How we delivered Business Continuity, in unusual circumstances

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Blue Chip Blog
18 May 2020
How we delivered Business Continuity, in unusual circumstances

Some Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are having difficulty in providing IT infrastructure to their customers as the nation remains under lockdown. This contrasts with Blue Chip. We own a Tier 4 by design data centre and many other facilities, which means we’re standing firm in these unusual times.

“What we're delivering is the same as we would deliver normally, anyway” explains Blue Chip’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Chris Smith, with a firm degree of confidence. Across the business landscape, we have a strong reputation in looking after our customers, with a highly personalised service. These unprecedented times have showcased our strengths in business continuity.

“It's just we've been able to do that from the comfort of our own homes, rather than having to be in the data centre. We own the data centres, it's our staff, it's our equipment, we're able to do far, far more than anyone using a third-party data centre. We're able to ensure this degree of business continuity, with the access required to make it happen. Everything is in our control. That's what's enabled us to perform as we have for the last seven weeks.”

At this point, the UK has been in lockdown for over a month due to the worldwide pandemic, yet we have provided IT infrastructure for our 700-strong roster of customers, with virtually no disruption.

It’s been a challenging period for industries of all types, yet the dedication to continuity tests have been in place for years and meant we are very well-positioned to provide ‘business as usual’ across a vast and diverse portfolio.

Business continuity is the essence of Blue Chip

“Our colleagues will do anything they possibly can to ensure that there's no impact to our customers when something happens” explains Derek Waterman, our Chief Compliance Officer.

“We're proud to say we employ around 230 people with that mind-set. We are always learning and looking for further ways to improve. That's our approach and I think customers like that when they talk to us, because we are very honest and transparent. We don’t just try to impress with words, but actions.”

Re-investment has been crucial in getting Blue Chip to this stage. A significant amount of profit is placed into improving our solutions and technology, ensuring we can ‘punch above its weight’ in the Managed Service Provider (MSP) marketplace.

Skills and training have not just helped staff, it’s also been vital to attaining international certifications:

  • ISO 27001:2013 for Information Security
    Covering risk management, governance and supplier management across all sites and services, using 113 controls since 2007.
     
  • ISO 9001:2015 for Quality Management
    As a customer-centric business, Blue Chip’s Quality Management System (QMS) helps organise and improve internal processes, which, in turn, provides customers with an outstanding service.
     
  • ISO 14001:2015 for Environmental Management
    Green IT is a big focus. Day-to-day operations have become highly sustainable since this standard was awarded in 2007 and we have worked to minimise our carbon footprint by partnering with the Forest Of Marston Vale on ecological projects.
     
  • ISO 22301:2012 for Business Continuity Management
    Essential for business continuity, this accreditation is awarded due to Blue Chip’s extensive efforts in recognising threats to operations, such as extreme weather, Denial of Access, pandemic or an IT outage.
     
  • SOC2 Service Organisational Controls
    Issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), our company is assessed annually by independent external auditors across almost all operations. SOC2 has been awarded for fully meeting with the Trust Services Criteria for security and availability.
     
  • PCI DSS Level 1
    The highest level that can be attained, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is seen as the gold standard in IT security controls, which means Blue Chip must undergo 430 highly technical and comprehensive security tests.

Derek Waterman is clearly passionate about our culture and values. The investment has galvanised Blue Chip’s reputation in these challenging times.

“Only a few months ago, we reviewed and updated our Business Impact Analysis (BIA), where a function’s purpose, dependencies and key resources are assessed. Before lockdown was put into place, we identified any at-risk colleagues so we could take all steps possible to protect them whilst ensuring we could continue to deliver services for our customers.”

Ready and steady

The readiness for lockdown and other unprecedented events has long been in Blue Chip’s DNA. Established disciplines have always ensured the services provider can adapt to unusual situations.

“We did conduct a Denial of Access continuity test at the end of last year,” explains Derek Waterman. “Again, that put us in a good place, with lessons learned from that exercise. We’ve long established a practice where all colleagues take company laptops home every evening so they're ready to work remotely at the drop of a hat should need be.”

“We've not had any impact to customers and are continuing to deliver services to all customers. We are issuing periodic external statements to confirm our position and that we are adhering to government advice as well as having ongoing conversations with some customers, where more information is requested. For Blue Chip, compliance and standards are more than just a tick-box exercise.

“I believe the biggest thing that makes the difference is people” says Derek. “You can have all the technology but if the people in the organisation do not have the right understanding, mind-set and expectations then the organisation will not be so effective. Although good organisations will generally be adopting best practice methodologies, adopting a framework such as an ISO certification with mandatory elements that need to be covered. That ensures elements are not missed or side-lined, as they are needed to maintain certification. For me, the clever part of adopting a framework is implementing it in a way that suits and adds value to your organisation.”

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This article was written by Peter Thomas.

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