In the past few days and weeks surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, business continuity planning is on top of everyone’s mind. With fears being stoked by nearly wall to wall media coverage around the world, many businesses are taking proactive steps like issuing travel bans to and from affected regions, opting for virtual meetings instead of in person, cancelling events or in some cases asking some or all employees to work from home.
With a surge of the global workforce looking at the prospect of remote work, many organizations are going to have their business continuity plans put to the ultimate test. A recent study by global consultancy firm Mercer has shown that more than half of companies (51%) around the world have no plans or protocols in place to combat global emergency such as COVID-19. These organizations will be faced with some considerations and problems that will need to be solved to ensure business as usual activities.
The first area that can be worth considering is if your organization has enough laptops and VPN connections to enable a large portion of your staff to work from home. Now is the time to look at your VPN licensing to see if you have the capacity to cover the number of remote workers accessing internal systems & data, not to mention what this exposure could mean from a risk standpoint. It may be time to send a few employees home now and make sure that the work can still be done before everyone potentially heads home.
With remote work comes other considerations. Are you sending business functions home that have never left the office before? Many businesses have some key functions that are still married to physical locations and to older IT stacks that can only be accessed on-site. Older ERP systems and mainframe applications are good examples of this. If having these functions outside the office leads to bottlenecks that will derail the business if they get interrupted, you may need to explore alternate measures like splitting teams in half and alternating home vs. work schedules. Additionally, if staff will remain in office spaces it’s important to consider how to mitigate risks from visitors or group meetings.
At Iptor, we’ve put policies and business continuity plans in place not only for our business, but our customers as well. Iptor Managed Service customers sleep better at night knowing that continuity measures and a secure cloud are in place and fully managed for them. If your business needs help with continuity planning or managed cloud-based disaster recovery, high availability or firewall as a service let’s talk – please contact your Iptor Account Manager.
For more information and guidance for business and employers on how to plan, prepare and respond to COVID-19, view the US CDC’s official recommendations here.