13 Mar Business Continuity Planning for Small Business During the Covid 19 Coronovirus Pandemic
Some Practical Business Continuity Planning and IT Advice for Small Businesses Affected by the Coronavirus
It’s 3/13/2020 at 2:11 in the afternoon. I am waiting with bated breath as we wait for the President’s speech at 3 p.m. Our company provides outsourced IT services around Philadelphia have been spending all of our time helping our customers navigate some of the potential waters ahead from what I’ll consider a “practical” IT standpoint. Let me share with you some of the resources we have found very helpful recently. I believe these offer some guidance and context for where we’re at now..
- First, here is a no-nonsense statistical look at the impact of the Covid-19 Virus as it evolves. This page is updated every couple of days, it’s well done.
- President Trump has authorized emergency funding for Small Businesses via the SBA, IMMEDIATELY. I highly suggest you read two articles. A primer that goes over the plan and the details from the SBA. You would be well served to consider these as we navigate the next few months.
- 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. 58% have less than $1000 in savings. Most of your staff will not be able to afford missed downtime and you may not be able to afford sustained outages but you certainly don’t want to risk infection either. Consider this as you make your decisions.
Now for IT Related Info So, as of yesterday, Montgomery County PA shutdown all non-essential services including schools, malls, daycare and more. We’re in MontCo so this affects us and many of your business. We suspect it’s a harbinger of things to come for all of us. So, we need to talk about business continuity for everyone. Each business is different, you’ll have different needs, expectations, etc. We’ll do our best to accommodate the most common issues we’ll see.
- Remote Access – We have and provide a remote access tool to users to connect to desktops. If you have users that want to work from home, securely, by connecting to their desktops. We can do that. Get started now.
- Telemedicine – We’re working out the details and systems now but for providers looking for ways to do some remote work, we have some HIPAA compliant solutions via Microsoft and Google that may be of value to you. If you’re interested in find out more, let me know and we’ll help you figure this out.
- Bills – Make sure you have a way to collect and pay bills remotely, especially power and internet. Get on eBill today for anything that you can think of that you’ll need to access your facility remotely. Phone, Internet, Security, Power, Gas, Electric, Water, etc. You may not want to be driving to the office to collect these.
- Phones – Many of you will want to work from home. In many cases, moving phones is as easy as plugging them into the internet or installing an app. Find out now what you need to do.
- Backups – Your servers will still be running, make sure your PC’s are up ensure your continue to have good backups. Consider what files you may need from the Office and we can look at One Drive / Google File Stream for getting access to those.
- Faxes – Yes, this dinosaur still exists. If you have not looked at eFax, there is no time like the present. Route your faxes that will convert them to PDF’s and send them to email so you can retrieve them.
- EMR / EHR / CRM – In many circumstances, these systems are cloud based and may be accessed from home. If you are access PHI or PII, DO NOT DOWNLOAD to your local PC. Also, ensure that you have antivirus installed and up to date. Many of you also have RDP access or VPN access. Test it now.
- Redundant Internet Connections – There may be time to add a backup WAN card to your router if you don’t already have it. Probably not but worth checking.
- Mobile Devices / Laptops – If you think you’ll have some users working for an extended period of time from home, you may want to think about some laptops and laptop spares, particularly if you’re lugging around PII or PHI. Buy them now.
- Financial Assistance – Read the SBS links above. 3.25% loans up to 30 years of payback for businesses impacted by the coronavirus. There is a first mover advantage. Read the program outlines and potentially consider it as part of your continuity plan.
If you have ANY questions about any of this, please give us a call (215.305.8899). We all need to get moving faster now. If this was helpful, let us know. Send us a Tweet, comment on Facebook or peg us on LinkedIn.
Thanks All! Be Safe.
PS – Special Thanks to my man Brian for the Inspiration