Last month BA suffered an ‘IT problem’ that caused chaos around the world and resulted in flights being grounded.

Depending on who you believe, the fallout is expected to cost BA between £80 and £100 million. Again, depending on who you believe, the problem was caused by a power outage.

It is quite staggering that this could happen at a company the size of BA with the resources that they have access to. If power went down at the datacentre normally you would expect backup power supplies to take over – datacentres are prepared for power failures and usually have backup generators and battery systems.

Let’s looks at a couple of points we should consider around this event.

The Business Continuity Plan

To start with, BA’s business continuity plan, assuming there was one for this type of event, clearly did not work effectively.  There are rumours that key personnel named in the plan no longer working in the company due to offshoring its IT or that the original stakeholders simply did not handover the plan to the new IT providers as their jobs became redundant.

Either way, it is a lesson to us all about the necessity to have a business continuity plan that works, is up to date and understood by all stakeholders and staff.

Data backup and recovery

It is entirely possible that the power outage corrupted data and they had to restore from backups. If this was the case, then that clearly didn’t work and suggests that they weren’t able to restore data to the current time. If this was not the case, the backup IT systems did not take over effectively.

Either way there was a long period of outage and the contingency arrangements were not appropriate for an organisation of this size and stature.

The lesson here – ensure you have properly risk assessed your business and built the appropriate levels of resilience into your IT.

And any company that takes themselves seriously, regardless of size, should have periodic Disaster Recovery tests.

Our workshops

If you would like to know how to assess risk and create a Business Continuity Plan to protect your business, join one of our workshops in London or Guildford.