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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Internal Auditing

The revised Standard ISO19011:2011 has changed the way we present our twice yearly audit training courses.  We now address more standards than the previous two; ISO9001:2008 and ISO14001:2004.  The two day courses we run now address the following Standards on day 1:
  • ISO 9001 Quality Management
  • ISO14001 Environmental  Management
  • OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management
  • ISO27001 Information Security Management.
  • Other Standards can be covered as required.
Day 2 of the course covers all aspects of setting up an audit programme, preparing for an audit, conducting audits, auditing top management, reporting audit non-conformities and follow up.

In addition, the course examines some aspects of non-verbal communication and identification.  Finally there is a live audit practice and tests of competence.

We have been running Internal Auditing courses since 1991 and a number of companies have sent their staff on successive courses.  These are some of the comments we have received:

"cost effective and very enjoyable",  
"It could have been a very dry subject, but the instructor’s style made the content  interesting",  
"I will be sending more people on this course in the future".            
"The hotel conference room was very comfortable and the lunches were great, apart from the course which was most interesting".

The next course is to be run in Colchester, Essex on 22 & 23 November 2012.  See our web-site for details

Monday, 10 September 2012

Business Continuity and Power Systems

We take data security very seriously indeed and it was a real wakeup call when the UPS (uninterruptable power supply) decided to go on the blink; instead of the familiar bleep, bleep  indicating that the batteries had taken over and that it would be some 20 minutes before everything went dead, there was just a single bleep then silence.  Of course this also meant that screens went off, as did the server. Some rude words were said!

After what seemed an eternity the  power was restored.  Fortunately a data integrity check showed that all our data was intact and not corrupted.  The piece I was working on when the power went off was,  of course, lost.

We carry out daily, weekly and monthly checks on our systems to ensure our equipment is ok. We, however did not check the UPS batteries capacity;  we simply switch off the power and see that the UPS cuts in.

With the power of hindsight we should have let the UPS run for longer to check that the batteries were able to sustain the power to our systems. 

Looking back at our records I noticed that the UPS was over five years old and it still had the original batteries fitted.  These batteries are lead acid type and I know from experience with car batteries that they tend to last about 4 years before capacity becomes reduced.  It is normally on the day after a hard frost that the car won't start, requiring a battery replacement.

I ordered a set of batteries and the following day they arrived.  Very heavy and hidden in the bowels of the UPS are the batteries.  I isolated the power and took out the old units.  They were thick with dust.

Fitting the new batteries into the unit was relatively simple, I connected them up and turned on the power.  I did not know whether the batteries were fully charged or just had a minimal charge, so I left it some 8 hours before testing the whole unit. 

The new batteries kept the power on for 24 minutes after I disconnected the mains supply. 

All is well again at Quality Matters.

A lesson learned though, you should not take your UPS for granted. It will be tested at least monthly.

I have also set up an alert to replace the batteries again in four years  time.

Quality Matters

P.O.Box 5479

T: 01621 857841
F: 01621 856016
M: 07702 193788

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