Synergy support during lockdown -IT continuity guidance

March 29th, 2020 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

Despite the necessary lockdown we are still providing support , as best we can using a range of technologies. Microsoft Teams is helping members of practice to collaborate and assist each other.

Other than for emergencies Site visits will cease for this week, however we will be available for screen sharing sessions and conference calls.

We understand these are difficult times. You may be faced with staff absence due to illness due difficulty with travel. Ensure there is a disaster recover/continuity plan in action. Intermittent social distancing approach might be the normal way we live for at least 12-18 months.

Cybercrime is also likely to increase with new scams.

Help us to help you.

Consider shift working or staggered hours or hybrid office and home working as means to social distancing.

What if your available staff was cut by 50% for two weeks, or by 25% for 2 months? Consider if your System Admin is not there and your staff are home working.?

Improve your defences: Get servers, desktops, etc cleaned up of old temp files, update key patches and antivirus, clean down log files, review back up strategy and what is the current state of backups e.g on user laptops.
Write-up a list of your critical business services and applications that are essential to keep your company operating. Record the supplier and what you understand about their availability for remote working, for example:
- Main telephone line
- Email
- Database Applications
- Specialist “Line of Business’ applications (e.g. accountancy, architectural, legal)
- File Share and Documents
-Printers and Copiers.
Do you need additional flash storage to move or to back up data?
Who can give us access rights to dial into your system when needed?.
Who can add and suspend users?
Who can check backups?
Who can check logs?
Are key passwords securely stored?
What will be your procedure for support when your staff work from home?
Can staff take laptops home?
How will they dial into your network?
Data privacy laws
What new tools do you need? e.g.
- remote dial in connectivity e.g. to access a file on a network store
- enhanced security -you may have reduced staff to deal with any attack
- monitoring software
- central mobile network management e.g.to patch a device without needing it to come back to office.

Identify home-workers who are already set-up to work from home
Your business will already have users who regularly work from home. They will have some kind of mobile computer device that can access business cloud services or have secure access (VPN) into the office network to access on-premise services. These individuals are invariably set and ready to work from home.

Identify users that may access some business services available when out of the office (e.g. email on smartphone). These users may access certain business services, such as email, on a smartphone or home PC (webmail). However, is this be enough for them to do their jobs effectively. Identify what services they would need access to be fully productive if they were forced to work from home.

Identify users that have never accessed business technology system from anywhere but at the place of work. These users will likely work from a desktop computer in the office. They also have no remote working facility and may not even have a smartphone or home computer that can access business systems. Confirm that your users have working broadband Internet connection at their home
- Don’t take for granted that your users have broadband Internet at their homes or can get access to a good-quality connection.
- Is it adequate to access your business’ cloud and office systems.
- Confirm that your existing remote-working technology has the capacity to accommodate all of your users working remotely at the same time
- Even if you have the capability for remote working for all of users, have they all worked remotely simultaneously and can your business IT infrastructure handle this?
-Do they need any extra training to work this way?

- Speak to your IT team to ensure the equipment and bandwidth can withstand your entire organisation working from home.
- Speak to your telecoms providers and determine whether you have a cloud-based system. – If you have a cloud-based telecoms system then the likelihood of being able to setup remote extensions to manage your calls is very likely. Alternatively, you should very easily be able to divert your numbers online (via a portal).

If you have a fixed-line system, ask your provider how long it will take to setup a divert at the local telephone exchange and what is the process.

How will you leave policy be affected?

- Will there be return flights?
– What if staff are returning from an infected area?
- how much leave can they bring forward to supervise children off school or care for a sick relative?
How much can they defer because they can;t travel?

Travel Policy?
Airports, railway stations and other busy hubs almost certainly carry a higher risk than working in the office.

It may be a good idea to reduce face to face meetings and use online services like Teams to reduce travel risks.

Medical
Be ready for a rush of insurance claims.

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