Business owners need to have a backup plan in place in the event of someone in your company is confirmed with the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the office being shut down.
Without a doubt, the Covid-19 outbreak is going to impact your business. Over the last week, we have seen major companies like Google, Linkedin, Twitter etc all send employees home and to self isolate. What they were really doing was to test out if they can still operate their business with employees working remotely. All the businesses that serve these companies had a couple of tough days (cafes, cleaning companies, catering, services, etc). We have seen the University of Limerick move to give lectures online instead of packing out lecture halls. The pubs, shops, and vendors that service the campus will undoubtedly suffer. You need to think about what your customer base looks like and what are the knock-on effects are for you.
And more importantly, can you support your customers with your employees working remotely from home?
You need to make sure you can still carry out work for your clients and be able to bill for it. Don’t get stuck behind the curve because the earlier you act the better your company can function and mitigate the risk of lost income.
The chances are you have a Fire Safety Plan for your company. Having a Coronavirus backup plan or just a general backup plan for remote working in case of a crisis is just as important in terms of business continuity. Now is the time to put this plan together. Check out our list of items that you need to consider when it comes to drafting your Working Remotely Plan.
Coronavirus Backup Plan
Do you need laptops for all staff to work from home?
The short answer is no. Not all employees need a laptop to work remotely. If you are working on the Cloud then any device can be configured to access your desktop. In fact, some of our employees regularly use an iPad to connect to the cloud. They have the same functionality as they would if they were sitting at their office PC. Chromebooks are another cost-effective device to access the cloud. If you are not running a cloud infrastructure then YES you will need a laptop or desktop PC to get the same functionality via a VPN (See the VPN point below).
Why a VPN needs to be set up to safety access shared drives on your network?
If you are working on the cloud, such as the Radius Cloud or Azure infrastructure, then you use a VPN to gain access to the cloud and all of your systems, apps, and files. A VPN can also be set up to connect a user to the terminal server in the same way. The VPN ensures that data is encrypted in transit.
*Disclaimer: You may be putting your data at risk if the files are being downloaded and stored on a local laptop in a worker’s home.
Do you have Two Factor Authentification set up for all employees on their emails?
If you use Office365 for email then you are in luck! This means all staff can access their emails on the go from any device. As a security precaution, you must set up 2FA so their browser just doesn’t give them access straight away. 2FA gives them an SMS code or token to enter to authenticate the identification of the user. 2FA is available from most cloud-based business apps and can be set up. Please note you will need an administrator to do this. Radius customers need to get in touch with us so we can set this up for you.
Are all staff using Office 365 profiles?
If the answer is yes then you will at least have remote access to Outlook emails and all the other Office 365 products like Sharepoint, Onedrive, Teams, Word, Excel etc. All they need is access to a web browser to access their files and shared files via the cloud. Make sure 2FA configured and that employees are not saving files locally to hard drives as unsynced data will cause inconsistencies and even corrupt files.
Can staff access business-critical apps outside the office?
In the accountancy sector apps like Sage, Relate etc., are business-critical. All professional services businesses have industry-specific apps be it ERP, scheduling, project management, logistics, appointments, client profiles, medical history etc. These larger apps tend not to be cloud-based (Saas) due to their historical, age or compliance aspects. Your employees won’t have access to non-cloud based apps like they would with Office 365. They will need remote access to these apps set up in advance.
Did you know softphones can replace your office phones?
Don’t let phones go unanswered. A Cloud-based phone system is ideal for businesses enduring a crisis because you can turn any device (e.g. a smartphone, tablet or laptop PC) into your business phone via an app. Furthermore, you can configure a follow-me effect where an auto-attendant menu will still route inbound phone calls to the right extension numbers regardless of location. Any outbound calls will still present the office number (caller ID). If you have an on-premise VOIP solution then you can still turn your smartphone into your office phone via an app. Contact our Telecoms team for more information email email@example.com.
Can employees use their own devices for company work at home?
Some companies already have BYOD policy – Bring Your Own Device – to whether they are in compliance with GDPR depends on a number of factors. The main one is how the data is stored, either in the cloud or locally on the employee-owned device. Can they copy/paste from business apps? You also have to consider how these devices are configured in terms of security. These devices, if connected to the network need to have a VPN for data encryption during transit (makes safe on unsecured wifi) and up to date anti-virus software. Failure to do so may give hackers an easy way into your office network.
At Radius, we can help you with a coronavirus backup plan in case of any event, either from advice or an action point of view. . Please get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Existing customers can get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com. You can also speak to us by calling 0818 592 500.