The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced many businesses into a level of crisis and emergency response that few have ever experienced or contemplated. In addition to the government asking people to work from home wherever possible, businesses are also having to contend with other challenges, including a rise in cyber attacks during the pandemic.The current pandemic has served to highlight the fact that many businesses are simply unprepared for a serious crisis or emergency. However, it has also demonstrated that the SMEs that are prepared are able to adapt to even the biggest of challenges.
With this in mind, in this post, we explore the importance of crisis management and planning for emergencies.
For businesses of all shapes and sizes, emergency planning is important, because things can and do go wrong. This is especially true in modern business settings, because companies are hugely reliant on IT systems and data. In many case, this reliance is such that if systems fail, data is lost, or access is cut off, the business ceases to function.Of course, the first priority should be to minimise the risk of things going wrong in the first place. However, even when steps are taken, unanticipated problems can arise and COVID-19 is an excellent example of this. When a crisis or emergency does occur, it is crucial for businesses to try to avoid downtime, as this can hurt financial results and the company's reputation, and can also create a backlog of work that can be difficult to catch up on.For business continuity to be possible, you need to avoid a panicked scramble to fix things. Key figures within the organisation need to know what to do in an emergency situation, and actions need to be taken to keep things running. This means understanding the key threats, taking steps to mitigate risk, but also creating a crisis response plan.
Any comprehensive plan for business emergencies needs to factor in the key areas of cyber security and disaster recovery. As the National Cyber Security Centre points out, cyber security is primarily concerned with protecting the devices businesses use, the services individuals need to access, as well as people's personal data.
This means putting preventative measures in place, which can help to protect against malicious threats like phishing, DDoS attacks and ransomware attacks. However, it also means taking steps to prevent human error too, and especially errors that result in data being compromised, or networks or systems being left exposed.Nevertheless, some of these efforts may still fail to prevent problems. Additionally, there are some emergencies that may be difficult to predict and prevent, such as hardware issues and site failures caused by natural disasters. This is why it is so important to devise a comprehensive plan for every eventuality.
Your plan also needs to allow business to continue in times of real crisis, such as the COVID-19 outbreak. Can your staff work from home, when needed, while still having access to company files, core applications and reliable ways to communicate with one another? If you experience hardware failure, can work continue while you await a fix?A reliable plan is likely to require each of the following:
This is where an experienced managed service provider, like Fifosys, can help.
Working with a managed service provider can be invaluable for your organisation's emergency planning, because an MSP can assist you not only with designing and implementing your plan, but also in monitoring its effectiveness over time and making recommendations for adjustments or improvements.At Fifosys, we offer comprehensive managed IT services for businesses in London and the South East, including business IT support, cyber security services, IT infrastructure management, cloud computing solutions and IT disaster recovery services. We can, therefore, offer everything you need to keep your business operational, even in a crisis.On top of this, we also utilise skills such as root cause analysis, in order to identify underlying causes of problems, rather than simply treating the consequences. The result is that recurring incidents are minimised.We work with your business on an individual basis, as opposed to trying to provide one size fits all solutions, and this ensures that you get the right support for your specific requirements. We also encourage facilitating co-working with finance directors and other senior figures to align your emergency and crisis management plans with your financial constraints.Ultimately, preparing for an emergency or crisis thoroughly can be the difference between weathering the storm or suffering lasting consequences. By partnering with an MSP like Fifosys, you can ensure you are well prepared, while also avoiding many of the operational difficulties and costs associated with in-house IT management.
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