We have previously shared blogs focused on how specific networking and collaboration solutions (Microsoft Teams, Windows Virtual Desktop, and Cisco Webex) help support businesses at times when remote working is needed. It’s recommended that the tools discussed be implemented before disaster strikes, as they usually play a major role in business continuity plans (BCPs). To ensure proper business operations during a disaster, organizations must have a BCP that outlines the supporting people and processes.
Another critical part of a BCP is to test it. Testing your plan uncovers details that may be overlooked when building the plan on paper. Anticipating the need for Accudata employees to work remote, we have begun testing our plan. This blog will detail the processes Accudata has gone through to ensure its BCP is set to sustain production through the COVID-19 outbreak and in anticipation of more unforeseeable situations where remote working spikes.
When testing your organization’s BCP, there are three main questions you want to answer:
- Can your systems and infrastructure handle the required capacity if the majority of your work force is remote?
- Are you properly licensed to use your systems all remotely?
- Do your users know how to perform their jobs remotely?
Can your systems and infrastructure handle the required capacity if the majority of your work force is remote?
Accudata uses several solutions to make the transmission from working in office to working remote seamless. The most commonly used solutions by our team are Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Microsoft Azure, and Cisco AnyConnect. Microsoft Teams helps our employees keep constant communication and collaborate on different projects within the Office 365 suite from anywhere possible with a Wi-Fi connection. Cisco Webex allows team members to host and attend virtual meetings with customers via webcam or phone with a click of a button. Microsoft Azure allows easy sign-in for work-related websites and cloud programs. Cisco AnyConnect ensures remote access to the company-wide database all employees normally auto-connect to when working in-office.
These programs, as well as our systems and infrastructure, are being “stress tested” by making our entire workforce remote over the course of two business days. Teams were split between working remote Tuesday and working remote Wednesday. This sudden spike of remote workers will help determine our systems’ ability to accommodate large groups.
Are you properly licensed to use your systems all remotely?
Checking if our systems are properly licensed is a part of Accudata’s disaster recovery planning. Additionally, performing a quick inventory as part of an SR can be done across applicable technologies. When we size our licensing, we always keep disaster recovery and BCPs in mind and size for those scenarios. In the case of COVID-19, we double-checked our systems that are responsible for remote connectivity, then tested these systems by having users work from home.
Do your users know how to perform their job remotely?
Accudata employees are trained on the tools and programs allowing them to work remotely within their first two weeks on the job. Many teams in Accudata also take part in our remote-day program. This program, enacted in the latter half of 2019, designates a bi-weekly remote work day for employees. Not only are these designated remote work days an added benefit of employment at Accudata, but it reinforces the skills and know how to use these programs in the case of emergency situations.
Testing is a crucial element of any BCP. No matter how much thought, expertise, and time went into its creation, testing is the only way to discover if your BCP will actually work properly in the case of dire need. If you are able to positively answer the three questions listed above, your organization may be on the right track with its BCP.