Case Study

Magazine publisher makes business continuity a key feature

Newhall Publications, a family business established in 1962, publishes Candis magazine, one of the most popular women’s magazines in the UK with a monthly circulation of almost 240,000. It has been a staunch believer in the benefits of business continuity planning since a water pipe burst in its server room many years ago, causing a flood that briefly put one of its key servers out of action. Although it was already looking into putting a business continuity (BC) plan in place, it was this incident that proved the catalyst to implement a comprehensive BC strategy.

Newhall recognised that it could not afford to suffer business disruption for an extended period. To do so would have a negative effect on its relationship with its customers, and in turn, its sales figures. It knew the key to customer retention was to ensure that its magazine was produced and delivered on time every month.

Having conducted a thorough Business Impact Analysis to assess the effects of an incident on its business, Newhall took the decision to invest in 25 seats at one of Sungard Availability Services’ highly resilient workplace recovery centres. The Sungard AS site provides all the facilities and tools Newhall’s production and design staff use on a daily basis, meaning that magazine production could continue uninterrupted should its own offices be unavailable.

Newhall also employs Sungard AS’s QuickShip Technology Recovery service whereby Sungard AS takes servers to a designated Newhall location at time of disaster. Chris Harman, IT Director for Newhall Publications, points out, “It is absolutely critical to our business that we have the ability to produce the magazine, no matter what. Our staff all work very hard to provide our readers with the best possible product and it is our responsibility as a company to support their efforts by ensuring we can deliver on what we promise. We very much see business continuity as an essential cost of doing business.”

One of the key considerations for Newhall in its choice of provider was Sungard AS’s rollback capability, which allows customers to roll back to an alternative Sungard AS recovery centre in the event that its primary site is ever unavailable. Sungard AS’s unrivalled infrastructure means it has over 20 recovery facilities across the UK, all linked by the Sungard AS National Network and identical from a voice, data and technology perspective so that customers’ ability to recover is not compromised.

Chris Harman comments, “When choosing our BC provider, we wanted a name we could trust. Also as a growing business, cost is always a key consideration and Sungard offered us the best value for money of all the providers we looked at. Combined with its reputation, experience and infrastructure it was the obvious choice.”

Over the years Newhall’s business continuity plan has continually evolved to accommodate its growth and operational changes. In line with industry good practice as defined by BS 25999, Newhall conducts a regular testing programme. This ensures that the company’s plans remain fit for purpose, staff become familiar with |their alternative working environment, understand what is expected of them in the event of a business disruption and get to meet the people who will be recovering them in the event of a disaster declaration. Testing also helps Newhall to identify any risks it had not previously considered.

As part of its BC strategy, Newhall has pushed continuity and availability awareness down the supply chain, ensuring that all of its suppliers, from its printers to its distributors, also have plans in place to counter downtime.

Chris Harman explains, “We know that having plans in place ourselves is not enough to protect our business. If our printers were to be affected by a business disruption, we know that they have alternative sites from which they can produce the magazine. Similarly we are aware that our key distributor has a solid business continuity plan in place, should the worst occur.”

Business challenge

As the publisher of Candis magazine, the UK’s 4th largest subscription-only publication, Newhall Publications puts great importance on its relationship with the magazine’s 750,000 readers. Recognising that missing its production deadlines would harm this relationship as well as its advertising sales and subscription figures, it decided to implement a comprehensive business continuity strategy.

  • Workplace Recovery
  • Technology Recovery
Business benefits
  • Reduces risk of interruption to the publishing operation
  • Prevents loss of advertising and subscription revenue
  • Protects the Candis brand
  • Preserves the customer relationship
  • Gives employees and suppliers peace of mind.