One of the most frustrating challenges to have come out of the COVID-era were supply chain issues.  During the early days of COVID, organizations of various sizes were trying to balance the needs of employees suddenly working from home, with the needs of new or ongoing in-house technology infrastructure and cybersecurity requirements. The sudden increase in technology requirements quickly led to a lack of product availability, which subsequently led to exceptionally long lead times. This “perfect storm” of issues relating to technology especially (among other shortages), really created a problem for a number of organizations who found themselves caught off guard. Suddenly everyone became critically aware of, and also very interested in, the world of logistics. 

Business Continuity planning doesn’t have to be frustrating!

What have we learned?  By most accounts supply chain issues and overall logistics problems will continue for the foreseeable future. According to the NY Times; ( “A Normal Supply Chain is Unlikely during 2022”.  Because of what we experienced, supply chain issues and broader asset management requirements need to be addressed as part of an ongoing Business Continuity Plan review.

What can you do? Review what assets your organization has, what condition those assets are in, and predict what your organization may need for the next year or longer.  Is your organization dealing with aging computers and servers?  Will you need to begin replacing certain technology in the coming months?  If so, plan and budget for it NOW and discuss your upcoming requirements with your UniVista account representative well in advance.  It’s important to get an idea of current or expected future costs and anticipated lead times well in advance, so you can budget and manage your acquisitions appropriately.

Additionally, review your Asset Management strategies. Does your organization know where all its laptops, smartphones and tablets are?  As some organizations start to bring employees back onsite, whether it’s full time in the office, or a hybrid of work-from-home combined with work-from-office, it’s critical to get a handle of not only where an organization’s assets are, but also what condition they’re in, whether they’re now surplus, or even whether they need to be retired or replaced.  If you have any concerns or need help with a strategy on how best to manage your organizations technology assets, please contact your UniVista Account Rep.

As the world adjusts, and as technology companies adopt new strategies or start to warehouse more inventory, logistics and supply chain issues “should” eventually improve.  However, no one expects that to happen any time soon.  Remember, part of a good Business Continuity Plan is hoping for the best but planning for the worst. Let us know how UniVista can help.

It’s obvious that the COVID experience has changed, not only our World, but also our way of thinking, along with an adjustment in our priorities.  Early on during the pandemic businesses closed and sent employees to work from home, or in some industries, sadly, they simply laid them off.  Individuals fortunate enough to keep their jobs had to adjust to both working from home with its myriad of distractions, while managing their fears, and for some, eventual overwhelming feelings of isolation.  Businesses, organizations, and managers suddenly had to figure out effective ways to communicate with staff, try to maintain ongoing projects and productivity, while creating some sort of Team Synergy, all from a distance.  Then IT Managers were challenged with accommodating everyone’s new remote needs, doing it safely and securely, while simultaneously putting safety protocols in place AND dealing with significant supply chain issues within the technology sector. 

There literally was a scramble to balance the need for social distancing with the need to maintain ongoing organizational functions.  Not fun…it certainly wasn’t “Business as Usual”. In short many organizations and individuals simply were unprepared.  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: this is why it’s so important to, not only have a business continuity plan in place, but also to review the plan regularly.

What have we learned?  Bad actors and cybercriminals will literally take advantage of ANY situation – even a worldwide pandemic. According to BusinessWire: “81% of global organizations experienced increased cyber threats with 79% experiencing downtime due to a cyber incident during a peak season.”

As employees began working from home cybercriminals unleased a bevvy of Covid-related Phishing Scams.  And, because of the heightened state of fear and general uncertainty, many individuals weren’t necessarily prepared for the attacks and clicked on things they shouldn’t have. Nor did some individuals appreciate the distinction between work devices and personal devices, as a result numerous cyber-compromises occurred.  In all fairness, because a lack of preparedness, along with subsequent supply chain issues some individuals only had their home devices available – the very same devices their kids likely used for school, gaming, social media, plus general youthful online shenanigans. Unfortunately, some families’ personal devices were better secured than others, which means a host of vulnerabilities were discovered very quickly.

Working from home is not without challenges.

At this point, 2 years later, it is a generally accepted principle that work devices should only be used for work, no matter how convenient it is to grab the iPad in your kitchen and respond to an email, etc.  Generally, work devices are considerably better secured against most cyber security pitfalls. And again, at this point, employees should be well equipped with work devices in their “home-offices”.   However, It’s still important to ensure that personal technology is also equipped with the necessary security software, anti-virus and anti-malware software. If you have questions on possible vulnerabilities in your devices, please don’t hesitate to contact your UniVista Account Rep.

Passwords, passwords, passwords.  We now have the challenge of too many passwords across too many devices – that includes both personal devices and work devices.  It’s highly recommended to use a Password Manager to relieve frustration and the constant password reset scenarios.  If you have any questions on Password Management, again please don’t hesitate to contact your UniVista Account Rep.

Secure collaboration and communication tools are now part of a day-to-day routine as many employees continue to work remotely.  Whether you’re using something like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or something else, if not set up properly these tools can have major security gaps.  Individuals should take advantage of built-in security measures like waiting rooms, meeting passwords and participant authentication.  I’m sure many have heard stories about various meetings being hijacked by cyber-trolls. If you have any questions regarding the collaborative or communication tools your organization is using, please contact your UniVista Account Rep.

As the Covid-situation somewhat improves, what is the “New Normal?  While many individuals prefer working from home and enjoy an improved work-life balance, including no commute, employers are also struggling to find a balance.  Some industries and companies have required employees to return to the office, others are continuing to explore the benefits and drawbacks of remote workers.  Others are experimenting with a hybrid scenario of some remote work and some in office work. There definitely has been a bit of a culture-shift and it will be interesting to see what that “New Normal” is.