Business Continuity International`s facility evaluation provides a professional, unbiased assessment of your
data center operating environment and associated support systems. The facility
evaluation covers all aspects of the design, construction, maintenance, and
operation of the facility. Our evaluation will help reduce the risks of a
prolonged outage of data processing services.
Physical Planning and Construction
The environment housing critical computer and communications equipment is
reviewed to identify potential hazards that may adversely affect ongoing
operations. Associated electrical and mechanical support equipment rooms and
areas are also included in this portion of the review.
The facility power, air conditioning, ventilation, and plumbing
systems, which support data processing and other critical operations, are
reviewed. Emphasis is placed on the mechanical systems’ design and
installation for the adequacy, redundancy, and reliability to sustain continuous
Electrical Distribution Systems
The electrical systems serving the data center and other critical areas are
reviewed to determine potential single points of failure that may affect ongoing
operations. Capacities of equipment are also evaluated to determine the adequacy
for accommodating future growth requirements.
Fire Protection Systems
The facility fire detection, alarm, and suppression systems are reviewed. The
effectiveness of the overall systems is reviewed together with maintenance,
personnel training, and responsive actions.
The Facility Evaluation
Identifies potential failure modes and threats to critical operating
Determines whether support systems can be maintained and serviced without
interfering with the normal operations of critical computer and
Determines physical requirements for computer and communications growth
and equipment upgrades.
Provides recommendations for facility corrective actions that complement
disaster recovery programs.
Provides conceptual planning and development of construction budgets to
minimize existing single points of failure.
At the completion of the evaluation, we prepare a formal report and review.
Budgetary costs for the recommendations are also developed. The report provides
the client with a better understanding of conditions or events that could
potentially disrupt operations and identifies limitations of the facility and
support systems that could impede future growth.
Implementation of the recommendations for enhancements or modifications to
the facility will result in a more secure and reliable operating environment.
Continuity International can provide you with a full building assessment on and
not limited to the following:
including: alarm systems, biometrics, CCTV, Smart Card Access control
and Electrical Including: VESDA, Gensets, UPS, Water Detection, Air Con
Security Including: Guards, Smart Card Access Control, Biometrics
Control is about staying in business, no matter what. Have you done what you can
do to your facilities to improve your chances for uninterrupted operations?
has long looked at automatic sprinkler protection as the baseline for limiting
fire in facilities. Fire is still the biggest headache in industrial loss
prevention. If management wants to limit the size of a fire where combustible
construction or combustible occupancy exists, sprinklers should be provided.
This isn’t cheap, and the design of the system must be correct or the money
may as well be thrown away.
Where sprinklers exist, they control 96% of all industrial fires! In
the event of a fire, the statistics weigh heavily in favor of sprinklers. The 4%
that aren’t controlled can always be traced back to poor practices, such as
improper design or poor maintenance. Sprinklers work – their track record is
impeccable. But are they for everyone? Maybe not; the cost of the installation
has to be weighed against the benefits. Some points to consider:
- Sprinklers save lives; how much consideration should this be given?
How important are the operations in the areas to be
How long will it take to get a return on the investment?
- Where will this ‘return on investment’ come from?
Insurance premium reductions? Tax reductions?
- Will this affect the resale value of the property?
have sprinklers work properly, there also must be an adequate water supply. This
could be a connection to a public water system, or a private installation
involving pumps and static supplies. The amount of water needed is based on the
design of the sprinkler systems, which will be based
on the hazards in the facility.
construction of the facility must match the operations within. In an existing
structure, there may not be much that can be done in this area. However,
building construction can be used to segregate values, and reduce exposures to
loss from one area to another. In new structures, this can be built in; in
existing facilities, it can be added.
Will smoke or heat destroy the building or its contents? If so,
maybe fire barriers are in order. A good rule of thumb is to always divide the
warehousing areas from the manufacturing facilities using firewalls or barriers.
If the warehouse burns down, the plant can still manufacture; if the
manufacturing operation is damaged, the company can still sell out of the
warehouse; if they’re both gone….
nobody is on the site, (weekends or holidays?) the idle facility may become a
concern. Are there extremely sensitive operations or materials to worry about?
Must all areas be "watched"? Alarm systems and security personnel are
an extension of management–the eyes and ears of those not there. Any
surveillance system must be made to fit the property; one size does not fit all.
An alarm system that signals when the sprinkler system activates
may be enough. It depends on the operations, the value of the place, and the
comfort level management wants to achieve. Undetected idle plant incidents are
always bigger; a problem in a facility without surveillance always has a head
start—and a potentially lethal one.
Many industrial facilities contain operations that are
extremely hazardous. As such, "ordinary" sprinkler protection or the
building’s construction features may not be enough to contain a problem, such
as an explosion. Management should consider conducting a good risk and hazard
analysis. Problems can be identified; special hazards protection needs and
solutions can be evaluated. There are many ways to conduct hazard and risk
analysis—again using computerized programs. It can be as simple as asking
operations people "What if…?" Or it may involve a probability-based
program, spelling out the "chances" that something may happen. There
are also consultants with expertise in this field. Management gets to decide how
deeply this gets examined, and which tools to use. Once again, management’s
commitment is imperative.
Industry is private, and many times the public responders are only
capable of protecting the public from industrial accidents. There are many
instances where the public responders have not gone onto industrial property
because they were not properly prepared. And in some cases, management would
rather have the public fire service stay outside the property during an
incident. Each individual site will be different; knowing the differences takes
communications with all responders involved. Have you had a face-to-face meeting
with the local responders in your area to discuss possible incidents?
the fire department responded to a fire in a plant and said they wouldn’t
fight the fire
because they didn’t know how to handle the
chemicals that may be burning. And there is nobody on the site trained to fight
the fire either; no in-house fire brigade, and the hazardous materials team
isn’t trained to handle burning hazardous materials. (A hazmat team may be
prepared to handle spills, but what about fires with hazardous materials?) What
happens? Everyone looks at each other while the place goes up in smoke and the
hazardous materials create a disaster. This has happened in the past, and it
will happen again. What is your management’s level of commitment?
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK !
the components of protection are in place, they must be maintained. This is
where management’s commitment will be most obvious. Most people won’t spend
money to buy something that isn’t maintained. If plans and programs for loss
prevention are in place and properly maintained, a potentially disastrous
situation can remain small and manageable. When the plans and programs aren’t
complete, or they have not been maintained, the situation escalates. Management
must plan for the unthinkable. If the plans are in place and well thought out,
the unthinkable might never occur.
Again, there are many tools to help in this area; the two most
important being training and software programs. The training is available all
over the world, and today it can be customized to fit. Insurance companies,
contractors and consultants have programs to train people on all types of loss
prevention equipment and procedures. Business continuity and disaster recovery
experts are valuable in this area. The computer with specialized software makes
scheduling simple. Programs are available for everything encountered in loss
prevention maintenance and testing, business continuity planning and disaster
in mind that management also has the choice to do nothing. "It won’t
happen to us." Many people view this as a viable alternative. Every choice
has consequences, some of which are not nearly as pleasant as others. Everyone
can choose how far to go. There is no secret formula to keeping a building
standing, avoiding disaster or keeping the business operating. The principles
are there, and have been for 150 years. Loss prevention and control is the best
way to achieve business continuity make sure that the disaster never occurs,
and if it does, it stays small.