Prepare Your Organization for a Reaction to Coronavirus

The city of San Francisco just declared a state of emergency over the Coronavirus. Other cities will follow suit – maybe yours.

I’m in San Francisco right now at the RSA cybersecurity conference. Hand sanitizer is everywhere, and people are using it.

Italy shut down some towns. There is a possibility, however remote, and perhaps not for months, that US cities might shut down too. Prepare for the potential impact on your organization. For example, if schools shut down, will some of your workers, including IT team members, be unable to come into work because they need to stay at home to watch their youngsters?

Make sure all of your network users can work from home concurrently. Your IT team might need to increase the capacity of your servers to handle the additional workload. Can your workers use their phones to conduct business remotely? Does your IT team need to set up remote VoIP phone clients? Are IT team members cross-trained to be able to cover other workers’ duties? Does everyone know who to contact at your company for the most current information?

Even if your workers can work, they will put the safety of their families first. When Italy shut down some towns, the grocery stores ran out of food and supplies quickly. Encourage workers to stock up on food and products they usually buy, including non-perishables. They need to have enough medications. Once their family is taken care of first, then your workers can devote attention to work.

Prepare for loss of, or delays in, sales and income. Develop contingency plans. Would the loss of one of your primary suppliers devastate your business? Are you prepared if some essential piece of machinery, or network server, needs repair and you cannot get spare parts? Assign someone or develop a team at your company to focus on the risks and develop contingency plans. Remember IT.

Warn your workers that there will be an increase in spam and phishing as bad actors prey on their worries of the virus. They must be vigilant to spam and fake news.

For more information, Homeland Security offers suggestions at ready.gov/business/implementation/IT CDC provides a useful document at CDC.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/pdf/businesschecklist.pdf

Notice signs of things to come including a potential reaction to the virus. The falling stock market is a sign, Italy closing cities is a sign, and San Francisco declaring a state of emergency is a sign. Prepare now in case things start happening rapidly.

Please forward this to your friends so they can prepare their organizations for possible public panic and quarantines over Coronavirus.


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