Breaks never make appointments; don’t even knock on the door! But you have to be prepared in case it happens to you. Here are some practically immediate answers.
Business disruptions can affect organizations of all sizes in any field. Climate, control outages, political occasions and, of course, a novelty on the list, pandemics. Organizations build sustainability over a period of time through extensive succession planning. However, a major catastrophic event could test the effectiveness of these plans. The last few years have been “sustainability training” for many. The only huge lesson is that there is no downside to planning to prevent technological capacity, workforce sustainability, and existing business continuity and disaster recovery planning strategies.
Something is happening! Immediate action
One of the latest practical approaches involves the implementation of multiple operational models to find the best way out of the situation. It is imperative to create a management program that stabilizes the current situation, develops and then moves effectively. Each organization must quickly define the extent to which it can conduct “business as usual” for both short-term and long-term business operations. While redesigning organizational sustainability is a long-term initiative, organizations need to define quick steps to achieve their initial best efforts as usual.
In managing multiple priorities, there are two categories to address: people and processes and technologies.
People and processes
One of the biggest changes in the last few years has been the approach to the workforce, with many organizations adopting new approaches to what is the organization’s most valuable asset: the workforce. Follow these steps to protect it and ensure the continuity of the process:
Activate and turn on
Activate business continuity plans and applicable strategies.
Engage the Crisis Management Team (CMT) to assess and take action to limit the impact of the situation.
Determine the overall impact on the business and all other contractual obligations of the client.
Create a governance structure
Establish a governance structure for the program to monitor indicators and set pace / key points for immediate and long-term crisis management, including:
Representation in the whole organization
Change management and a process for identifying and tracking lessons learned
Changing business processes from task-oriented to results-based
Change Management Process (MoC), including how to address the confidence of remote workers and cultural impacts
A channel for communication with the workforce and key stakeholders.
Gather cross-functional teams to assess the impact on health and safety of the workforce, as well as the effects of travel restrictions; the consequences for suppliers and customers; and legal and statutory impacts, among other practical impacts.
Gather the troops
Mobilize the workforce without compromising on safety as a top priority and a key factor for success. Create a process for dealing with common and recurring issues at the organizational level in a structured and proactive way, instead of resolving individual user inquiries.
After ensuring the safety of its people and the continuity of the process, the organization should focus on having its own technology / IT infrastructure:
Assess the impact of remote access, VPN, server, network capacity, and usage thresholds.
Identify the types of remote workers and ensure appropriate access control
Ensure that VPN capacity can handle the increase in traffic due to a workforce that has remote access to internal resources.
Provide remote work tips to all employees
Constantly monitor the usage and running time of applications, servers and network resources.
Develop tactical plans for servicing / replacing existing hardware for the remote workforce to avoid further complications while providing a criterion for maintenance
Apply workarounds to all site dependencies based on the nature of the business; for example, the retail payment process and scanner-dependent suppliers.
Set up a process for each dependency, such as temporarily accepting electronic invoices from payment processing providers.
Sync frequently with customers and vendors to determine workarounds.
Accept options for remote work, VDI and smart collaboration, which do not depend on the limitations of any platform, but still allow for data protection and control.
Use cloud solutions like MS365 as much as possible to ensure end-user performance for the best user experience.
Once the sense of coping with the immediacy of the crisis begins to move to more far-reaching action, the organization must focus on how its people will continue to thrive and the processes will continue to function. And think about whether the immediate crisis has created better practice? If so, see how to move permanently into the new circumstance.
As far as the technological response is concerned, there is an opportunity to consider emerging technological solutions that can be used to improve productivity and efficiency. With these ideas, you can mitigate the impact of interruptions now and in the future. However, with the recent workforce turnaround, you need to be aware of the fact that any interruption or crisis can affect employees’ work situation, and the wake-up call is the technology-driven workforce. It is no longer the case that the data center is the only consideration that needs to be addressed immediately.
In addition, the constant flow of data and peripheral processing via IoT means that businesses are equally dependent on “things”. There are many recent examples of malware or hacking that are crippling business operations.
We are in an era of game-changing digital interference; however, we must have the same imagination and be prepared for a wide range of risks.
Lois Bolick leads security, risk and management practices for HPE Pointnext, consulting and professional services. As a key factor in digital transformations, the mission’s practice is to improve security, such as business and technology, to achieve faster evaluation times. It coordinates its business strategy and focus areas to complement HPE, HPE GreenLake and other practices to provide cohesive and relevant offerings to HPE customers.
Lois is a Certified Chief Security Officer and a Certified Information Security Manager. She is an active member of the C | CISO Council of the EC Council, where she offers her time and skills to develop the C | CISO Body of Knowledge program and book. Her experience in project implementation includes IT consolidations, secure internet banking, infrastructure security and identity management projects. Lois also provides consulting services for building IT organizations, IT operations, project management and application development.