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Case Studies

Below is a collection of case studies, accumulated over the years, of disaster recovery operations we have been directly involved with preparing and deploying.

Wales Recovery Site Case Study

Comic Relief Case Study

Nottinghamshire Case Study

Local Recovery Solution – Wales

Local Recovery Site in Wales and a Great Business Relationship help Adam Continuity Stand out from the Rest…

 

At Wales and West Housing Association (WWHA) Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are taken very seriously. With 9,000 properties to manage and 25,000 people to house it has to be.

 

WWHA was founded in 1965 and is one of the largest housing associations in Wales, providing housing to customers throughout the length and breadth of the country. With over 300 staff, WWHA are committed to providing quality services to their residents and other customers. As part of their commitment to providing a quality service, WWHA have always considered disaster recovery an integral element of their IS facilities.

 

When WWHA came to put their Information Services disaster recovery requirements out to tender in 2006, they were looking for the best supplier to fit their needs.

 

  The success of this relationship is the pragmatic relationship we have with our account managers and the technical support of the Recovery Specialists...

A Recovery Site in Wales

 

WWHA’s previous supplier had offered fixed site recovery in Bristol and Birmingham or in mobile offices in Wales. However, it did not prove practical for the organisation and its staff to recover to Bristol or Birmingham.

 

Recovery needed to be local and fast! If an actual disaster occurred, staff having to commute to Bristol from Cardiff would be a real

strain on the business. WWHA were looking for a supplier who could offer them somewhere geographically close to carry out Disaster Recovery exercises.

Duffryn Site:

 

The Duffryn site is a live site and not just open for exercises, it is available to visit any time. As WWHA explained, other DR companies

can offer local sites in Wales but they are not necessarily ready for use or specialised Disaster Recovery locations. The Adam Continuity site at Duffryn can be expanded as and when required.

 

The site has a separate reception, this is important as people like to have somewhere to meet when they find themselves in a recovery

situation. There is good road signage to the site, again useful in an emergency situation.

 

Over the course of the relationship, WWHA has worked with Adam to improve the infrastructure of the site and this has opened up a lot more options in terms of how they recover. One of the considerations during the recent renewal of the contract was that the Duffryn site is a proven site, which is a big benefit to WWHA.

 

The Importance of Local Support:

 

WWHA comment that some other Disaster Recovery suppliers have gone from ‘dedicated account manager’ support to ‘phone contact

manager’ support to ‘call centre only’ support. Adam Continuity always provides clients with a dedicated account manager.

A Flexible Contract:

 

The WWHA contract is unique; as an organisation, they are aiming for unassisted recovery and Adam Continuity are helping them

achieve this goal. When the initial contract ended. WWHA reviewed

the market and then re-contracted with Adam for a further term.

 

They considered other companies during the review process but felt that whilst offering elements of Disaster Recovery they didn’t bring the whole solution together in the same way as Adam Continuity. Adam Continuity don’t expect WWHA’s IT plans for the next few years to be set in stone and are happy to be flexible with the contract terms to reflect this.

Rehearsal Support:

 

There is always a lot of support from Adam Continuity for WWHA rehearsals. The account manager attends and WWHA comment that Adam Continuity engineers are pro-active in suggesting new ways of doing things and letting them try different methods of recovery. Internal feedback from WWHA users is positive regarding both the premises and the equipment provided.

 

WWHA takes their Disaster Recovery rehearsals very seriously. They offer services to 25,000 people and they don’t want this high quality of service to be disrupted.

Gareth Williams

– Head of Information Systems at WWHA sums up the strength of the relationship between the two organisations:

 

“I am looking forward to working with

Adam Continuity in the future. As we change our technologies and requirements, I am confident that Adam will maintain their capability and, just as importantly, their motivation to support us”.

 

“A local site is a far more realistic proposition for both exercises and recoveries”.

 

“The recovery building looks, and is, secure, which is an important psychological factor in disaster recovery”.

 

“Just by standing still, and retaining a dedicated account manager, Adam Continuity are a few notches above many other suppliers who only want to speak to you through their call centres”.

 

“We haven’t met anyone at Adam we haven’t liked – everyone from Specialists to Directors has proved to be approachable, capable and professional”.

 

 

Nehad Ayoub

- Senior Information

Systems Officer at WWHA says:

 

“I was reluctant to move from our proven supplier, but Adam Continuity’s Duffryn (Ystrad Mynach) site was a big positive benefit for us. Recovery for us has to be far enough away to be safe, but close enough to be practical. The Duffryn site satisfies both these requirements”.

 

“During the tender process, Adam Continuity worked with us. Rather than just submitting a tender, they went the extra mile. I was proved wrong about my concerns. The success of this relationship is the pragmatic relationship we have with our account managers and the technical support of the Recovery Specialists. We have since changed account manager, but the high standards provided have remained consistent -allowing us to organise successful Disaster Recovery rehearsals”.

 

“Adam Continuity engineers listen to us. The bottom line is that we choose how to recover but with support and useful suggestions from Adam Continuity. The Adam Continuity equipment is always a good specification (as good as or better

than contracted configuration). The equipment and site are always in working order and clean… Our users notice things like this. Again, it raises everyone’s confidence”.

 

 

Contact us today to talk about your requirements...

A Funny Kind Of Case Study

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning is No Laughing Matter for Comic Relief...

 

Picture the scene: many long months of planning; top celebrities booked; key fundraising challenges organised; thousands of volunteers all ready for action; millions of pounds to be raised for charity; the world’s media poised to watch your every move… the last thing that you want is any disruption caused by an unforeseen emergency or disaster. For Comic Relief, it’s no laughing matter – and something that the organisation takes seriously in terms of ensuring it has adequate business continuity provision and disaster recovery planning in place for operational IT purposes.

              Comic Relief is a complex and demanding organisation, so we like to deal with suppliers that can get to know us well and fully understand our various needs...

 

Long-standing Relationship

 

Which is why, for the last eight years, Comic Relief has been supported by Adam Continuity, the leading UK provider of business continuity, data resilience and disaster recovery services. For Comic Relief, Adam’s knowledge and expertise goes without question – it is the company’s understanding, empathy and the lack of hard-sell which impresses this long-term client.

 

So far, this year’s Red Nose Day has raised over £78m for Comic Relief. Millions of pounds worth of donations were channelled through the charity’s website during the live TV programme, via 12,000 call-centre staff working from donor companies’ premises throughout the UK. The organisation’s telelogistics team which was based temporarily in London’s BT Tower on the night of Red Nose Day, were responsible for managing and co-ordinating the overall call centre activity and results, liaising with their colleagues at BT and BBC TV Centre.

 

Comic Relief:

 

Every year, to play its part in the overall success of the campaign, as a donation in kind, AdamContinuity supplies and installs all the necessary IT kit required in BT Tower for the telelogistics team. The company initially provides Comic Relief with a suitable desktop PC, which is then configured accordingly for the night. This is shipped back to Adam who utilise it as the base image for the PCs which are subsequently supplied and installed at the Tower on the night, along with other relevant equipment. In addition, Adam Continuity’s technical experts are on hand in BT Tower to assist Comic Relief staff with the installation and configuration of all equipment, prior to the live Red Nose Day TV show being broadcast. Though high-profile, this is just a small part of Adam’s work for Comic Relief, as the main focus of activity surrounds the supply of agreed annual operational disaster recovery provision and business continuity advice, working in conjunction with John Thompson, Comic Relief’s Head of IT.

 

Relying so heavily on IT for its day-to-day operations, Comic Relief needs to have an unshakeable faith in its backup and contingency

plans, in the event that a genuine emergency occurs or a disaster strikes the organisation, particularly at a critical time during a campaign – this is where Adam steps in.

 

Rehearsal Support:

 

To test the systems, Adam Continuity holds regular disaster recovery rehearsals with Comic Relief. Specific rehearsals have therefore been carried out in the past, designed to ensure that various business critical IT systems could be successfully recovered in the event of the organisation experiencing a disruption.

 

The subsequent learning gained from these extremely useful exercises has been used to revise the existing disaster recovery plans where necessary, whilst focussing the organisation’s attention more closely on its wider business continuity requirements.

Continual Development:

 

Adam Continuity has worked closely with Comic Relief over the years as the organisation has grown and its needs have changed, to help continually develop a strategic disaster recovery plan as part of the business continuity process, and to instil awareness within the organisation of the importance of such plans to every department.

 

John Thompson

–– Head of IT at Comic Relief.

 

“IT is central to the whole of Comic Relief’s

internal operations,” says Thompson.

 

“During the run up to Red Nose Day and throughout the campaign itself, staff are working under a lot of pressure and fully functioning IT is pivotal in helping them to perform their duties successfully.”

 

“Everyone at Adam Continuity is easy to get on with, they just have a total understanding of business continuity inside out. I use them to come and talk to us about various aspects of business continuity, what it actually means to us and what we as an organisation need to think about if we had a disaster. It has consequently proved to be a very thought provoking process,”

 

“Given their experience in this field, Adam will always highlight a number of issues during the course of a rehearsal where they can offer us impartial advice or suggestions for potential improvements. They can do this because they have gained a sound understanding of our technical environment and specific recovery requirements. A rehearsal also gives us the opportunity to look at things from our own perspective to see what we might do better in future,”

 

 

“Adam Continuity is very accommodating and has proved to be an excellent sounding-board. Best of all, you can trust them to provide you with expert advice specifically tailored to your own organisation’s business continuity requirements, rather than them simply selling you something that you either don’t need or want. Hand in hand with that goes great value for money. Adam has always provided excellent service at a very good price."

 

Colin Simon

- Business Director at Comic Relief

 

“Comic Relief is a complex and demanding organisation, so we like to deal with suppliers that can get to know us well and fully understand our various needs. It is also important for us to develop long-lasting and meaningful relationships with trusted partners, and ones that can prove mutually beneficial. Adam Continuity is certainly one of these companies.”

Contact us today to talk about your requirements...

Nottinghamshire Councils IT

Disaster Recovery Partnership

The explosion in the demands on local authority IT systems over the past decade, fuelled by the implementation of e-government strategies, was one of the key drivers leading to a model partnership between four district councils in Nottinghamshire.

 

The first task of the partnership between Mansfield District Council, Broxtowe Borough Council, Newark and Sherwood District Council and Gedling Borough Council was to procure and put in place a comprehensive, rapid-reaction disaster recovery service. This had to ensure that the impact of IT failure amongst any of the four local authorities was minimised and that the services they provided were not compromised.

 

WWHA was founded in 1965 and is one of the largest housing associations in Wales, providing housing to customers throughout the length and breadth of the country. With over 300 staff, WWHA are committed to providing quality services to their residents and other customers. As part of their commitment to providing a quality service, WWHA have always considered disaster recovery an integral element of their IS facilities.

 

Together, the four Nottinghamshire councils are responsible for the full range of local authority services to around 180,000 households

comprising a population of over 400,000 people. Reliable IT systems are the cornerstone to providing efficient services and information to the population. A robust disaster recovery strategy and service is the foundation supporting it. That foundation is now Adam Continuity. In 2001 the Government issued a directive for all local authorities to develop an Implementing Electronic Government Statement. This was part of the process in which councils had to reach the target of 100 per cent of services being accessible electronically if possible by 2005.

 

According to Christine Marsh, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Manager at Mansfield council, this increased enormously the reliance on IT systems and the size of her council’s main server population had to double to accommodate these developments.

 

At this stage, early in 2007, Christine started looking around at what was available on the market in terms of disaster recovery and continuity packages. It seemed obvious that neighbouring local authorities, having gone through a similar process with e-government, might be in the same boat as Mansfield. Initially

Mansfield, Broxtowe and Gedling councils worked together to identify their needs and developed a brief, Newark and Sherwood council joined soon after.

 

       Not only has the size increased, but it has become increasingly more complex,” says Christine. “Everything has become linked together with applications linking to other servers. I was aware that what we had in place in terms of disaster recovery was now totally inadequate. It could have taken up to six months to get up and running again if a disaster had happened.

 

                      Adam’s outstanding growth in the public sector in recent years has been due to us appreciating fully that, unlike commercial organisations, councils are more concerned over losing the ability to provide valuable services to the community than measuring loss

of productivity or income. It is important that we understand completely each local authority’s needs and that’s why we place

so much emphasis on early-stage briefings and Q&A sessions.

 

 

               Adam Continuity is on the ball all of the time and keen to keep up a good relationship. They do not just win your contract and run away.

 

 

“We first invited some of the major players in disaster recovery and continuity, including Adam Continuity, to meet with us as we moved to understanding fully what was available and to identifying our priorities,” says Christine. “These meetings helped us develop a tender document. Due to our authorities’ shared experiences, it was not as difficult as we had imagined developing a brief which met all our needs.”

 

Christine drafted the tender document and passed it around her colleagues in the partnering local authorities for approval. All four councils’ procurement and legal departments then became involved. This was time-consuming but, according to Christine, very worthwhile as they now have in place the legal basis for any future joint contracts or tendering between all four councils.

 

Adam Continuity’s Head of New Business, Peter Rotherham was involved with the Nottinghamshire partnership from early on in the briefing process and headed the team preparing their bid.

 

“From the start we recognised that, although it was one contract we were bidding for, essentially we had to provide services which met the needs of all four councils,” explains Peter.

 

Adam Continuity, along with around 30 other companies received the Information to Tender (ITT) documentation from the Nottinghamshire partnership in May 2007. By mid June the company had been short listed down to the last two bidders, including one of the largest IT disaster recovery and business continuity

providers in the world.

 

Adam was awarded the contract. According to Christine Marsh this was because of the combination of Adam’s ability to understand the partnership’s needs, flexibility and price. After terms and conditions were finalised, the contract was due to commence on 1 August 2007.

 

Massive Server Failure The Day Before Contract Start Date

 

As fate would have it, Newark and Sherwood council suffered from a massive server failure on 31 July which wiped out the entire email system. The council’s maintenance team tried to get it going again, but without success. ICT Manager at Newark and Sherwood, Sharon Parkinson, takes up the story...

 

“We started having problems with our email server the day before our contract with Adam Continuity was due to come into effect. Our staff tried all they could do to mend it but it was an old server and couldn’t be fixed.

 

“We contacted Adam on 1 August and told them about our problem. It was wonderful, they agreed to support us despite the fact that the problem had occurred before their contract start date. They arranged for an engineer and a replacement server to come to Newark. This arrived on the same day as we invoked. Then they brought additional engineers and in all we had three of Adam’s staff working through the night for two nights to get the problem resolved. Throughout the whole process Adam’s people were always very professional and friendly. It would have taken an awful lot longer to solve the problem without their support” says Sharon.

 

After hitting the ground running from day one, Adam Continuity then carried out four solution design workshops for the four councils. This was to understand in more detail the councils’ IT infrastructure, backup methodologies and where and how, if needed, Adam would deliver the mobile data centre which formed part of the contract and to explain how the client management

and invocation procedures work.

 

In addition, Adam has run disaster recovery rehearsals, a service which has particularly impressed Kevin Powell Head of ICT and Corporate Services at Broxtowe Borough Council. "The rehearsal carried out at Broxtowe in September 2008 was very successful,” he says.

 

“Adam provided highly competent technical staff who worked along with our own ICT employees and recovered a number of category A systems. These systems were fully tested by service areas to ensure quality of recovery was achieved. Working with our other partners and Adam has resulted in a very effective partnership and places all four councils in a much better position moving forward in terms of disaster recovery.”

 

Adam Continuity’s solution for the Nottinghamshire partnership is based on supporting all four councils IT disaster recovery separate needs via a central pool of equipment that includes 40 Intel servers, 22 tape drives and libraries, a mobile data centre and mobile office. In addition each council can and does rehearse the solution on an annual basis.

 

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