer that we did not have to test the theory.
Let me start from the beginning. In the early hours of Saturday 22nd October I was called out to go to the office because the burglar alarm had gone off. My immediate thought was, blasted spiders crawling over the sensors have set off the alarm again. You might have noticed from this that this has happened before. As I turned the corner and the office came into view I was horrified to see that all the windows were open and that smoke was billowing out of them. I then noticed that smoke was billowing from the downstairs premises. To cut a long story short, there was a fire downstairs and we had smoke damage. The insurance got involved and dealt with the issue of equipment pretty quickly, but the offices would take a bit longer in sorting out.
The first preparation test – I have known Steve Coburn, MD of Projectfive a local IT support company, for a long while. In all that time we had discussed about doing business together, but up and until the fire we had not. Without a second thought Steve and his team at Projectfive, supported and guided us so that what was a drama did not turn into a crisis. A big thank you to Steve, Andy, Damien, Sarah, and Hazel.
The second preparation test - We had a disaster recovery plan and we had backups of all our key systems, so we were prepared. However, we learnt a valuable lesson and that was backup is one thing but restore is the ultimate. We did not have any machines, including tape drives, and we did not allow for that. Quickly we found a tape drive to read our tapes and we were able to get our servers up and running. My advice to all, think about how you will get access to your data as quickly as possible. DO NOT comfort yourselves that you have backups of your systems and that you have done what is required of you.
The third preparation test – Lastly, thank you to all our clients and suppliers who offered us temporary premises to operate from. We have spent the last 18 years, from when Nomis was formed, working at our relationships, both at a business and personal level, and it proved that all the effort was well worth it. Obviously the objective in nurturing relationships is to develop the business, but you never know when the relationships are going to become invaluable.
All that preparation has given us the opportunity to continue with our business. You could say we are lucky.