Coronavirus and the Need for a Remote Workforce Failover Plan

For some businesses, the Coronavirus is requiring them to take a deep dive into remediation options if the pandemic was to effect their workforce or local community. Options to travel, have in-person meetings and even in-office contact (like handshakes) may need to become regulated and monitored for your business. The affects this can have on a business’ bottom-line can be drastic if the appropriate steps are not planned for.

The reality for your business and a conversation that needs to be brought to the forefront is to secure your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). This BCP will outline detailed steps on how to run your business if the virus (or any other peril) were to become an issue in your area. Within your BCP, a theorized list of implications that a peril would have on your business and ways to mitigate the impact of peril or outage-induced downtime are vital to the success of your plan.

Here are a few questions to pose to your senior leadership team to ensure your business is prepared for an event such as this:

  • Do you have a global employee, vendor and customer communication plan if your BCP is enacted?
    Often, email communication is not a sufficient means of communication in certain instances (i.e. power outages, email outages, etc…). A solid BCP communication plan will have multiple layers of communication to address the enacting of a BCP plan. This can include email, auto-dialer with a recorded message and an updated BCP phone number with an updated recorded message.
  • Are you testing your BCP (at least annually)?
    Having a written BCP is a great start in mitigating downtime, but without thorough testing there can be many gaps and faults that may arise during the most inopportune times. Depending on the extent of reach your BCP will deploy, you will need (at minimum) to have your Disaster Recovery Team roles assigned and ready for testing on an annual basis.
  • Can your employees failover to Work from Home?
    With today’s technology innovations and the ease of working in the cloud, most office-based workforces should have some level of Work from Home capabilities at their disposal. With the ability to replicate in-house networks, employees are now able to access most files and applications anywhere they have a solid internet connection. But, if not tested or properly resourced, the Work from Home option can quickly become a nightmare. Take the necessary steps with your Managed IT Services provider to ensure that your current (or future) cloud infrastructure has the necessary capabilities needed to have your staff work remote.
  • If your employees cannot work remotely, how long can your business afford to be down?
    Inevitably, there are businesses that cannot easily run a full remote staff for a prolonged period of time or do not have the critical apps and data currently accessible in the cloud. This risk needs to be discussed when determining the appropriate business continuity measures. Take time to calculate how long your business can be down if your business is forced to enact its BCP. If the answer is little to no time, take the appropriate measures to either migrate/replicate critical applications to the cloud.
  • Are your business-critical applications and data accessible through the cloud?
    The number of businesses that are required to keep applications and servers solely on-premise has been drastically reducing over the years. Cloud computing allows remote working and efficiently can replicate exactly what is being done on-premise. The efficiency benefits and cost-savings are better than ever before, but only if you know how to navigate the Cloud appropriately. If your Cloud Strategy is not well planned, executed and managed, it can easily become a source of frustration and a budget concern. Be sure to partner with a solid Managed IT Services provider that has plenty of cloud migrations under their belt.
  • Is your business able to temporarily limit or suspend business travel and use teleconferencing technology instead?
    There may be an event, such as the recent COVID-19 outbreak, that may force your staff to limit international, and even domestic, travel. To prevent further disruption to planned or future meetings, it is highly recommended that modern technology teleconferencing technology be used to replace face-to-face meetings and conferences.  Creating a more technologically advanced environment allows for virtual attendance to meetings- eliminating the need for excessive traveling.

Planning is imperative in pandemic and disaster preparedness. If you do not already, now is the time to develop your plans, procedures and policies for pandemics like the COVID-19 and other disasters. Being prepared will mitigate the impact on your business and reduce downtime. If you do not have a cloud provider or IT Services company to help you navigate your business through situations such as COVID-19, contact us today.

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