Why CEOs are Smart to Care About Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity

Disaster Recovery
Disaster Recovery

The pandemic has forced many companies to make significant changes in the way they conduct their business — especially the way in which their employees use corporate technology systems. While many companies adroitly managed a multitude of drastic changes within a short span of time, others organizations may have unknowingly left some gaps that could leave them vulnerable to significant issues — especially if they should experience a catastrophic event. This article will review four key areas that could significantly impact business continuity if a disaster should occur in the middle of the pandemic.

Offsite Data Backup 

Even if a company had a solid plan in place regarding their offsite data backup before the pandemic, it’s still a good idea to determine if that plan will still be just as effective under current working conditions. Staff members responsible for data restoration after a disaster should verify that their plan to obtain and restore offsite data is still a smooth, functioning operation.

The Threat of Network Downtime

Since the pandemic, many companies shifted the bulk of their workforce to remote locations, and this has not gone unnoticed by data hackers and thieves. This shift noticeably increased the risk that criminals may gain access to critical apps and data on networks. While in the best of circumstances, it’s difficult to maintain continuity if a single app and its data has been compromised, in the worst case scenario, if hackers manage to bring down an entire network, or if a network is down from some type of natural disaster, companies can take a significant hit in lost revenue for every hour of downtime. 

Fortunately, there are BCDR products now available that will allow organizations to continue to run operations by way of backup instances of virtual servers — and in some instances they can extend this service to the cloud.

Increased Risk of Disaster  

While many companies and their employees are grateful they are still in business due to the fact they can operate remotely, having a dispersed workforce located in many different physical settings, does open up the increased possibility of a security attack. Hackers have long since taken note of the huge influx of remote workers and have increasingly focused their efforts on looking for any vulnerabilities that will allow them to gain access to systems that were formerly heavily secured.

Companies must make sure they have thoroughly trained their employees on the do’s and don’t of good computing practices, including using strong passwords, not sharing computer equipment with family members, keeping any paper trails of confidential information under physical lock and key within the home, and not using their own smart phones or personal email to conduct work-related tasks. 

Other potential disasters which can disrupt business continuity include the use of unsecured Wi-Fi either within the home, or out in public. In addition, some employees may feel somewhat disconnected from their employment in general, and may dismiss a suspicious email or the look of a questionable website, when under normal circumstances they would have called the tech team working down the hall to come and investigate. Companies must train their employees to remain vigilant against attacks even though their physical surroundings and access to others within the company may be very different.  

Do you Have a Plan? 

Not only is it critical to have a plan for disaster recovery efforts during the pandemic, it’s also critical to know how effectively it works. In the rush to ensure that a company’s workforce was up and running as quickly as possible, the effect of all the changes this required upon an organization’s disaster recovery plan, may have been overlooked. 

Unfortunately, the threat of a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood, or fire do not necessarily subside just because the world is experiencing a pandemic. Just as companies were required to make significant changes in the way they operate, they must also secure their ability to maintain business continuity even in the event of a natural disaster.

If you want to know how to determine if you’re ready for a disaster even during a pandemic, please contact us.

Working Together, Apart: The Office Guide to Social Distancing

Social Distancing
Social Distancing

As many companies move into the next stage of a phased reopening plan, it’s an exciting time to get the team back together and return to business as usual. Our new normal may look a little different in the wake of COVID-19, but one thing we know is that our dynamic crew can adapt, excel, and succeed together even when we’re apart.

AE Technology Group is here to support our business clients in a successful reopening with these key tips on creating social distancing in any office space.

Lean, Mean, and Sparkling Clean

Although our offices may be running at half capacity until we slowly transition into a full workplace, there’s never been a greater need for cleanliness. Think beyond the recycling bin and develop a rotating schedule for disinfecting common areas. Frequently disinfect surfaces such as conference room tables, kitchen spaces, and front desks.

Remember that COVID-19 can survive for 24 hours to three days on hard surfaces! Daily cleaning proactively eliminates viral germs before they have time to spread. Divide tasks between in house staff members, bearing in mind flexible schedules as teams continue to increase hours. 

Consider temporarily removing shared coffee stations, microwaves, and community cupboards. As an alternative, treat your staff to a weekly local business luncheon and offer a coffee perk card instead of the traditional water cooler. Not only is this a great way to show your team how valuable they are, but it’s a responsible strategy for minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

Last but not least, please emphasize that everyone — yes, everyone — must wash their hands. 

Personal Space and the No Contact Bubble

Social distancing in the workplace is a simple matter of making the most of any space available. This may entail rearranging desks and cubicles to allow for the appropriate distancing of 6-feet apart. Considering establishing a sign-up sheet for conference rooms and limiting capacity to under ten individuals. Providing masks is a great idea to protect vulnerable workers, as well as utilizing plexiglass and other barriers to avoid direct peer-to-peer or client contact.

Small businesses may need to think outside the cubicle box and “create space” by employing back-to-back or side-to-side stations rather than front-facing ones whenever possible. Another tactic for reducing the number of people each person has contact with is to divide your staff into teams or partners so that each individual only works with 3-5 other individuals.

Provide hand sanitizer at all workstations and minimize shared devices such as phones by encouraging the use of headsets instead. Consider staggering shifts to avoid a crowd during the opening and closing hours. With a little teamwork, your company can enjoy a seamless reopening while doing your part to protect our staff and our clients.

Viruses: Not Just for People

Once you’ve implemented a germ proof social distancing plan, it’s time to take a look at technology considerations while returning to a new normal. Many staff members will likely still be working remotely for some portion of their workweek. Support your team by ensuring your network is encrypted with a strong firewall and confidential client information is well protected. Discourage the use of personal devices such as laptops, tablets, and phones for work purposes as these are often easily compromised and prone to viruses of the digital kind. Instead, assign laptops to each key member along with a list of available IT resources for training, troubleshooting, and more.

Stay connected with seamless all-in-one communication and project management software. Microsoft Teams is the number one choice for collaboration from conference calls to client meetings. Securely access and share files through SharePoint and OneDrive for added efficiency from home or anywhere in the office.

Need a little extra help migrating to a socially distant workspace? Our experts are here to help with practical strategies for meeting your business’ technology needs and keeping everyone healthy, happy, and ready to crush that 9 to 5 grind.