The worst case scenario

Whenever I start working for a new client, I always ask them one thing. A simple, little question I didn’t know it could be so important.

I had recently started working with this client and was eager to get back into routine after the New Year break. I turned on my laptop and tried to access BPC. Neither production or development were not responding. Wondering if the server could be switched off, I contacted one of the client’s users and ended up having one of the weirdest conversations of my life.

– Yes, can you believe it? The server has burned down –she said.
– What do you mean it has burned down? Not literally, right? – I responded.
– Well, they opened a ticket the other day… They are sending new hard drives to the servers.

I think my heart stopped right there and a thought crossed my mind “happy New Year”.

Most of the client’s users were on holidays, unaware of what had happened but the monthly closing was a few days away and no one would be able to input data in the system when they returned. What are the chances of two different servers burning down? How much had we lost and how could we recover it? The development environment kept security copies but it had also been shot down in combat.

 ” Life teach us we have to be ready for the unexpected ”

Luckily for us was that this version needed two servers for each environment, one kept the data and the other one kept the reports. We had lost the servers containing the reports but we had an external three-month old back-up copy.

I learnt a big lesson that day. If a physical server burns down, all virtual servers hosted in that physical server disappear. Now even with my Computer Bachelor had this possibility crossed my mind, I was shocked.

For the client, returning to their day-to-day was costly as user accesses were lost worldwide and many of their tools were affected. 24/7 support teams were put in place to cope with the aftermath.

Life teach us we have to be ready to the unexpected, the most important thing is remain calm and proffessional and, when everything is over, think about what you could next time to avoid a similar situation.

So what was the little question that helped me support my client during such a crisis? It was this:

“What is the protocol to follow, in a hypothetical crisis situation like… the servers burn down?” It is critical to know who to contact in the worst case scenario.

In my next entry, I will talk about five vital points to keep in mind when preparing for unexpected incidents that can be truly devastating for any company if no proper COB policies are in place.

Until then, stay savvy with the latest news by following Cobaltaire.