It has become clear that COVID-19 is not only going to change business operations in the short-term but quite possibly for the foreseeable future. The ITeam has prepared this IT guide to help you navigate some of the security and business continuity issues that will likely impact your organization for quite a while, in order to help you maintain healthy business operations.
Establish a Disaster Coordinator
Because this is a challenge unlike any that a modern business has likely ever faced, there is a lot of uncertainty.
Businesses are already facing downturns, and non-essential businesses that have been forced to close temporarily or deliver services in an atypical manner are already feeling the financial impact.
Even where there are solutions, many of them have a technology component that requires facilitation. Whether your organization already has an established disaster plan or not, one of the first steps every business should take now is designating a disaster coordinator.
The disaster coordinator can be responsible for COVID-19-related issues, including shutdowns, risk management, and communication.
Implement and Update Policies and Practices
Are your human resource policies, your disaster recovery plan, and your business continuity plan up to date enough to deal with this crisis?
It’s likely that your organization did not plan for the disruption of this significant or this global.
You may even have existing policies that prevent your employees from working from home, policies which will need to be suspended.
- Make sure that your policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing provincial and federal workplace laws.
- Ensure that financial records and data are regularly backed up.
- Communicate early and often with your teams as they shift to working from home.
- Establish clear priorities about how you’ll support employees, what you expect from them, and how they should maintain the required level of security.
Identify Important Operations That Are Not in the Cloud
As your organization maintains operations by implementing work-from-home solutions, you will quickly identify what you need for your business to be operational that has not been moved to the cloud.
Without remote access to your critical systems and collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, work-from-home employees will not have access to the apps and software, customer data, and solutions they need to perform their duties.
Consider employees who handle billing, deliver customer service, or manage accounts. Maintaining business continuity may require them to have access to that information from home.
It’s more important now than ever to make the shift to the cloud.
Ensure Your Employees Have the Technology They Need to Work from Home
Getting a single employee set up to work from home with access to all of the apps and software you use can be a logistical nightmare, let alone doing so for an entire team.
And once these employees are working from their homes, how will you foster communication and collaboration among your team?
How will you ensure that they work from a secure environment and know how to spot phishing attempts?
Tools like Office 365 and Microsoft Teams can help keep your team connected.
Be prepared to lend laptops or virtual machines to employees who may need them and invest in a VPN service to secure the connection between your employees’ homes and the network.
Be sure to read our guide on remote work.
Small Businesses Face Big Risks
Small businesses do not have the IT experts on staff to help them quickly shift from onsite work to a remote workforce.
During the transition, it’s important to communicate openly and transparently with your customers.
Let them know you are prioritizing their security and building an infrastructure to support them throughout the crisis.
Identify technology and tools that can help you meet your customers’ and your employees’ needs.
The Canadian government has put together a comprehensive guide to help small businesses.
No business would have been able to predict the situation we currently find ourselves in.
The ITeam is committed to helping businesses in the Calgary and Alberta areas remain operational where possible.
As we all take measures to reduce the spread of the virus and minimize in-person contact, our team will be available to take your calls and help you determine the resources, infrastructure, software, and apps that you need to support your remote workforce, ensure your business continuity and minimize the disruption to your organization.
We are all in this together.