Even if we completely set aside the COVID-19 Pandemic as a once-in-a-lifetime anomaly and just reflect on what other lessons 2020 has taught us, a key lesson is the importance of a Business Continuity Plan.  In just the past few months wildfires have ravaged homes and business out West, an unprecedented double hurricane followed by flooding occurred in the Southeast, a derecho in the Midwest damaged an entire year’s worth of crops, and numerous organizations around the country have experienced the adverse effects of civil unrest and the ever present Cyber Attack danger. Businesses and organizations throughout the nation have been affected, some irreparably. Now, more than ever it’s critical to ensure your business’ survival with a solid Business Continuity Plan.

What is Business Continuity Planning?

Business Continuity Planning is a preventative process an organization undergoes to create a recovery system from potential threats, both manmade and natural disasters, or even cyber-attacks. A Business Continuity Plan is designed to protect personnel and assets, then make sure they can function quickly when disaster strikes.  Basically, a Business Continuity Plan helps an organization mitigate its downtime, and ultimately its losses, when an issue occurs.

We have addressed the importance of Business Continuity in past articles here:

Are You Prepared?

Irrespective of the challenges you and your business, or organization, are dealt, have you considered whether you’re adequately prepared?  Is your data infrastructure protected, is it safely accessible from anywhere? Are Cyber Security measures up to date?  Should something happen, could you continue operations and keep your business going? We are only at the tail end of Q3 for 2020, who knows what else will get thrown at us in Q4?

Every organization no matter how big or small needs to review their ability to operate when unexpected issues arise. If you already have a Business Continuity Plan in place and have for some time, great!  However, just having a plan isn’t enough. Regular, periodic reviews of your existing plan are important to identify and address any holes or new issues and threats. Take our Business Continuity Assessment Quiz to see how ready your organization is: https://univista.com/univista_dr_quiz/

If you’ve never considered a Business Continuity plan for your business, it’s critical to do so – NOW – and get something in place immediately.  Please contact your UniVista Account Manager to schedule a consultation to review your organization’s needs, we can help you implement an effective plan to help keep your business safe during challenging times. 

The Benefits and Challenges of Working from Home.

PART 2 – Protecting Yourself

You’ve probably heard this a hundred times by now: COVID possibly has changed all of our business practices to the point that all of us may never go back to the way we all did business. These changes require that business processes are reevaluated and updated. For example, much like protecting yourself and your loved ones during COVID by social distancing, good hygiene and wearing a mask, during all challenging times it’s equally important to protect your business with good Security processes. 

Business on Business Computers Only

We have mentioned this previously, but it is certainly always worth repeating:  Counsel employees to limit their work exclusively to Business Computers.   While it may not always be convenient for the employee, your business systems contain the latest security technology and are updated/maintained regularly.  While some employees may be more diligent than others keeping their personal technology safe, it is not worth the risk with the ever-present dangers of hackers and malware, etc.  Home-based networks rarely contain the same level of security and oversight which organizational networks do.  Be very emphatic with this business policy.

New and Ongoing Cybersecurity Threats. Stay Vigilant.

Since we brought up hacking, it’s important to realize that COVID has unleashed a whole new level of hackers, hack bots and COVID-related scams. Unfortunately, this is our reality and it’s important that employees are aware these things are happening both online and via phone. Don’t get distracted by the daily challenges and changes with COVID and become lax with cyber threats and scams.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is a great resource which issues alerts and guidance on current attacks and vulnerabilities.  Hackers thrive during periods of crisis and chaos and your employee’s actions (or inactions) are your best and first line of defense.  If you haven’t already now is the time to clarify policies to employees regarding acceptable use practices. If you have any questions or concerns on how to mitigate cybersecurity issues in your organization, or if you would like us to run a home security network assessment please reach out to your UniVista Account Manager.

Device Management.

Even prior to employees working from home, organizations could find it challenging to manage all the devices allocated to their employees.  Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based mobile device manager which allows organizations to, not only control their devices, but also control the content on those devices.  Intune will manage Apps remotely as well as manage App permissions.  It will dictate backups on all devices and in the event a device is lost or stolen, the app will even allow organizations to remotely “wipe clean” all the content on the devices.  In Tune will help mitigate the concerns many organizations have about their private data winding up in the wrong hands.


Business Continuity

All the previously mentioned measures, technology and practices will help improve your business’ chances of surviving not only during our current crisis, but any future chaos which may occur. To improve your business viability during a disaster the next best step is to establish good Business Continuity processes. This month we will discuss how to establish and maintain a good Business Continuity plan that will grow with your business. We are also going to list a variety of services that you can incorporate into your business to make your Business Continuity Plan more powerful and easier to use.

If you’re like me, your personal finances and assets are linked in some manner directly to your business. This can be a potentially scary proposition during time like these. If the past few months have taught you some lessons about business continuity and you’re ready to begin working on your Business Continuity plan then please reach out to your UniVista Account Manager to schedule your Business Continuity Assessment.

Link: Department of Homeland Security – Alerts and Guidance on Current Attacks and Vulnerabilities.