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A strong business continuity plan is a must for any organisation; but more importantly, there should be a rapid response contingency plan within it. With storms and flooding impacting businesses across the UK and the potential for Covid-19 (coronavirus) to shut down entire offices, it’s crucial that businesses plan ahead. After all, fail to prepare – prepare to fail.

Now, the risk of a flood damaging your business is relatively low in the UK depending on your location, and the chances of Covid-19 impacting your organisation to the point where everyone has to work from home is pretty slim if you follow WHO guidelines properly. So why is a rapid response contingency plan so important? Because there’s still a chance it could happen and you don’t want to be caught out.

So what can you do?

Look At Your Plan

If you have a current business continuity plan, look over it and make sure it covers every interruption and make a note of what could impact your business. If you have a flood or fire, do you have ways your business can keep operating? Do you have other suppliers available if anything were to happen to them as well? Can your staff work from home with almost no notice? Can your office numbers be diverted to mobiles without you needing to be in the office?

Remote Worker Capabilities

Your IT infrastructure can already support your business if staff are located within offices. But what happens if they need to work from home? Do they all have their own laptops and mobile phones for work? Can they access work files? Are their systems secure?

Number Failover – if something were to happen, you need a system in place that ensures you can divert your office phone to designated numbers at the click of a button. Using something like Horizon can guarantee that just by logging into the portal you can divert your office numbers, making sure you don’t lose any important calls.

Office 365 – Office 365 is a subscription-based, software-as-a-service that you and your team can access from a web browser when needed as long as you have an internet connection. With Office 365 for business, you and your staff have access to the most recent versions of apps including: Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher. Depending on what plan you choose, you can also access Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive and a 50GB mailbox. This means that your staff can continue to work as normal even if they’re at home.

Off-site Backup – Moving the server environment from a traditional on premise model to hosting off-site in a secure data centre which is both secure in itself and able to transfer data to other secure sites at a moment’s notice, is a vital part of any disaster recovery plan. This ensures that if there was a flood or fire and your on-site servers were damaged beyond repair, you can still access your backups with no disruption to your business.

BYOD – If staff are allowed to use their own devices for work, it’s so important you have a solid security policy and software management system in place. Yes it is difficult to manage when it is a personal device, but within security policies, simple things like making sure you have two-step authentication processes switched on is crucial. You know that if staff need to work away from the office, your data is secure.

Businesses also need to invest in a security solution and management software that protects data from malware, can detect rogue applications and can remotely wipe the device if it is lost or stolen. All of this will add another layer of security to protect those devices against threats to the corporation network.

Secure Remote Working – As well as providing mobile device security, you should also look at a private SSL VPN, which will allow your team to access data shares and documents securely. It does this by encrypting the data as it’s sent over the internet so it can’t be intercepted.

Inform Your Team

Make sure your team knowns what would happen in the event of an emergency where they needed to work remotely. Create an internal communications plan including key messages, processes, avenues for feedback and updates. In the event of Covid-19 impacting your business, let them know what happens if they have to self-isolate, policies for group meetings, travel and policies around remote working.

Explain what would happen in the event of a flood or a fire so they can plan as well. Make sure to include a work-from-home strategy so staff know that in the event of an office shutdown, they are still expected to continue working but from a remote location, unless they are ill of course or on annual leave.

Make sure staff have given HR up-to-date contact details, so that if you need to get hold of them and inform them of changes to office working you can. Having open communication within your team is key to making sure your business can keep operating.

CSG can help you put these plans in place, so call our team on 0330 400 5465 today.

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