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London 2012 business continuity plans must include protecting information from new risks: Iron Mountain

Confidential company information could be at risk if London-based businesses don’t get their act together in time for the Olympics, warns global information management company Iron Mountain. Disrupted road networks will impact the collection of documents that are securely stored off-site and increased numbers of staff working from home may affect how information is securely accessed and destroyed.

With a recent survey by YouGov revealing that just one in four (23 percent) businesses is fully prepared for the potential disruption of the Olympics, and high profile government-sponsored advertising campaigns focusing squarely on commuter impact, there is a very real danger that organizations might overlook information security, says Iron Mountain.

“After four years of anticipation, the imminent start of the Olympics still seems to come as a surprise to some businesses,” said Peter Eglinton, senior vice president, UK, Norway and Ireland, Iron Mountain. “Preparation, if any, is focusing on how employees may or may not be able to make their way into work. While important, this is far from the only issue companies should be considering. What is going to happen to your information during this time? If you store your documents off-site, how are you going to adapt to a crowded, closed or restricted road network? If your employees are working from home, will they need company documents? All these issues introduce new points of vulnerability and risk into the business.”

Iron Mountain has been working with its customer Aon to integrate information management into Aon’s comprehensive business continuity plan for London 2012:

“We have spent the last six months preparing for the Olympics, right down to what to do about water cooler resupplies,” explained Fola Onabule, head of business continuity and disaster recovery, EMEA/UK, Aon. “For a customer-focused business dealing with substantial volumes of sensitive, paper-based information, getting a resilient yet responsive information management plan in place was a priority. During the Olympic period, many more of our employees will be working from home or from satellite offices around the country, and we need to ensure they can retrieve and process the information they need. At the same time, we need to ensure that the ‘chain of custody’ for each document is never compromised.”

Iron Mountain and Aon have together prepared a list of top tips for efficient business information handling during the Olympic period:

1. Assess your needs: You need to keep operations going, but also to keep information secure. If your business is heavily reliant on records and this information needs to stay within the security of the office, think about temporary role reallocation so that processes are managed by people who either live close to the office or who can work from secure satellite sites such as a regional office.

2. Get people moving: Introduce remote and flexible working options for employees, and ensure they are equipped with and proficient in using appropriate and secure IT equipment. It is worth bearing in mind that remote workers will need a suitable broadband connection, and Olympic organisers have warned that internet bandwidth capacity and mobile networks are likely to be overstretched during the Games.

3. Understand the risks: Ensure records are always signed for on delivery and collection. Don’t let confidential records walk out of the office in the bags of workers. Should you run out of options and choose to temporarily store records on site, make sure they are secure and not a potential data breach or fire hazard.

4. Become nocturnal: Some suppliers have adapted their business operations to offer clients an out-of-hours collection service. Factor in the need to leave items to be collected with authorised personnel.

5. Learn from the ones in lycra: Speed, agility and responsiveness will be essential business attributes during the Games. Whether your workforce is having to adapt to stressful journeys, revised remits or unexpected process changes, keeping everyone involved, motivated and flexible should be a priority for senior management.

6. If all else fails, make sure you’re covered: Let your business insurers know about the temporary changes you have made to your business and share your business continuity plan with them.


•Date: 27th June 2012 • UK •Type: Article • Topic: London 2012 business continuity

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