Shelter-in-Place Checklist for Business Leaders
All over the country, businesses are struggling to keep up with the daily disruptions and risks posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. Social distancing and working from home is the new normal.
Over the past few days, the Protek team has been working overtime from our own home offices to help our clients adapt and stay productive in this time of crisis. We are standing by to answer our client’s burning questions and needs. We are here to help you to securely shift to remote work and to leverage technology to keep your operations running.
While health authorities in Utah have yet to issue any shelter-in-place orders, it is wise for business leaders to prepare for this potential outcome. With a shelter-in-place order, only essential businesses may continue to operate from office or retail locations. In this situation, large disruptions to normal operations are inevitable.
We created this checklist for business leaders to prepare, just in case more aggressive social distancing policies are enacted by local, state, or federal authorities. Protek is standing by to meet our clients’ needs:
- Maintain remote access to your computers and/or servers. All Protek managed services clients are allowed a 1:1 remote access connection to your work computer should the need arise. This means that Protek can quickly enable remote access so you can remotely connect to your office computer from your home computer. Please note that we require written permission from the owner or controller to setup remote access.
- Communications: Clients need to identify and test various communication methods before you are forced to use them.
- Phone system: Ensure your phone system can be routed or accessed while out of the office. If your office is shutdown, can you route your main phone number to a different phone number?
- Instant Messaging: Most Protek clients are Office 365 users. Office 365 comes standard with Microsoft Teams, which is a fantastic chat/video conferencing solution. Teams is included with your Office 365 subscription. Other options include Slack or Google Hangout.
- Text: Please note that you will need your employees cell phone numbers for this to be a good option.
- Email: Please do not forget that you can get to your email via web browser. You are not limited to working on you mobile device.
- Security: Often people will turn on or open up something without considering the security “holes” it may create. The threat actors (hackers) will have no sympathy for your situation and will continue to exploit ANY vulnerability they come across. Please consult with the Protek team on any questions about secure remote access to your computer, server, or network, especially if you are new to a working from home situation.
- Finances: Make sure you have the ability to pay bills and receive payments. If all staff need to work from home, make sure you have contingencies to retrieve checks from the mail or receive electronic (credit card/ACH) payment from your customers. Also do not forget about the ability to print/cut checks.
- Faxing? If you are still using analog physical fax machines it might be a good time to either switch to electronic faxing or to route your faxes to local or cloud file share where they can be accessed from outside of the office. Faxing to paper is so 1999!
- Access to Line of Business Applications (LOB): Software such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Accounting, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and any other enterprise software should be made accessible from outside of your office. Typically this is done through a Terminal Server which can also be called a Remote Desktop Services Server. If you host applications internally, but do not have full access externally to these applications, Protek can help.
- Redundant Internet connections: It has always been our recommendation that our clients utilize redundant Internet connections to ensure remote access to critical resources at your headquarters and key offices. If an inability to access your office systems from outside the office will highly impact your business operations, then we strongly advise the use of dual internet connections. An example is using two different providers such as First Digital, Comcast, Centurylink, Veracity Networks, etc.
- Mobile devices: Ensure that you have enough mobile devices for your staff to maintain secure, reliable, and supportable access to your office resources. Although your employees likely have personal home computers, it is not advisable to have them use those systems to connect remotely to your office systems. If business continuity is critical for your organization, it is advisable to keep a few extra laptops on hand so that your employees can use them in the event that working from home becomes an unplanned reality.
Obviously, there are many dimensions to business continuity planning and the COVID-19 outbreak. It is vital to make sensible preparations and contingencies now, just in case the situation worsens and work from home situations and outright office closures are mandated by the government.
Please reach out to Michelle Lawson at Protek Support to discuss any questions your company’s needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. Book a time with Michelle today.