WHEN COVID-19 SPREADS TO THE U.S., TELEWORKING WILL BE VITAL TO HEALTH & PRODUCTIVITY
The immediate health risk from Coronavirus is considered low according to the CDC, but that could change in just a matter of days or even hours. COVID-19 spread quickly in China, as did the fear of its global impact on business and economy. Major conferences cancelled, buildings & ships quarantined, and businesses directing employees to stay home. Productivity in those regions is taking a hit and the stock markets are down worldwide. This fills the mind with many questions.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE U.S. IF INFECTION RATES GROW EXPONENTIALLY LIKE THEY DID IN CHINA?
It might be like a very bad flu season with the several sick employees, parents missing work to care for their kids, and healthy staff maintaining productivity for those who cannot be in the office . Then again, Coronavirus might be something bigger where the government mandates quarantine or large populations of employees are ill during the same period of time causing business disruption.
1. Review Business Continuity (BC) Plans and Telework Policies
- If they do not exist, start developing plans and policies now
- If Business Continuity only addresses loss of the physical business or technological disaster, reassess how to continue with reduced human capability
- Consider how you can enable people to securely work from home and train the employees now so they know what to do amidst the chaos
2. Enable Employee Collaboration and Digital Communications
- There are great collaboration tools available that enable teams form disparate places to communicate and collaborate as if they are centrally located. Microsoft Teams and Slack are two top choices
- Facilitate the replacement of in-person meetings with digital face to face. Web Conferencing has become easy to use and there are many worthwhile solutions such as Zoom, Join.Me, WebEx, Skype, etc.
3. Provide Secure Remote Access Options
- Remotely connecting to corporate resources and computers is a necessary part of your Business Continuity Plan
- There are many ways to connect remotely, but not all are secure methods. Don’t let the problems caused by Coronavirus be an opening for attackers.
- Implement a Secure Remote Access Gateway and/or VPN solution that can scale to your entire staff
- If corporate computers are required, ensure laptops are available to those who will need to gain access to the network
- Test the scalability and capacity of your solution to ensure there are enough resources and licensing to enable all staff to telework if necessary
Regardless of your concern for Coronavirus and whether it will have a significant impact, now is the time to be vigilant. Review your Business Continuity Plan. Extend your web conferencing and collaboration tools to additional teams. Test the capability and security of your remote access solutions.