Podcast 10: coronavirus business preparations

In this podcast we provide some practical and structured advice on how you can help your organisation prepare in the event of being unable to access your premises, in the event of restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus / Covid19 pandemic.

Most Business Continuity Plans will be designed for a scenario where you lose a site or part of a site (due to flood or fire), and have to rapidly recover your systems as quickly as possible. This scenario is different:

  • It will be for an extended period of time
  • Your systems will be available, but just not physically accessible

We focus on how you can define which IT systems are most critical and put measures in place to ensure you can continue to use these without your usual physical access.

Approach / Mini-Project

1. Analysis – what systems have I got, and how critical are they? How to ask the right questions to determine this.

2. Requirements – what do we need to do, in detail? How do I access my systems if I can’t get to my premises? Are my systems cloud based, local server or even local PC?

3. Delivery – implementation, what are the tasks, who is doing them and by when?

4. Test – make sure everything works as expected.

How to determine the criticality of your systems?

Don’t ask “is this system critical?” Almost everybody will tell you that it is, so that’s the wrong question!

Instead ask what would be the impact to your business if you didn’t have that system available, and how long you could afford to be without that system? Example impacts could be inability to take payment, produce your product, ship your product or pay your staff.

Categorise the business impact in order of time: 1hr, 4hrs, 1 day, 2days, 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, etc. Deal with the ones with the shortest time first.

For some systems, if they are unavailable for a day that might be a significant impact; for other systems there may be workarounds to do the same processes in a different way.

Tools and software

Remote control software

TightVNC (free) https://www.tightvnc.com/download.html

Chrome Remote (free) https://remotedesktop.google.com/

GoToMyPC ($$ paid) https://get.gotomypc.com/

Teamviewer ($$$ paid)

Trello Board – Coronavirus Business Preparation (reusable template)

https://trello.com/b/iVt2ZJPs/coronavirus-business-preparation/cczmark/recommend

Online backup services

Backblaze (paid) – https://www.backblaze.com/

Password Store

Use an encrypted password store to keep a record of all critical system user accounts and passwords. Give at least 2 people the master password. Keep a copy of the password store offsite.

https://keepass.info/ (free)

Image credit: (c) US Army

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