When Nottingham launched its first fund in 1989, who would have guessed that thirty-some years later the world would experience a pandemic affecting almost every aspect of our lives – particularly the way we work and conduct business? How does a company plan for such a cataclysmic event? The short answer is you can’t. The longer answer is that you build a disaster recovery (DR) plan that includes all known threats having the potential to disrupt your business flow and hope that your plan will cover unknown possibilities. A DR plan will improve your company’s ability to cope with events that fall outside the norm by providing detailed instructions to follow in a time of crisis and it should always include the design, creation, and implementation of supporting infrastructure. Testing and tweaking the plan ensures that it works when needed and that all involved parties know what to do. Because of COVID 19, we can attest to the benefits of a well-planned and tested Disaster Recovery plan.
The first step in developing any DR plan is to identify potential threats. As North Carolinians, the first two threats that came to mind when developing our plan were hurricanes and the dreaded possibility of trace amounts of snow or ice. In each situation, we reasoned that our facilities should be able to keep running with our fortress-like building and massive backup generator. In the unlikely event that our home office is adversely affected by weather, we have a fully replicated data center located out of state. The bigger concern, however, was how to get people to the office. We have witnessed hurricane flooding, roads that have washed away, and downed trees that prevent travel – and we have trucks and chainsaws to aid in those situations. But what about winter weather? Have you ever seen people in the South try to drive in snow and ice? This struck fear in the hearts of our technology team and that fear became the motivator behind our push to build the technology necessary to support remote work. Over the last 20 years, we have continually built out and tested our remote capabilities. During this time, we’ve had a few remote workers serving as guinea pigs while we perfected this capability. In truth though, while the DR system for remote capability certainly worked for testing and the isolated remote worker, it had not been implemented for unilateral use. But, because the infrastructure and processes were in place and tested, when lockdown mandates were issued, our system shifted into DR mode and we never missed a beat. In the end, the DR process created for the known threat of weather-related events, enabled Nottingham to address the unknown threat of COVID 19. The Nottingham DR plan covers many different scenarios that could potentially inhibit our ability to value a fund and for 2020, thankfully so.