Even for companies that had a well strategized business continuity plan, the pandemic was completely unexpected.
Having very little time to transition to a fully remote workforce and dealing with the changes in consumer buying behavior at the same time was a big wakeup call.
Companies in Sturgeon Bay and the rest of the country realized there were new forces out there that could completely put them out of business if they weren’t prepared.
Rethinking wired and wireless networks, reviewing virtual desktops, and considering VoIP services, are just a few of the new discussions being had by business owners right now.
Studies show that 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster.
Tentative reopenings are currently underway around the country, with business leaders having one main question on their minds, “How do we prepare for the next unknown crisis?”
Preparing Your Business for the Unknown
Most business owners didn’t envision the events of the COVID-19 pandemic and had to adjust as they went along. While previous disaster preparedness may have made remote employees an easier transition, many didn’t prepare for months of nearly everyone (vendors, customers) being under stay-at-home orders.
The reopening is also not exactly “business as usual.” Many companies have had to install protective shields, distancing signage, and make accommodations for masks and disinfecting.
So, how do you prepare yourself before the next global pandemic, alien invasion, or other unexpected crisis? Here are several tips to help you be ready for anything.
Use the Cloud for All Processes You Can
The pandemic lockdowns make it very clear to business owners that you need to be able to run your company from anywhere, if at all possible.
While there are certain industries, like manufacturing, that will have some things that just can’t be done remotely, for anything that can, it should be in the cloud.
Identify anything that held you back during the pandemic. Did you have trouble keeping your on-premises phone lines answered? If so, it’s probably time to consider VoIP so you’ll be ready for another event that requires evacuating your building.
You’ll want to put cloud technology in place for all work processes that you can. If you prefer having more control over your apps, look into a Platform as a Service (PaaS) option, like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.
Make a Plan for Your Employee Workstations
Were computer workstations one of the road bumps you encountered when employees had to work from home for several weeks?
Did you have your employees login remotely to workstations? Take them home? Work from their own personal computer? All these options can be risky if they’re not well planned out ahead of time, and many businesses found this out the hard way.
36% of surveyed companies have had a security incident caused by an employee working remotely.
Decide on a workstation policy upfront and how the strategy you choose will be secured to ensure you don’t leave your network vulnerable to a breach.
One potential way to solve the workstation issue is to migrate your company from reliance on physical workstations to virtual desktops. This puts all your computers’ assets in a cloud environment that can be easily accessed from any device. All data and files stay safely stored in the cloud desktop environment.
Make Sure Your Team Has IT Support
Employees that feel disconnected and without support while working from home can easily make mistakes when it comes to phishing emails. They can also struggle for hours with IT problems that could be addressed in minutes through remote support.
Having an ongoing relationship with a trusted IT provider (like Quantum PC) is critical to helping you get through any major crisis situation that changes your entire workflow. Your IT provider can help you secure your remote team, address new software needs, and give you the friend you need in the middle of a crisis.
Brainstorm New Ways to Serve Customers
A normal disaster, like a flood or fire, may take you out of your building for a while, but your customer interaction will pretty much remain the same. That’s not at all what happened during the COVID-19 crisis. Companies had to adjust to a completely new customer service and sales environment.
Pet stores began offering curbside service, artists were doing paid Facebook Live lessons, and local pizza places began selling their ingredients in bake-at-home kits. Companies reinvented ways to serve their customers.
Now is the time to brainstorm ideas for the next pandemic or other disaster that can keep your revenue stream alive when the way everyone lives and works is completely upended.
Document, Train, and Drill
Just like any other policy, your business continuity (aka: future-proofing) plan should be well documented. It also needs to be something that’s in the forefront of your team’s minds, not just a document on a shelf collecting dust.
Bring your employees in on the process so they can identify areas of weakness in your business processes that you may have missed. Train everyone regularly on your disaster scenarios and what to do and perform drills regularly (just like fire drills).
This will help ensure your plan is not only well practiced but also optimized, so you’ll be ready and resilient (not if but) when the next unexpected disaster strikes.
Plan for Unexpected Events with an IT Pro That Has Your Back
Quantum PC Services has your back in the face of unexpected events. Our team will help you plan for them and help you through them so you can come out stronger and more resilient than ever.
Contact us today to schedule your future-proofing consultation. Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.