First off, it is not in my nature to write this type of article as I feel people might think it as self-serving. But as the days go by and the news hits, I feel compelled to write a thought-provoking article in case things continue to get worse, and the virus hits our area in full force. Clients, friends, colleagues have been reaching out to me, so the timing feels appropriate.
As you probably know, many goods and products are manufactured and assembled in China. Our distribution channels for Dell, Lenovo and other manufacturers are warning of severe delays and shortages for delivery of laptops, desktops, servers and other peripherals.
We are trying to be proactive internally. CHIPS has pre-ordered laptops to hold in our warehouse in order to help prepare for the demand, should it become necessary, but also know we might not be able to fill orders if the virus comes to New York and large numbers of people are affected.
Many of our insurance and healthcare clients have placed orders in preparation for supporting a mobile workforce. This is more than just ordering equipment - the security of a mobile workforce must be considered. Mobile devices must have hard drives encrypted, mobile devise management and a robust security policy. As unappealing as it is to think about it, many bad actors will look to use global fear and uncertainty to their advantage and exploit an already vulnerable population. We collectively need to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The big question we all need to be thinking about however, is true business continuity. How do we all keep our businesses up and running, keep our employees and customers safe, and continue to serve those who rely on us? Despite the fear and panic on Wall Street, the global economy – and more importantly, our local economy – will not just stop while we figure this out.
Business continuity is more than just accessing your network and data. IT is a key part of the conversation but is just a piece of an overall plan. Here are somethings to think about, IT and non-IT related.
- How to communicate to employees and clients
- Which employees are ready to work from home
- What is in the office that is not accessible remotely (data, systems, equipment)
- Will your key vendors be accessible? Will they still be able to work with you?
- How long could you operate if access to your office was completely shut down?
- Do you have access to a location where even a small part of your company could go to work?
- Have you identified key personnel and their roles clearly in case people need to chip in and pick up the slack?
Please reach out to your account manager or me for any questions or concerns but please don’t wait to ask. We are here to help in any way we can.