The threat of parked cars to SMEs

One of the pleasures in writing for Computer Weekly, and yes there are many to choose, from, is the sheer unbridled optimism of the business continuity community. (And yes there is one; we’re all in a community of one sort or another these days even if you didn’t already know it.


 The BC market is just never ending joy and press releases follow a certain format where you are presented with a scenario of earth shattering doom that threatens all of the hard work that you’ve done just to keep the business up and running. Bit like reading the Daily Mail really.


However, BC firms are much smarter than that: once you’re frightened out of your skin up, comes the white knight on his charger, usually in the form of a very reliable server or a rather complex managed service contract. This does show the evolution of BC which back in the day was called disaster recover but, as all BC firms will tell you, there’s more to BC than disaster recovery.

Now the latest in the series of apocalyptic threats arrives from IT managed support service firm Managed Networks who has identified a new threat that firms, especially SMEs, should look out for.


Not only should you watch the skies for asteroids, snow and rain; watch the horizon for floods; be on ever alert of fire, Managed Networks is advising to stay alert for gas leaks and the dread of parked cars. Yes, the humble Astra in a bay can be just as deadly to ops as an asteroid on an earth-bound trajectory.


 Nigel Davey of Managed Networks gets under the bonnet. “‘We’ve known cases where an ADSL connection has been off-line for over a week because of something as silly as a parked car. In one recent case in central London engineers were unable to repair a cable for a week because a vehicle had been parked over the access point and the owners were away on holiday.  They had parked perfectly legally so there was absolutely nothing that could be done.  For a company totally reliant on being on-line – without an alternative option this could have been disastrous.”


And in fairness to Nigel, he continued to make a rather good point about just how vital a net connection has become especially for SMEs who don’t have the capability for large mirror sites, nor the ability to shift badly parked cars it would seem.


“Many service-based companies spend considerable amounts of money tendering for business based on their ability to offer outstanding client service. Email is a key factor in distributing information quickly yet very few companies have a contingency in place if their internet goes down…yet how many companies have a back up ADSL service or have a SLA-backed service guarantee in place?… Investment in prevention is a not a large sum – especially relative to any losses lack of email could cost you,” he added.


And especially when, says Managed Networks, it costs the average, 20-person SME £3000 a week simply to exist. Worth the peace of mind? That once in a lifetime hit will come once, sometime.  Keep watching the skies. And the car park.