Heena Dawnak

The outbreak of Coronavirus (the virus that caused COVID-19), that emerged in Wuhan, China on March 11, 2020 – stands as a reminder that companies should be prepared beforehand for a large-scale outbreak of such dangerous diseases. Such a dynamic situation, that could span across months and beyond the Asia-Pacific region has the potential to disrupt an organizations’ operational continuity.

The recent spread of the new Coronavirus, COVID-19, presents IT organizations with a challenge of ensuring business continuity in the face of health issues outside their control.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

Business Continuity Plan is a process that involves creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats and disasters to a company, ensuring that the personnel and assets are not only protected but are able to function quickly in the event of a disaster.

Business Continuity in IT Landscape

When considered from an IT operations perspective – it has a completely different interpretation.

In the IT landscape of a company, business continuity simply means to maintain continuous operations that every system of a business is available and accessible at all times without downtime. Having such critical measures in place diminishes the impact of any disastrous incident.

Here are 5 Key Focus Areas to ensure BCP –

1) Communication is the Key

One of the most important things is to communicate with your employees, company leaders, clients, vendors, and partners – doing this helps you quickly discover for a disaster.

Email is the main form of communication in every company, but this may or may not be available.

You can always use various social media channels to coordinate efforts. Skype for Business, WhatsApp and Twitter are some of the many good options for coordinating with your teams internally.

2) Managing Remote Workforce

Working smarter means leveraging the manifold advantages of a remote workforce. Organizations and other business are therefore protecting their workforce by allowing them to work remotely. However, this causes an unforeseen increase in ‘work from home’ employees – and many organizations don’t have enough Virtual Private Network (VPN) licenses to accommodate the increase in users. Companies should have secure and scalable mobile or remote access (VPN) that can accommodate an influx of users for a hassle-free work environment.

3) Create a Disaster Preparedness Policy

Many companies haven’t prepared for a crisis on this scale, but many are figuring it out now, that they do need a disaster preparedness or recovery plan beforehand. A good plan covers a lot of things such as – it should spell how people should work from home and what tools would they be needing to get the job done, how to travel, what to do about meetings etc.

It’s important to consider things such as the insurance coverage for the business closures or trip cancellations, how to get financing when no one seems to invest, what lines of credit are in check, supply chain alternatives and more. All of this should be well documented.

4) Making sure Data is accessible

You need to make sure all of your important data is on the cloud. Right after a disaster, your network access would have been gone for a toss, imagine if your data was stored on a network drive or any internal computer that no one can reach?

If a company manages an on-premise email server and the continuity is down, communications will be completely gone. A popular solution is to store everything on the cloud for safety, security and scalability purposes.

5) Cyber Security Awareness

Regardless of the size of your business, the cost of a breach could mean the end of your company.

The cost of a data breach is predicted to rise from $3 trillion each year to more than $5 trillion by 2024. This is an average annual growth of 11 percent, reports Juniper Research.

Whilst cybersecurity is practiced at all times, you need to be stringent when it comes to acting upon it during a disaster. Cyber-attacks like Phishing campaigns, ransomware attacks are some of the many examples of a cyber-attack. Some of the best practices during the time of the disaster are – Two Factor Authentication (2FA), Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and next-generation antivirus (NGAV) or endpoint protection.

In today’s world, it’s not a question of whether disaster will strike your organization, but when. Countries, companies, and communities around the globe are making immediate decisions to quarantine groups of people or make people do work from home.

The question here is, should all or most employees need to spend a few weeks working from home? Is your organization ready for this pandemic?

Heena Dawnak

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Tags: Agile, Agile Methodology, COVID-19, Crisis, Lean, Lean Mindset, Pandemic, Resilience Through Disruption

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