Pandemic Planning

With the general public seeming to be panic buying toilet paper and hand sanitiser many of our clients have been asking what should IT be doing to prepare. Although formal pandemic planning is quite an involved process, understanding your IT capabilities and governance processes is key to making sure that you are able to respond if required. With local authorities now predicting that peak risk of major disruption will be in August, we have come up with our top 5 questions that IT needs to be able to answer today.

They are:

  1. What percentage of your workforce would be able to simultaneously work from home with the existing remote access capacity? How many workers know how without instruction from IT?
  2. Has the technical architecture of your remote working systems been designed to provide the level of reliability required to support critical business tasks, or has it been design with a best efforts approach as you could “always drive into the office if it was important”?
  3. What IT capabilities are single man sensitive – does documentation exist to cover the recovery of failed key systems while key IT staff are on unexpected medical leave? Are security protocols robust enough to support mass remote working when key decision makers may be unavailable?
  4. What 3rd party suppliers or services are you critically reliant upon, and do they have a pandemic response plan in place? How easily is your off-site backup process disrupted?
  5. Is your IT support capability able to provide the required levels of service when a significant proportion of the workforce are not in the office? How many times are technical problems solved with a quick drop in to the IT guys desk?

Often these questions have answers that can surprise, and with the continuity of critical systems and IT services vital to the ongoing operation of any business we are finding many CEO’s are seeking to undertake an independent IT assessment to provide assurance that they are able to rely on those capabilities during an unexpected disruption. Fully understanding your existing capabilities and limitations, as well as reviewing your technical governance processes seems like a small step, however it can significantly improve an organisations ability to respond quickly and effectively to rapidly changing circumstances.

About Greg Spencer

Greg is a Founding Partner of Beyond Technology Consulting. Having held a number of senior executive positions in the past in a variety of technology industries; these roles included Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Vice President of Network & Operations and Chief Operations Officer. Greg’s engineering qualifications provides a sound technology base and he still retains solid technical credentials in IP and application network architectures today. With over fifteen years of industry technology management experience, Gregory is now part of the Beyond Technology Consulting team providing specialist telecommunications, business, program management and consulting skills.

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