The coronavirus outbreak has put business continuity plans on the agenda for many leadership teams across business nationwide. While technology has made it easier to continue business during disruptive events, many businesses still find themselves ill-prepared. We are breaking down some critical items you should consider as part of your continuity plans to make them more flexible and secure.
Businesses need to make certain their employees have access to the company network, securely. This means making sure that employees have company-issued laptops with endpoint protection that can securely connect using VPN to access files and applications. It’s also important to avoid open Wi-Fi networks and use hot spots when traveling.
Communication with team members, vendors, and customers become extremely valuable during times of crisis, like the pandemic coronavirus. That is why having good communication tools and practices in place, allow for less disruption in business. Some items to consider:
- Auto-attendants are updated to reflect any business changes.
- Phone systems can be forwarded to mobile phones
- Communication platforms like Microsoft Team or Slack are great for collaboration and keeping in direct touch with a remote team.
- External communication through multiple platforms should be used to update customers, vendors, and business partners.
- Daily updates and check-in meetings should be scheduled between leadership and remote staff.
Cloud / Hosted Infrastructure.
Businesses who have a secure cloud-based infrastructure can be more flexible during a time of distress because they are not tied to hardware at an office building. Cloud applications like Office 365 for email, SharePoint for file sharing, Slack, and Microsoft Teams for collaboration and web-based line of business applications make working remote easier to execute.
Plan in Place.
Your employees need to have a clear understanding of what the emergency plans are for situations like the coronavirus or natural disaster. A documented and distributed plan which outlines the members of the crisis team, guidelines for business, and expectations is a good start. Just remember the quote for Winston Churchill, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
Flexible Leave Policies.
Employers should consider allowing for more flexible work policies that will enable employees to stay home to care for themselves or to care for sick family members or minors if schools close in the community. Employees want to know that they can take care of their families without their jobs being at risk.
Cross-training employees to perform essential functions so that the business can continue to operate even if key staff members are absent. This is something that companies should be doing anyway to help encourage growth within the organization and create a pipeline of talent for the future.
Task Management System.
To establish an organized workflow, it is crucial to have systems in place to help manage your employee’s time and productivity while providing peace of mind to business owners that the job is being done.
Security should be a top priority for businesses when it comes to doing business, especially during crisis times. It is important to have the right controls in place with policies, training, and infrastructure to ensure that your company is being protected. Crisis times are perfect timing for hackers to target companies when they are distracted.
Virtual Meetings / Web Conferencing
If meetings are a vital part of regular business operations, then having a solution in place to take those meetings virtually is critical. There are so many virtual meeting platforms that will allow you to host video or phone conferences without ever having to meet in person.
Businesses need to ensure that they have tested all their employees’ remote setups and company policies to ensure that they will work when it comes time to implement them. This means making sure all the equipment and software is set up and working correctly, employees know the rules and guidelines for working remote, and ensure that employees know who to contact for support issues.
If a company does these 10 simple steps to prepare their business for the coronavirus, then they will be able to navigate any crisis that may happen successfully. The key is to ensure that all policies, procedures, and infrastructure as up-to-date and tested regularly. Do you need assistance with setting up these 10 steps for your business? Contact our team to get your company prepared for coronavirus today!