Preparing for Disaster

May 4, 2017 rachel.browne


Work anywhere capabilities of Office 365

Despite moving away from being an agrarian economy over the past two centuries, Britain is still a country that can be affected dramatically by the weather. Then there are other factors to consider, like fire, theft or negligence that threaten your organisation. For business both large and small, the impact of a system outage or data loss event can be severe.

Take weather for example. From heavy snow, to April showers that become May flooding, weather extremes can knock a business off-line – sometimes for several days.

The snowfall that blanketed the UK in 2013 was hugely damaging to Britain’s small and medium-sized firms. Affected businesses reported average losses of £52,770 because staff were unable to get to work. We all know that bad weather happens quite regularly, yet only 63% of businesses have measures in place that will allow them to get back up-and-running quickly when a disruptive event occurs.

Similar costs and problems can be attributed to non-weather related outages and disasters. Which means that your business may be at risk from a number of angles - simply by loss of access to your data.

Disaster Recovery – more than a “nice to have”

These preparations for bringing operations back online – known as “disaster recovery plans” – are vital. By drawing up a strategy, your business is well-prepared to weather any kind of storm - meteorological or otherwise - to minimise the disruption and cost of an outage.

Thinking beyond head office

The most common disaster recovery planning scenario is to define what happens when your head office is inaccessible. If your team cannot get into the building, what happens next?

For many businesses, the design of their IT systems can cause a big problem because without access, you can’t do anything. So the first step towards disaster-proofing your business is to find a way to make those applications and data available from outside the office – that way your systems are protected against local disasters and your employees can easily work from home if required.

Office 365 – your office outside the office

For most medium-sized businesses, operations rely on a handful of key systems: email, phone and the tools required to create and edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Adopting Microsoft Office 365 can make them all available in the Cloud.

A hosted Outlook email service allows your team to send and receive emails as normal – even if your office block has been razed to the ground for instance. And using OneDrive, crucial data is copied across several Microsoft data centres, keeping it safe from loss and ensuring it is always available to you no matter where you are.

With Skype for Business, you can even take your office phone with you. The Skype app can be used to make and receive calls, share your desktop and present anywhere in the world – and your clients probably won’t even notice the difference.

And if you’re worried that having your team working from home means that they will be unable to work together effectively - don’t. Office 365 provides native collaboration tools, enables employees to work together on the same document, at the same time. These same tools allow them to instantly communicate thoughts and ideas, as easily as if they were sitting right next to each other.

Office 365 is not set in stone - it’s a productivity suite undergoing constant development to meet the changing demands of the modern business. Microsoft is constantly adding new tools and features that help organisations adapt to the always-on, connected marketplace, and to take advantage of it. And it’s packed with safeguards that protect your business against data loss and disaster.

Snow and floods are not the only threats to your business
Although most disaster recovery plans are designed to counter major incidents, they can be called upon for a number of other reasons. In fact, 94% of businesses invoking disaster recovery plans do so because of IT reasons, rather than a dramatic incident like flood or fire. With this is mind, your business should be looking at creating robust disaster recovery plans now – your next outage may arrive much sooner than the Spring rains.

Office 365 is not just about preparing for disaster either. Using these Cloud-hosted tools you can change the way your business works, allowing you to offer flexible working provisions, or simplifying arrangements such as maternity cover and adhoc requests.

In an age where weather seems to be getting more extreme,, your business must act to protect its data, the value of which is also increasing. If you do not begin to address these external challenges soon, your business will be at significant disadvantage to those competitors who do. Office 365 could be the tool your business needs to protect against disaster and revolutionise the way you work.


  • 37% of businesses are unprepared for IT outages
  • Snow closures cost affected businesses an average of £52k each in 2013
  • Office 365 allows your team to work from home in an emergency
  • Data, communications and tools are all available 24x7, so you can work any place, any time
  • Office 365 can also improve the way your team works together

Explore Working Anywhere in action:

See how Office 365 has transformed day-to-day operation at Volo - the ecommerce specialists.


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