A well-known IT security solution vendor recently published a white paper about planning for business continuity, and listed typewriters as examples of equipment that should be safeguarded to prevent interruptions to an enterprise’s activities.
You remember, typewriters were those stone age machines that recorded text directly onto paper.
So, who on earth would use a typewriter today, given the choice of PCs, tablets, and other vastly more intelligent devices? It turns out, however, that there are at least two good reasons for a business continuity manager to keep the typewriter in mind, when making BC plans for the organisation.
The first reason is that some business or professional people and organisations still use them. “The Transcription People” company cites the US police department, funeral homes in some American states, and prisons in the US as still using typewriters.
Granted, these are somewhat specific cases, but they do show that anyone who thinks typewriters are strictly museum pieces is making a mistake.
The second reason is that in a more general sense, a typewriter epitomises the legacy system, as an older piece of business equipment for creating, storing, or managing information, which is still important to an organisation.
Elsewhere, legacy systems may be computers with custom-built business applications that were never migrated to standard systems, or, per another definition, any system that cannot be connected to the Internet.
Such systems may have clunky user interfaces, and poor performance or reliability, but may also hold business logic in their programs that is essential to the daily operations of an enterprise.
Add the fact that a typewriter, especially of the vintage kind, is instantly recognisable, and you have a symbol that makes it easy to remember that legacy systems must be considered in your business continuity planning – and that has more visual impact than a miniature model of a mainframe hard drive.