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Business Continuity Lessons from COVID-19

Josh Moore
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There’s nothing like a global pandemic to show you if your company is truly prepared for a crisis. Unfortunately, many businesses are finding out the hard way that they weren’t as ready they thought they were.

A recent Gartner, Inc. survey asked 1,500 respondents how prepared they are for the impact of COVID-19:

  • Just 12% believe their businesses are highly prepared for the impact of coronavirus
  • 56% rated themselves as somewhat prepared
  • 11% said they were either relatively or very unprepared

In addition, 57% of the survey respondents expect their businesses to continue at a reduced pace, while 16% believe they’ll be severely restricted by the pandemic.

No Business Continuity Plan? You’re Not Alone

Business continuity (BC) plans are playing a huge role in how well companies are weathering this world-wide crisis. BC is all about maintaining – or quickly resuming – business functions when a major disruption hits. A BC plan covers business processes, human resources, assets, and everything else the organization needs to continue operating.

A March 2020 survey of 500 U.S. companies asked them about their BC plans. It found:

  • 62% have business continuity plans
  • 48% said their BC plans only cover emergency operations for two to three weeks
  • 22% have plans that cover contingencies for more than two months
  • 5% said their plans only cover operations for one day
  • 10% have no BC plans in place
  • 15% weren’t even sure what their BC plans were

Regarding remote work, the same survey revealed:

  • Only 37% have the right technology in place for employees to conduct critical business operations from home
  • 19% said none of their workers could do their jobs from home due to a lack of technology equipment
  • 41% said that only some employees could work from home with their own equipment

While these numbers paint a somewhat bleak picture, your organization can learn valuable lessons about business continuity from COVID-19.

Your Opportunity to Improve

Coronavirus will definitely impact the way a lot of corporations approach disaster preparedness. Ideally, every organization should undertake business continuity and disaster recovery planning well before any crisis. What is going on today is a live test of how well those plans were conceived.

Those that haven’t done this planning are already in crisis mode. But whether you were prepared or not, you can take lessons from this situation.

I recommend enhancing your BC plans to include more measures for working remotely. Creating an IT environment that supports safe, easy remote work means your employees can keep the business going during any major disaster.

Bettering Your Business Continuity Plan

Foster a culture that allows remote access to technology while using secured, identity-driven access. Everyone is getting a crash course in remote work culture right now. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn the ins and outs of supporting a remote workforce. You’ll be that much more prepared the next time disaster strikes.

Establish systems that enable a remote workforce to access systems and data. Does your company have enough laptops for everyone? How will employees access your corporate network? What security measures need to be in place to keep the bad guys out? Your BC plan should answer these sorts of questions.

Companies with cloud-first approaches are positioned to adapt their strategy quickly as the crisis evolves. Because you can access cloud data from anywhere, connecting remote employees with the files they need is relatively easy even in a crisis. It provides valuable flexibility.

Capture the power of BYOD and layer on VDI or remote desktop services to ensure a cohesive, secured user experience. When configured correctly, virtual desktop interface or remote desktop services allow access to critical applications without compromising your security.

Invest in collaboration tools to keep employees connected. Microsoft Teams, for example, has individual and group chat, video calling, voice conferencing, and file storage and sharing capabilities in one application. And if your business uses Office 365, you already have Teams.

Facing a major crisis like COVID-19 without a solid business continuity plan can put your company’s productivity and security at risk. Need help creating a plan for your business? Wondering if your current plan is covering all the bases? We’re here to help. 

Additional Resources

A Security Checklist for Protecting Remote Users

Remote Work & Beyond: Surviving & Thriving During COVID-19

Staying Protected & Productive During COVID-19

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