What you can learn from the British Airways Standstill

June 5, 2017

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, British Airways left 75,000 travelers stranded. After a “power surge” which collapsed their IT systems, their flight, baggage, and customer communication systems were completely down. It brought their entire global fleet to a standstill. All because of an IT issue.

How could a power surge bring an entire airline to a grinding halt? Experts are saying the IT mistake made is a common one.

British Airways has been struggling with legacy technology and did not have a strong continuity plan in place. Legacy technology presents many complications, including security concerns. Legacy technology is expensive to maintain, clunky, and unreliable. Many small businesses can sympathize. And like many small businesses, British Airways wants to modernize their fleet to prevent these types of issues, but up until last weekend, it didn’t make financial sense to them.

How long could you stay up with a power failure? What would you lose while you are down? If you already have a continuity plan in place, these are questions you’ve asked yourself. If not, it might be time to learn a lesson in continuity planning from a major global airline.

According to Contingency Planning and Management Magazine, 40% of companies that experience a small disaster, such as a fire, burst pipes, power outages, or corrupt data, that shut down for three or more days, failed within the next 36 months. Would a small disaster put your business out of commission for three or more days? Is that a risk you are willing to take? Don’t let an unplanned disaster be the beginning of the end for your business.

To estimate what an outage could cost you, check out our recovery calculator.

With a business continuity plan in place, you can plan to have fast and reliable backup, replication, and restoration of your organization’s critical data to keep you in business. That means a power surge or other event won’t keep you from doing business. Restore all your data or just a single file, if necessary, through your continuity plan. Your workloads on virtual machines, physical servers, and cloud storage will all be backed up at intervals that make sense for your business. As many as 288 block-level snapshots can be taken a day to provide the recovery points you need.

If you plan for the worst, and meet any kind of unplanned disaster with a ready continuity plan, you won’t have to suffer the crippling effects prolonged downtime can bring. Legacy technology can pose issues, but in many cases, an IT consultant will be able to help you plan how to faze your legacy equipment out while staying within your IT budget. Don’t put your plan off until you think it makes sense, learn from British Airways. Unplanned disasters can happen, and often at the worst times.



Photo credit: https://www.sa-airlines.co.za/British-Airways-South-Africa.html