Pandemic Planning: Businesses Must Be Prepared For The Next Major Pandemic

Industry disruption caused by COVID-19 shows businesses need crisis strategies. Managed IT solutions deliver remote access and real-time communication.  

Proactive Pandemic Planning Strategies

Industry disruption caused by COVID-19 shows businesses need crisis strategies. Managed IT solutions deliver remote access and real-time communication.  

A well-crafted risk management strategy accounts for every possible disruption scenario. But few, if any, risk managers could have foreseen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place orders across parts of the country. Government officials, health agencies, and industry leaders are all pivoting to help hard-working Americans weather the storm and continue to generate a paycheck and keep businesses operational.

But this crisis must not be considered a unique occurrence. Natural disasters, pandemics, terrorism, and other forces beyond our control cause business disruption across sectors. That’s why thoughtful business strategies require secure managed IT solutions to avert setbacks the next time a crisis strikes.

Pandemic Planning For Businesses

Many Businesses Ill-Prepared for ‘Worst Case Scenarios’

The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a hard lesson that we must all be prepared for nation-wide and protracted disruption. But the good news is that we live and work in the technology age. Remote capabilities are in place to buoy industries, and managed IT preparedness occupies a central role. According to a 2018 Forrester Global Continuity Preparedness Study, these are levels of strategic planning risk managers have in place.

  • Approximately 88 percent provision employees with remote capabilities to work via the internet
  • Roughly 75 percent have an alternative site in place to implement recovery
  • Approximately 63 percent have a strategy to move offices outside the impacted area
  • Only 28 percent have a plan for mobile recovery

While there are undoubtedly thoughtful strategies in place for many organizations, businesses are now tasked with achieving 100 percent remote capabilities, and that requires determined managed IT services.

Critical Pandemic Planning Steps

It may sound counterintuitive, but the current crisis presents a type of worst-case scenario that can be built upon right now. If your organization is struggling to maintain productivity through a remote workforce, you are learning valuable lessons that can be part of a larger remote workforce conversation. These are three critical steps that your leadership team can take to launch an expansive pandemic plan.

  • Tap Executive Leader: Select a driven thought leader to select key department heads and stakeholders for high-level discussions and future follow through.
  • Conduct Full Review: Have your team conduct a thorough review of current and anticipated business impact as a result of the COVID-19 disruption.
  • Craft & Implement a Pandemic Response Strategy: Set up video conferencing and engage in high-level discussions to identify challenges and how managed IT can overcome them. Craft your managed IT solutions now in conjunction with an experienced third-party professional.

Entrepreneurs and CEOs are already discovering the remote workforces are the key to maintaining operational integrity during significant disruptions.

Information & Communication Technology (ICT) in Pandemic Response

Once your workforce has the critical infrastructure to function remotely, critical messaging remains a crucial component to continuity. This entails creating pathways for virtual communication, which should happen early and often.

“Err on the side of frequent and regular communication,” Forrester states. “A robust communication strategy is one of the areas that all business continuity plans seem to lack.”

A comprehensive remote communication strategy calls for the management team as well as employees to be equipped with secure endpoint devices and communication platforms. These may include the following.

  • Secure cellphones, laptops, and devices that can access business networks
  • Microsoft Teams, Slack, or other widely used business communication platforms
  • Leadership memos emailed to the workforce to build confidence and set the direction

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the business community’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of overcoming a crisis. Business visionaries understand that the time is now to act to implement long-term strategies. Managed IT has emerged as the bedrock of any pandemic response plan.

Greg LaScala