Mobile Business Continuity Office

Few days ago, a big container took up five parking lots 🙁

Green and White Container

An impact that was further exacerbated by an advance warning from an internal circular saying that we have to park in the field (luckily not rainy season) tomorrow. Why?

SCS Business Continuity Management for the Financial Services Industry

Alas, it’s an exclusive event by invitation only (so don’t bother). No wonder one box will do. Looking at the agenda, looks like it’s one big gig by Tew Kiat, who has been running this Business Continuity thing for as long as I knew him.

But I want to get into the container to see! I wonder what is inside. Yesterday, there were two independent conversations about this with some other colleagues, and it goes like this:

A: Wah this box damn big sia…

B: Where got big?

A: Hey you know how many servers you can load into it or not?

B: Aikjeoh… not servers la PEOPLE! I think there are probably dumb terminals inside.

A was thinking about those Sun stackable data centers that can be loaded onto a container ship and moved elsewhere. Schwartz’s blog asks very interesting questions:

What does the CIO in midtown Manhattan do when she runs out of roof space or power? How does an aid agency deliver basic connectivity to 5,000 relief workers in a tsunami stricken metropolis? What does an oil company do when they want to move high performance analytics onto an offshore platform or supertanker? Or a large web services company do when they want to cookie cutter their infrastructure next to a hyrdroelectric plant for cheap power – within weeks, not years?

B was thinking about a movable staff, i.e. office space that can be used for front line staff, e.g. customer service hot-line for businesses when their premises are defunct. I was actually thinking of scenario by B too, knowing that SCS runs the very same thing over in Synergy already. But the thing looks like a CONTAINER!

So out of curiosity, I went to peek.

And B was right.

There’s one door with pin / card access, 2 air-conds, one Long table with 8 chairs, 8 PCs all with flat screen displays (can’t see any brand names as the box was locked), 2 windows with the blinds down, one mobile toilet (what a complimentary product!) and one power generator.

What I couldn’t figure out is how the connectivity part happens. Wireless@SG? What if THAT is dead?

It is still very weird to me that this is in a container box. Are we loading them on a ship? The general paranoia in Singapore is that Malaysia is going to attack them, after experiencing the same thing during WWII, where all the guns are pointing at the wrong direction. So, to escape they must to go by the sea…

The second conversation:

C: Alamak, there’s already not enough parking in SCS, this one box took up 5 lots, no wait, 6 including the generator!

D: Yalor, why can’t they put it on the field?

C: Or take up CEO’s parking lot la, better publicity what, then can access wireless from office compound.

D: And bath and make coffee in the pantry.

This Singapore concept of a Business Continuity is really weird sometimes, at least to me. I have help drafted one plan before for a previous project where, should the Central Business District (CBD) area have any no 3 no 4 (e.g. kena bombed by terrorist la, kena earthquake or tsunami la, kena pandemic flu la etc.) then these same staff will instead come to work in SCS premises, which is in Bedok and Jurong.

Let’s see:

  • Terrorism: if a building kena bombed, the country is probably going on high alert, half the employees of the unfortunate company will be called back to arms, the rest (females) will be either half dead as part of the catastrophic act, or fleeing the country, etc.
  • Tsunami: All offices that can pay for this service are above ground level la. They will be able to continue operations in their premises right? no?
  • Flu: You want to bring these potentially contagious people into SCS compound!?!?

Okay I know I’m joking, there’s a need obviously, but I don’t see why businesses should react this way, instead of off-shoring these backup services, e.g. enable an Indian or Chinese office in the case of a disaster. Oh wait, Singapore companies have not figured out how to do that yet. Or have they? Or is it that they are worried that Taiwan kena earthquake again so everything have to be self-sufficient?

Alright – enough of me. Speak up and leave a comment :mrgreen:

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2 Responses

  1. where got chim 🙂

    Updates: Newspaper article is out liao! Here’s the news release for those with no access to BT.

    NEWS RELEASE

    SINGAPORE COMPUTER SYSTEMS UNVEILS ASIA-PACIFIC’S FIRST MOBILE BUSINESS CONTINUITY OFFICE IN A SHIPPING CONTAINER

    Singapore, February 12, 2007 – Main Board-listed Singapore Computer Systems Limited (SCS), a leading information and communications technology service provider in Asia, unveils today Asia-Pacific’s first innovative mobile business continuity office (iMobicon), a portable business continuity office housed within a standard stackable shipping container.

    iMobicon contains workstations for up to ten persons and is equipped with its own mobile toilet and diesel generator. In the event of a power outage, the diesel generator will kick in to provide power for iMobicon to continue operations. iMobicon can be mounted on a trailer and moved anywhere on the island according to the organisation’s business continuity plan. Although there are portable data centers and mobile offices housed within trucks in some parts of the world, this mobile business continuity office within a container, with full business continuity facilities, is the first-of-its-kind.

    SCS’ President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tan Tong Hai said, “iMobicon revolutionizes the concept of business continuity by giving organizations the flexibility of bringing their business continuity facilities anywhere, at anytime. No longer is business continuity constrained to traditional business continuity sites within physical buildings. iMobicon is especially useful in the event of a pandemic outbreak, as businesses can relocate their staff into these self-contained offices, which will minimize the spread of the virus.”

    Commenting on the technology and security features of iMobicon, Mr Wong Tew Kiat, Senior Manager, Business Continuity, said, “iMobicon is connected to the internet via a wireless link and is able to tap onto Wi-Fi networks. Physical and network security is our top priority, and we have implemented state-of-the-art security features and monitoring tools in iMobicon to ensure that security is not compromised.”

    “IDA congratulates SCS on developing the first-of-its-kind mobile business continuity office. For a local company to have such an achievement is indeed something that Singapore can be proud of. Not only will this contribute to Singapore’s position as a trusted hub for business continuity and disaster recovery activities, it is also a testimony of Singapore’s infocomm capability,” said Ms Tham Ai Chyn, Assistant Chief Executive (Industry & Cluster Development), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.

    Having SCS as your trusted business continuity partner will give you the assurance that your business continuity facility has been proven and tested. SCS will conduct regular peacetime drills for organizations using iMobicon, to ensure that the personnel involved in the drills know exactly what to do in the event of an actual disaster.

    The first iMobicon is now ready for viewing and is located at SCS’ premises at 7 Bedok South Road.

    Note:
    A business continuity office is an alternative site where staff can be deployed to work at, in the event that they are unable to work at their regular office. The business continuity site is set up as if workers were in their own office. The IT and communication systems will be patched to the business continuity site, and operations can continue seamlessly once the business continuity site is activated.

    *** End of Release ***

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