In light of ongoing and increasing concerns regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), now is the time to look at your business-continuity plans. The priority for all companies is to ensure the health and safety of employees, customers and other stakeholders, as well as the continuity of your services.
Government sources are estimating that up to 80% of people could be impacted, and if we base these estimations on Italy, self-isolation and restricted travel may become mandatory. Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways have already cancelled all flights to Italy this week.
What can I do to protect my business and help my staff?
A number of factors need to be considered and the good news is that there are several options available which can be quickly implemented to minimise disruption to your business activities.
In the event staff are not available to answer phones in the office, the easiest solution is to move to hosted telephony which allows you to use the internet to make and receive calls.
If you currently use traditional telephony and phone system, your options are:
- Set up hosted telephony users for remote/home use, your existing phone number can be routed to these devices ensuring all inbound calls are answered. Outbound calls will be made from the user’s device direct. There are lots of options around setting up hunt groups and answering services which can be quickly and easily set up. Our recommendation would be to review this option as soon as possible, so that in the event of any public health announcements you are fully prepared.
- Set up hosted licences on staff mobiles. Working on the same basis as above, calls can be made and received using our dedicated app.
If you are an existing Hosted or Cloud Telephony user:
- Are your staff members set up for home use of these services? If not, we can arrange for a handset or a mobility licence to ensure calls can be handled remotely/from home/mobile very easily. Again, all external calls will flow to the specified users regardless of location.
If you are unsure of any of the options available:
Please get in touch with us and we can help guide you through the options available with the goal of ensuring that your business can continue to receive and make calls to minimise business disruption.
Video Conferences/Audio Conferences
With many businesses restricting travel, meetings and appointments, many companies still need to continue to hold meetings. Again, technology enables several options which are easily available:
Audio Conference Lines
We can provide dedicated conference lines on a range of number types with full secure PIN credentials and the ability to have call recording in place. The conference lines are quick to set up, easy to use and very low cost.
The option extends to having a branded conference line with your company name and any number of dedicated PIN can be set up. Doing this allows you to share details with customers, suppliers and staff, when arranging an audio conference for people based at various locations.
These can be facilitated using a range of technologies. Security remains paramount for all concerned, and our hosted voice application with Teams licence allows you to host and participate in video conferences of up 30 people.
Laptops with cameras can be used or you can purchase simple devices. Microsoft Teams provides further team-based communication and video conference facilities as does Cisco Webex and we have free Webex trials of up to 90 days available for our customers.
Remote Workers – Internet & Device Security
You need to have staff working at remote locations and they may need access to the business/corporate network and servers.
How can you achieve this securely and ensure your networks and devices are not compromised?
Consideration must be given to the connectivity staff are using as public wi-fi is notoriously open to risk. The options to be considered are:
This is delivered by a VPN which creates a secure link from devices to your corporate network. This ensures access is only given to authenticated and registered users.
We can assist KubeNet customers in installing a VPN for secure remote access.
Within the office environment, it is likely that all your corporate and business devices are protected by firewalls. But what happens off-network?
Protecting those devices is incredibly important in order to safeguard your network, servers and any remote access users – even those using a VPN.
We strongly recommend Cisco Umbrella is installed on all home laptops/PCs, which provides full device security both on and off the corporate network, all for a few pounds per month, however we can offer a free trial of up to 30 days. Further security is available with Cisco Duo providing 2 Factor authentication for remote workers, and again there are free trials available too.
With such uncertain times over the next few weeks, using a free trial to help enhance your remote working plans makes a lot of sense. Please contact us to find out more.
Remote Workers – Internet Services
You may have staff who do not have sufficient internet services in place at home allowing for the ability to work remotely. The quickest option here would be to provide a 4G Router, using mobile broadband services that can be arranged on a month to month basis. This option is extremely cost-effective and can be in place within 48 hours.
Alternatively, we can supply FTTC Broadband services, however, this may take up to 10 days and given the nature of the increasing risk of Coronavirus and imposed restrictions, the time to act is now.
Testing your Services
If you have some of these services in place or are in the process of implementing them, we suggest you undertake a full test scenario so as to ensure your business is ready to operate fully in the event you have to exercise these contingency plans.
Remember your employees are likely to be anxious about the risks posed to them and the best thing you can do in the event of a worst-case scenario is reassure them by doing everything you can to make your workforce flexible and remote-friendly.
Please be assured there are many options available to you to assist in the running of your business. If you have any concerns about how to implement a home working strategy for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0800 6681 266 or firstname.lastname@example.org