Posted by: Ed Becker | April 29, 2009

Is Pandemic Part of Your Business Continuity Planning?

 

surgical mask

surgical mask

The floods, earthquakes and tornadoes of 2008 motivated many companies to revisit or begin Business Continuity Planning. The recent news of a potential Swine Flu Pandemic is just one more reminder of the importance of having a working plan in place.  A vital piece of continuity planning is workforce planning specifically for a pandemic. This should include establishing remote access, web conferencing, and identifying backup sites incase sites go down.

In case of a pandemic, companies need to ensure that key personnel can work remotely with secure computer and internet access. Critical systems must be accessible with contingencies in place for access if key personnel get sick and their responsibilities need to be taken over. BeckITSystems includes products to secure workers and centrally manage remote desktops and laptops for all our clients.

In recent years businesses have focused on Business Continuity with specific Pandemic initiatives and virtualization server technology aimed at helping firms keep computer systems and network infrastructures up and running in the event of an outbreak or disaster.

Web conferencing will help your team stay productive and allow them to conduct business without having to travel during times of potential outbreak. Remote access to files and documents is critical to making web conferencing effective.

Locating and equipping a remote operations site during a crisis is next to impossible.  Companies such as Agility, specialize in continuity solutions that provide power, technology, space and connectivity in the event of a disaster.

This is a good opportunity for you to emphasize to your employees the normal flu season messages–hand hygiene, stay home if you don’t feel well, etc. Access to a guide for data backup and disaster recovery is located at www.ManageMyTechnology.com.  This blog recently featured a 12 part series on web-worker tools. Most of the tools are free, all are on the Internet and all provide excellent collaboration features plus management insight into the work. For more information on Business Continuity and Web-Worker Program Planning, you may contact BeckITSystems, Inc. on the web at www.BeckITSystems.com ; by email at KeepITGoing@BeckITSystems.com ; or by phone at (703) 433-0730.  

A podcast of a good success story of business continuity is found at www.BusinessTechRadio.com  I recommend this 3 minute mp3 to you!

Swine Flu Update

The recent cases of swine flu in Mexico and the US are concerning, because they have occurred in individuals who have not had contact with livestock, indicating human-to-human transmission.

The current year flu vaccine is not expected to provide protection.  And millions of Tamiflu treatment courses have been strategically positioned throughout the US.
 
Deaths have occurred in affected individuals in Mexico, and a 23 month old child in the U.S. died from this on 4/28/2009.

DHS analysis at this time is that disruptions to U.S. critical infrastructure will be low, with impacts on healthcare most likely as symptomatic individuals and worried well individuals seek medical attention.

Should the outbreak intensify, there may be additional effects resulting from increased absenteeism.

Beginning Tips for Business Continuity Planning

  • Establish one person as your Continuity Director and let your members know who that person is
  • Prioritize critical functions
  • Identify functions that could be suspended for up to two months
  • Identify positions needed to carry out critical functions
  • Build depth through cross training
  • Plan for alternative work schedules and implement a web-worker program
  • Continuity planning for your computer systems and workforce
  • Maintain a healthy work environment
  • Update sick leave and FMLA policies
  • Encourage/require ill employees stay home

 Basic precautions, such as hand washing and avoiding contact with symptomatic individuals are recommended.

 Key Points of Business Continuity Planning 

•     Establish one person as your Continuity Director and let your members know who that person is

•          Prioritize critical functions

•          Identify functions that could be suspended for up to two months

•          Identify positions needed to carry out critical functions

•          Build depth through cross training

•          Plan for alternative work schedules and implement a web-worker program

•          Continuity planning for your computer systems and workforce

•          Maintain a healthy work environment

•          Update sick leave and FMLA policies

•          Encourage/require ill employees stay home

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