Businesses and the leaders within them are preoccupied, and rightfully so, with the coronavirus and its potential impact on the health of their company, both financially and physically.

It’s a particularly stressful time for companies who are not used to having employees work remotely and now must plan for an instance where the bulk of their workforce may be required to do so in response to a pandemic.

IP Pathways’ senior consultant, Gary Bateman, is on assignment as CIO at a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) in Iowa. He was part of the team that created a business continuity plan for the Health System which covers an instance like a pandemic.

“An emergency like a pandemic creates a situation where usual protocols get overlooked as businesses get in the mode of ‘we have to keep going and get things done any way we can,’” says Bateman. “This can create security vulnerabilities in a number of key business functions.”

Bateman says some of the key components of a contingency plan help leaders address questions like:

  • Do we have the technical ability to allow a large percentage of our workforce to work from home?
  • Do we already have the ability to use VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) remotely or will we use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to connect our employees?
  • Have we already set up the connection and tested it recently?
  • Is VDIaaS (virtual desktop as-a-Service) option a better solution than deploying the system ourselves?
  • Will our employees be using their personal computers to work remotely or will we need to supply them with computers?
  • Are the computers our employees use while working remotely secure or will they create a vulnerability in our system? How do we determine this and how do we make them compliant?
  • Do the applications (EHR, business and communication apps) our employees use at work offer the same features when using them off-site?
  • Is there a procedure/policy manual in place to guide our employees and is it up-to-date?

One of the main considerations is whether you have the ability for your employees to work from home in quarantine and, if you do, can your systems handle the sudden surge from your workforce working remotely? It’s a real concern for most companies in the U.S. as less than five percent of the workforce (not self-employed) works from home more than half of the time.

IP Pathways can assess your existing capabilities and consult on updating or creating new capabilities, whether you prefer your employees connecting through a VPN (Virtual Private Network), or through a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) such as VMware Horizon View.

We can also present options like Virtual Desktop-as-a-Service, which gives you flexibility through speed, size and cost. Whether it’s 10, 100, or 1,000 desktops, they can be deployed quickly, without any upfront capital costs, allowing your employees to work from their homes and keep business operating as normal as possible.

Whether you need a solution immediately, would like to talk through the possible options, or just have questions–don’t hesitate to call us.

Creating business continuity and disaster recovery plans for companies that address extreme situations like a pandemic is an area in which IP Pathways has a proven track record.

We hope these plans stay on the shelf during this time of uncertainty, but if you are required to implement your plan we’re here to assist you with the resources, knowledge, and expertise needed to manage a major health emergency.

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