|ATMAN: a backup office does its job in a crisis|
Backup office services are increasingly being used by smaller customers
ATMAN, telecommunications operator and leader in the Polish data center market, has conducted its first deployment of a backup office in connection with an actual emergency at a customers main office. At the request of a firm in the financial sector, the operator made available a full working environment with 30 positions. Over the past six months close to one-half of Polish businesses have experienced problems with the conduct of their current operations due to interruptions to the power supply or access to the Internet.
Banks, stockbrokers, insurance companies until recently the main customers for backup office services were those firms that are subject to a legal obligation to have emergency procedures in place. The first production deployment of a backup office, however, was carried out by ATMAN not for an international corporation, but for a medium-sized company. After 8 p.m. on Sunday we received a request to prepare a backup office with positions for 30 people, with broadband Internet access and a telephone network, says Ewelina Hryszkiewicz, product manager at ATM S.A.
In accordance with the established procedure, within less than four hours staff had configured an Internet and phone network, enabled data transmission, and provided office positions with PCs containing the customers required software and with access to peripheral devices and the like. Before midnight, the customer was able to make use of a fully equipped backup office at the newly opened office building on the ATMAN Data Center site in Warsaws Praga district. On Monday morning, when they arrived at the new office, employees had access not only to their mailboxes, but also to software that had been specified by the customer and previously installed, explains Ewelina Hryszkiewicz.
Backup Office is a service involving the re-creation and making available of a full working environment in case of unavailability of a companys building or lack of power supply or Internet access. Although ATMAN currently provides the service for more than 30 firms, to date customers had used the backup office only for the testing of crisis procedures and for staff training. According to Jacek Krupa, Vice President of ATM S.A., changes are now taking place not only in what customers expect of the service, but also in the type of customers. At present we are providing the service to customers which may need more than 100 working positions, or may just need several. This is a significant change, as backup offices have until recently chiefly been associated with large enterprises. Today, more and more commonly, every minute without access to infrastructure and the ability to provide services to customers means concrete financial losses, and so the service is being bought by firms in the contact center and e-commerce sectors, as well as by medical centers, explains Jacek Krupa.
Everything seems to indicate that interest in backup office services will continue to grow, as outages are an everyday occurrence that causes problems for one in every two businesses in Poland, regardless of their size or the sector in which they operate. As many as 52% of managers surveyed by ATMAN admitted that in the past six months their companies had experienced interruptions to Internet access and the power supply. Interestingly, as many as 41% of the firms surveyed by us admitted that lack of access to the Internet or power supply had led to a restricted level of operations or their complete suspension. This indicates the importance of the problem, and at the same time explains why services which until recently were associated with large businesses are being sought by smaller and smaller firms, Jacek Krupa analyzes.
At present, ATMAN has approximately 3000 square meters of space designated for backup offices. As standard, the service provides working positions with desks equipped with PCs connected in a local network, uninterruptible power supply, telephones with external and internal numbers, and access to printers, faxes and photocopiers and to social facilities (bathrooms and kitchens). The buildings in which the offices are situated are protected both by physical security and by a system of access control and recording. Parking places are also available.
Access to the customers data and software is now provided using the latest technologies offered by Microsoft dedicated virtual Microsoft Windows desktops. The new model for the provision of the Backup Office service was introduced only recently, following the signing in September of this year of a strategic agreement with the Redmond-based corporation and entry to the Microsoft Cloud OS Network program. Advantages of this solution include the possibility of starting up preconfigured working positions dynamically at any location, and of making rapid software updates on many computers simultaneously.