The recent COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak has shed light on the need for companies to have procedures & plans in place to ensure their employee, customers’ and vendors’ safety.
With the uncertainty around coronavirus and the uncertainty of what’s to come or how long it will last, your business should have a proactive plan in place to allow the continuity of your business operations. The below are some questions and scenarios DMS iTech has worked on with our clients from a technology perspective, and we want to share in order to help you prepare in order to keep your employees, customers’ and vendors’ safe while your business continues to function.
Protect your employees by educating and versing them in what to do before something happens or rapidly escalates.
- Have well thought out plan in place regarding sickness or the need to work remotely and communicate it with your employees.
- Let employees know how your business will respond to various scenarios – quarantined areas, suspected infested persons, etc. Communicate with them what the plans are and how they should prepare.
- Establish a work from home policy that your business can implement and execute in very short order.
- Allow your employees to practice the scenario by allowing them to work remotely once in a while.
Business Continuity Plan
Creating a plan that enables ongoing business operations before & during an incident will prevent chaos and uninformed decisions being made and allow operations to continue during the implementation. To create a plan best suited for your organization, look at what is critical to your business. How will events impact your business?
- If your company has a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery plan in place, has it been properly communicated throughout the organization?
- Where are copies of the plan(s) physically located – on a computer desktop, in someone’s office that you potentially can’t get to?
- Have you ever executed a test run of the Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery plan? A test run of that rotates staff working from home would be beneficial to identify any issues proactively.
Remote Work & Disaster Recovery
Have a strategy in place for all departments of your business. This will ensure that day-to-day operations are maintained.
- Are your employees able to gain access to, and work effectively with, the required resources while working from a remote location?
- Does your IT infrastructure employ the technologies, and does it have the capacity, to support a majority, if not all, of your staff working remotely?
- Do your employees have the technology components and adequate broadband capabilities at home in order to perform their duties? Do you have alternative technologies available if they do not? Consider making it the norm, or company policy, that your employees bring their work laptops home on a daily basis, as closures may occur with little to no notice.
- Are your employees familiar and adequately trained on how to connect to the office infrastructure and resources to work remotely?
- Have employee expectations and proper procedures been communicated?
Along with your team, you should ensure you’re keeping your customers, vendors and suppliers informed of anything that may affect them.
- Designate at least two points of contact to coordinate communication and ensure everyone is aware of their duties, roles and responsibilities.
- If your business decides last minute that your employees should work from home – how are you communicating this to them? Is there an up-to-date contact list with phone numbers and email addresses? Leveraging multiple channels of communication is good practice.
- How are internal communications maintained?
- How will you communicate with individuals that may be coming to your office(s) i.e. customers, deliveries, etc.?
- Has there been communication with vendors, suppliers, and anyone providing services to your organization to see if they’re affected? How will this impact your business? Do you have alternative measures and solutions in-place?
Coronavirus Ransomware and Security
There has already been a significant increase in ransomware and phishing attempts in conjunction with the Coronavirus outbreak. In times like these, cyber criminals ramp up their game and hope to prey on people’s fears and emotions.
- Ensure your employees are educated on the latest forms and attempts of these type of attacks.
- Make everyone aware of malicious e-mails and other forms of communication containing news, messages or links containing information regarding the outbreak.
Every business has unique and different requirements in order to stay operational and functional. The above information is strictly a guide that covers some high-level recommendations to consider for your organization while going through the creation of your business continuity & disaster plan.
If you need any assistance or guidance with the evaluation of the level of preparedness and potential oversights to your operations, please contact us.