1. Have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
A Business Continuity Plan outlines how a business will remain operational in the event of a major disaster or event as a pandemic. A Business Continuity Plan is a contingency plan that details the steps taken before, during, and after a critical event that are required to maintain business function from an operational and financial standpoint.
If you were caught unprepared for the pandemic COVID-19 outbreak, now is the best time to make sure you’re never caught unprepared again. Get a team together and prepare a Business Continuity Plan in place.
2. Elect an emergency preparedness team
During any type of business disruption, e. g. due to this current pandemic, organisations need to have a steering committee that is at the helm of the decision-making process and sets up a contingency plan. With Business Continuity Planning as a contingency plan in place, your team will have a great starting point, but every risk to your business is unique. Your Emergency Team, or even pandemic preparedness team, should keep an eye on official recommendations from government and health officials. They can use those recommendations and this planning to identify how your business will be affected and decide on any additional measures required to keep your staff safe and productive while pandemic. Your Emergency Team can plan the disaster response so that nobody is left scrambling, wondering what next steps are.
3. Offer remote work options
“Work is not where you are. Work is what you get done.”
The ability to work remotely has become essential for all businesses. More and more organisations are adopting a work from home policy to foster better work-life balance and increased productivity. Enabling your employees to work from home (WFH) becomes even more valuable in the face of Business Continuity Planning, pandemic and public health.
Many large organisations, like Twitter for example, have announced that they will be working remotely in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Being ready with a WFH policy can keep your organisation and Business Continuity up and running even in the face of a nation-wide lockdown, like some countries around the world are currently.
Here are some important points to consider:
- Do your employees have secure laptops that they can take home?
- Can your VPN or remote access solution support the increased load if most or all employees are trying to connect?
- Do you have collaboration tools in place that enable employees to easily interact amongst themselves and with your customers? Examples include:
- Phone and video conferencing solutions
- Chat or team-based collaboration tools
4. Be ready with cloud backups
With any business contingency – whether it’s a local natural disaster making your office inaccessible, or a pandemic response where you need increased social distancing for staff – you need to be mindful of where data is getting created, stored, and backed up. With more work-from-home scenarios, that means data is getting created and potentially stored on devices outside of your core network or in the cloud. Backing up data from endpoints, from cloud apps, and from shared network drives should now be a mainstay in an organisation’s business continuity plan.
You need to protect your users, their data, and their productivity with good, easily restorable backups. When staff are working remotely, they are more susceptible to cybersecurity risks, lost or stolen devices, and good old-fashioned human error (spilling the latte at Starbucks). Protect your productivity, data integrity, and your business continuity by rolling out a backup solution that covers not just your servers, but your endpoints (laptops) and your cloud apps and data like Office 365.
5. Test Your Process
How can you know for sure that you’ll be ready when disaster strikes? Test your process.
Once you have Business Continuity in place and an Emergency Preparedness Team assembled, schedule a run through to make sure everything is working. The last thing you need in the middle of a business risk is to learn that something is broken.