How to Prepare Your Business for the End of Lockdown

How to Prepare Your Business for the End of Lockdown

2020 has held many unexpected challenges along with a wealth of opportunities for collaboration and adaptation in the modern business arena. If there’s one lesson the evolving year has for trend savvy business owners, it’s that today’s workplace is ready for anything. Gone are the days of the traditional 9 to 5. A dynamic, fluid model sets the standard for the future with everyone’s focus on a successful reopening. Consider these key tips on how to prepare your business for the end of lockdown.

Devise a Plan

The current health crisis means exercising strategic flexibility as circumstances may change from day to day. Many businesses aren’t rolling out the reopening balloons just yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start moving towards a normal work week. A staggered schedule is the perfect next step for returning companies.

Consider which roles necessitate an office presence. These positions should be marked as priority for a gradual reopening. Operating at half capacity or rotating shifts throughout the day is an excellent tool for encouraging social distancing and minimizing a crowded workspace.

Discuss any safety concerns with your key workers and be prepared to accommodate any health or scheduling related anxieties for vulnerable staff. Remember, some of your best teammates may still be playing part-time teacher to their children as well as full time executives! Phasing into a reopening as well as maintaining clear lines of communication with employees, vendors, and clients will ensure everyone knows what to expect by the time the red ribbon is cut and the doors are open on Monday morning.

Be Proactive in Prevention

The best way to ensure a successful reopen and mitigate the chance of future closures is to support your team’s health and wellbeing. It’s a great idea to invest in essential PPE such as masks, hand sanitizer, and plexiglass dividers. Arrange office spaces accordingly, allowing for 6-feet of distance between work stations. They may mean utilizing non-traditional spaces such as conference and break rooms as open workspaces for ongoing collaboration.

Consider implementing varying hours to avoid the 8 a.m. rush or having multiple side doors for entry and exit. Now that travel has resumed (and many of our stressed out parents are in need of a vacation), clearly communicate protocol for out of state excursions such as mandatory 14-day remote work or wearing masks following any long distance travel. Use signage on sinks to remind everyone of the power of hand washing and don’t be afraid to invite your employees to collaborate on ways we as a team can make the office a cleaner, safer environment. Re-engaging your staff is a vital part of the reopening process and a great way to ensure your team feels that their feedback is valuable and timely.

Clients, Vendors, and Training for What’s Ahead

With a staff schedule finalized, the next priority is to alert key contacts of the reopening as well as any potential changes to normal business hours. For vendors, ensure department managers are equipped to communicate their needs and work alongside supplier availability. Many vendors will also be operating under reduced hours so it’s important to schedule deliveries well in advance in order to accommodate any hard and fast deadlines.

Once the technical details have been worked out, it’s time to tell clients that you’re back in business. Remember to keep the tone of all communications positive and encouraging while maintaining a sense of reliability in the midst of COVID-19. Clearly announce any limited hours, state whether masks will be required, and what (if any) services have not yet resumed. Advanced appointment booking and contactless payment are excellent tools for making everyone feel safe while returning to normal. Be sure to spread the message on all digital communications platforms, using email, SEO, and blog announcements to get the word out.

Last but not least, don’t slack on training due to the current health crisis. Technology is more important now than ever for keeping us connected and delivering efficient products and services. Hackers and cyber criminals are quick to take advantage of the growing number of remote workers. Every staff member plays a significant role in ensuring data and confidential information is protected. 

Schedule a virtual meeting to discuss common phishing schemes, particularly those centered around COVID-19 and other recent scams to be aware of, and take a moment to review firewalls and system integrity. Your IT team has you covered as you begin the next phase of your company’s future.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Benjamin Franklin was certainly correct when he coined the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This time-honored quote is just as true in today’s world of information technology, as it was true hundreds of years ago in completely different sets of circumstances.

When it comes to technology — specifically, data loss prevention, an ounce of preparedness can go a long way in either avoiding a data disaster altogether, or at least mitigating its impact if a business should ever encounter a man-made disaster.

What is Data Loss Prevention?

Data loss prevention is both a set of software technologies and an overall business strategy. Combined together, and both sharing the same goal of ensuring users are prohibited from sending vital or sensitive data to entities outside the sphere of their corporate network, companies can be assured they are doing everything they can to protect one of their most vital corporate resources — their data. 

Why is it Needed?

While some of the more obvious pieces of data that an employee would not share with others, such as employee social security numbers, birthdates, and proprietary information about a company’s key business processes, some information is not so black and white. A company may want to list an employee’s name and contact information somewhere on their website so they will be accessible to potential clients.

However, by making this information public, it also creates the potential for hackers to pose as the employee and then attempt to contact another employee within the company, perhaps asking for confidential information. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting employee doesn’t realize they’ve just been a victim of a phishing attack until it’s too late.

Making it Happen 

As today’s hackers become more sophisticated, the creation of a data loss prevention strategy means it’s critical for businesses to review every piece of data that employees deal with and determine the level of protection needed. Once a business reviews all the information that flows through their company, it’s time to turn to software technologies to make sure their data is continually protected.

Fortunately, there are fully automated software technologies available that can examine all of a company’s data, along with the organization’s policies for handling each data type. The software application then decides the level of protection required based upon the company’s outlined policies. If an employee attempts to pass along information to someone who is not cleared to receive the data, a warning message from the security software will pop up, alerting the employee to their incorrect action and the software will prevent the information from proceeding any further.

How to Find Help 

While it certainly sounds like a good idea to evaluate all corporate data, devise a strategy, and then find software that will fit within a company’s strategic plan, in reality, it’s a daunting task for most companies. Corporate leaders are simply not so immersed in the world of technology to stay focused on all the new and more complicated ways in which hackers attempt to steal data.

It just isn’t realistic to think a business whose focus is on running their organization in an entirely different industry, has the technological expertise to sift through all their data to determine the level of protection required for each piece of information. And it takes some expertise to marry the right security technologies to an individual company to ensure they have just the right amount of data protection they need.

Summary

If you would like to know more about creating a data loss prevention strategy, we can help. We can assist in evaluating your organization’s data, as well as select the right software applications that will provide the level of protection you need.

Please contact us today for more information.