By IT Department
Risks and threats are normal in any business within different industries, therefore preparation and mitigation planning is as important as the focus on daily operational efficiency. The recent threat of COVID-19 is the epitome of such threats that have challenged all businesses to rapidly find alternatives of continuing business operations with minimal disruptions and most importantly while ensuring the safety of their employees.
However, what makes great companies stand out from their competitors is their ability to use a well-developed contingency plans and bounce back or continue operations with minimal negative impacts from unfavorable circumstances; whether it is supply chain interruption, loss of network resource, unstable communications, or loss of staff mobility etc.
It is in the best interests of the business if the entire workforce and the management team is aware of the positive contributions they can make, should the business be disrupted. Going back to normal business operations can be a tedious process, but a well-guided and organized environment can help all procedures be implemented smoothly and efficiently. A great business continuity plan can help maximize the usage of resources.
The way that we use our resources during business continuity procedures is one of the factors that can contribute to the success of the process. Hence, it is essential that we ensure that all the elements that we work with are properly used and appropriately interlinked with one another. As such the integral factor in building the IT Contingency plan, as part of the BCP, is the innovative and optimized usage of technology in IT facilities and tools, and very importantly their deployment in a timely manner.
In view of the COVID 19 pandemic, most businesses had to close their offices and employees are now working from home, to avoid the spread of the virus. The objectives of the IT Contingency plan was therefore to ensure business operational continuity with minimal disruptions and delay.
In the IT Contingency planning, the major factors considered were:
Deployment of mobile equipment e.g. laptops and mobile phones for remote access.
Enabling the transfer of calls from office to local or personal phones using VOIP (3CX Cloud VOIP) at minimal usage costs.
Enabling the ‘blasting’ of urgent messages from the company to all staff mobiles (in case of any delayed access to emails).
Ensuring good and stable communication lines between the offices in various countries, to support the data flow and voice communications. For some countries however, the local loop faced challenges as some of the local vicinities did not have good internet connections.
Enhanced secured access to applications via VPN (Cato) for speed and stable connections.
Help with online meeting set-ups using MS Teams or Bluejeans to continue regular visual/voice contacts internally as well as with external business associates.
Use of backup on cloud (One Drive) enabling employees to maintain their regular backups online as well as ease of accessing of files from any location. – The communication plan keeps everyone updated on the actual steps of the usage procedures, action plan implementation, and overall business continuity workflow.
Last but not least, the IT operations continue to push anti-virus updates to the local machines to ensure a continued secured environment for all.
Even with the best laid plans, it is the cooperation, discipline and teamwork of the company that ensured its successful implementation, resulting in the continued smooth and optimized operational flow.