We are desperately trying to cope with the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic. The deadly virus has made its way to nearly every country on the globe. Massive lockdowns of nearly all major cities of the world are posing severe challenges for businesses.
Most businesses have some sort of a Business Continuity (BC) Plan in place but a pandemic has never been on the list of contingencies. For this very reason, even if your organization had a BC plan in place, it is nearly useless in the wake of this unique crisis.
In this post, we will highlight some key areas that you need to consider while trying to maintain core operations. There is hardly a business entity that is totally immune from the effects of this crisis but we can definitely take mitigation measures.
Cloud Powered Solutions
There won’t be a stronger case for Cloud Based Solutions than the Corona virus pandemic. Cloud solutions are delivered virtually over multiple device platforms and operating systems. All you need to be up and running is the internet, which is unaffected.
This is perhaps the best time to leverage the ease of accessibility associated with the cloud. Your employees can access the cloud infrastructure from the safety of their homes and remain productive as well. This will ensure you maintain core business operations.
There are some processing and resource intensive workloads that cannot be performed on conventional, low spec laptops or desktops. If maintaining these workloads is absolutely essential, you will have to provision a remote access solution for such tasks.
Using such a solution, your employees will be able to access the specialized hardware at the workplace, but remotely and from the safety of their homes. This will ensure you can sustain even heavy workloads without compromising on employee safety.
In these unprecedented times, most people realize that no one could have prepared for such a crisis in advance. All we can do now is to mitigate the effects of this problem on us and continue to serve basic customer needs.
The foremost factor is communicating with your valuable customers. Reach out to customers and convey all the challenges your organization is currently facing and all the steps you are taking to improve the situation.
By doing so, you will be able to instill a sense of security in your customers. They will feel confident that your organization is genuinely concerned about restoring core operations in the least amount of time.
Focus on Recently Inducted Employees
Most organizations that do well are constantly hiring new talent to serve expansion needs. Contingencies such as the Covid-19 outbreak may also necessitate induction of more employees to cope with disrupted operations.
While existing employees are well versed with your infrastructure and applications, new employees may not have got a chance to acclimatize themselves with the new environment. You need to focus more on the recently engaged talent.
They need to be conveyed all key aspects of their assignments and tools at their disposal in the least amount of time and more so, remotely which makes this task challenging. There is no room for in person orientation sessions due to a forced remote work scenario.
Beef Up Your Support Staff
There are two aspects of this mitigation measure. Firstly, you need to provision dedicated support staff that will cater to the support needs of your own workforce. For most of your employees, remote work may be a totally new transition.
This support is critical to enhance your organization’s overall ability to maintain core operations. Employees that are transitioning to remote work as a first will need hand-holding at many stages, to help them come to terms with new set of tools and apps.
The second and equally important aspect of this support is your valuable customers. Be prepared that your customers also want a lot of answers real fast, as their plans may rely on your organization’s ability to deliver certain services or products.
For this, you will have to enhance the capacity for entertaining customer queries and calls. They will have to be dealt patiently and tactfully, as some of them may be frustrated due to the deteriorated quality and level of service.
As your support infrastructure is already over stretched due to the Corona crisis, you can alleviate some of that workload by proactively publishing some generic updates over your website, you tube channel and even social media platforms.
By doing so, you will be reducing the burden of actual support calls that will need to be attended by support staff. This will also send a positive message that you are dealing with employee concerns in a proactive manner.
Monitor Organizational Infrastructure
With everyone working remotely all of a sudden, your in house architecture may not be designed to cope with such a heavy workload. Before your system succumbs to the abnormal load and crashes, monitor it and try to manage resources smartly.
Optimize Existing Architecture
With your workplace closed and supply chains across the globe disrupted, upgrading your existing IT infrastructure may be next to impossible. Your best chance is to conduct an in depth evaluation of your existing resources and optimize them.
You will have to adopt a multi pronged approach in which you will first identify resources that are allocated to non critical workloads. These resources will have to be channelized towards mission critical processes.
Network and IT infrastructure optimization is a science in itself and you can easily engage a qualified analyst who would evaluate your existing resources and identify areas from where you can still extract some additional performance.
These moments of panic are a great window of opportunity for cyber miscreants who are well aware that most companies are racing against time to resurrect core business operations remotely. This haste is quite likely to leave gaps in the system.
If there is one thing you can’t compromise upon, even amid this urgency and chaos is system security. The last thing you want in the midst of such massive disruption is a data breach to further set your efforts aback.
Do not allow even the slightest compromise on security, even if it comes at the cost of further delay in setting up core functionality. You must put a robust system of user authentication in place, as nearly every employee will be using remote access.
Evolve Your Business Continuity Plan
It is said that times of crises also accompany opportunities. While most disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) drills go unheeded in times of normalcy, take this as a great opportunity to revisit the entire BC plan objectively.
While there is little you may be able to change in the midst of this crisis, but the key takeaways from this current situation can go a long way in tweaking your DR and BC strategies for the times to come.
The crisis that has emanated from the Covid-19 pandemic carries no precedent in modern times. Thanks to technologies like cloud computing, which are already mitigating and have even more potential to alleviate our worries in such testing times.
The ease and level of connectivity we enjoy by virtue of the cloud and other ancillary technologies is tremendous. The question that’s important is, how well prepared are we to harness this potential to achieve future sustainability and success.