TechTalk Detroit EP 007: Managing Business Continuity During The Coronavirus Pandemic

On the seventh episode of TechTalk Detroit, hosts Chuck Lobert & Brian Spurgeon return after a hiatus to talk about the coronavirus pandemic and what it means for businesses.

is your business prepared for the pandemic?

Remote work capabilities are essential for businesses that need their staff to successfully work from home during a crisis like the current coronavirus pandemic.

Have you been able to manage your staff effectively while they’ve been working from home? Have you created a business continuity plan to move forward?

This is precisely what Vision Computers Solutions’ Chuck Lobert & Brian Spurgeon chose to talk about on episode seven of TechTalk Detroit – listen to the full episode below:

“It’s that lingering question of, ‘what do we do?’,” says Brian. “Can we work remotely? Are we set up to work remotely? Are we secure enough to work remotely? There are a lot of questions that come into play.”

What Tools Do You Need To Keep Your Business Running?

“Ultimately, it’s a combination of having the right tools in place, and having the analytics in place to make sure that the data is what you would expect from a normal day,” says Chuck.

  • VoIP: If your staff has been using their personal smartphones for business calls so far, you’ve probably noticed some challenges. Does everyone have everyone else’s contact info? Are you going to reimburse employee phone plans for the additional charges? The simpler option is to roll out a softphone solution for your business, which provides business phone lines through the cloud to remote users.
  • Microsoft 365 & Teams: This solution is how your staff accesses business data. If your business is already in the cloud, then a lot of the work is done for you. For example, if you’re using Microsoft 365, your staff will just have to download local applications or use the browser-based version from home. Furthermore, as a primary form of communication, email is inconvenient and time-consuming. A daily meeting with your staff over a video platform like Microsoft Teams can put you all on the same page, and provide an opportunity to socialize (something many in-office workers are likely missing at this point).
  • Tracking & Analytics: Make sure that you, as a manager, have some form of oversight to track the completion of tasks, use of business phone lines, and overall productivity.

But you can’t only be concerned about keeping your employees productive – you also need to make sure you’re keeping your business secure.

Make Sure Your Remote Staff Is Maintaining Security

“That’s the trade-off to not losing productivity, is allowing people to work from home,” says Chuck.

Maintaining security means both having the right technologies in place and implementing the right policies:

  • VPN: When you use a virtual private network (VPN), your data is encrypted, or hidden, as it moves from your device to the VPN and then continues onto the Internet. That makes it harder for an attacker to identify you as the source of the data – no matter whether you’re on your mobile device’s data connection or using an unsecured retail Wi-Fi network while you’re in line for coffee.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: More and more organizations are using it for its security and ease-of-use. 2FA requires the user to utilize two methods to confirm that they are the rightful account owner. Biometrics like fingerprints, voice, or even iris scans are also options, as are physical objects like keycards. By requiring a second piece of information like a randomly-generated numerical code sent by text message, you’re better able to ensure that the person using your employee’s login credentials is actually who they say they are. Without 2FA enabled, if an employee’s VPN credentials are stolen, a bad actor could have unrestricted access to corporate data. That’s why VPNs need to integrate with 2FA solutions.
  • Follow A Mobile Device Management Policy: An effective MDM policy should also instill safe and secure practices for employees that use personal devices for business purposes. Key considerations include:
    • Decide When And How Mobile Devices Will Be Used. Integrated into your internal network, these devices can be used to access, store, transmit, and receive business data. You’ll need to have policies in place to regulate how employees use their devices to interact with sensitive data.
    • Consider How Mobile Device Use Can Pose Risks To Your Data. A risk analysis will help you identify vulnerabilities in your security infrastructure, and help you determine the safeguards, policies, and procedures you’ll need to have in place.

“The goal is to control that business data,” says Brian. “You don’t want it going out to somewhere you don’t know.”

Liked this article? Read more:

TechTalk Detroit: Working From Home

Do You Know How To Support Your Employees’ Productivity While They Work From Home?