Is Your Business Prepared for a COVID-19 Shutdown?

Schools in Ontario are shutting down due to COVID-19 and your business may be next. Discover how to prepare your business and employees for such an eventuality.

As of March 13, Ontario has only sixty cases of COVID-19. Even so, the provincial government is taking no chances and has just ordered all publicly-funded schools in the province to shut down from March 14 to April 5. The move, which will undoubtedly cause untold hardship for parents who have to figure out what to do with their kids while they continue working, bring up a difficult question: Should businesses continue running as normal or allow as many workers are possible to work remotely to reduce the spread of the disease and make it easy for parents to do their jobs and care for their kids at the same time?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A lot depends on your industry, geographical location, how many people you have working for you, etc. However, one thing that can be said for sure is that every single business should be prepared to have every single worker telecommute rather than come into the office. If you aren’t prepared for this possibility, now is the time to draw up a plan and test it out to ensure that every single one of your employees can do their jobs at home easily and securely.

Ontario Schools Closed COVID-19

Remote Work Plan for COVID-19

Does your business have all the tools and resources needed to allow workers to do their jobs at home? Do you know what you need to do to allow employees to telecommute? If not, here are some helpful points that can help get you started on the right track:

  • Will you provide laptops and needed equipment to employees who need to work from home or expect your staff members to use their personal devices? While your staff members likely have their own personal devices, these devices may not have the programs your employees need to do their work. They may also have hidden malware that could wreak havoc on your business if the computer is connected to your company’s IT network. You may also need to consider the fact that some of your employees may need equipment from the office such as scanners, printers or cloud-based phone services.
  • Can your employees access files and apps securely? If you haven’t migrated to the cloud, now is a good time to do so. Don’t put it off as it takes time to implement a secure cloud solution that’s line with your business needs and industry requirements, and it will take time to transfer your files and apps to a secure cloud server. You’ll likely need the help of an IT MSP to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
  • Do you have endpoint security in place? This form of security is specifically designed to protect your IT network from threats while allowing remote employees and contractors to partner with you and with each other. Next-generation firewall software will enable you to allow legitimate traffic to access your company programs and files with ease while denying access to suspicious requests. It’s also wise to consider setting up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for your employees working from home so all communications sent to and from your IT set-up are encrypted.
  • Do your employees have the IT training needed to work securely and efficiently from home? If not, now is the time to help them get the professional help they need. Get in touch with an IT managed service that offers cybersecurity training to see what your options are. This training is typically available via video seminars if you don’t want to keep staff members separate to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

There are definitely precautions that you can take in the workplace to prevent employees who come into the office from catching COVID-19. At the same time, it’s also important to realize that, at some point, you may be forced to shut down and have workers telecommute. Get in touch with us to get the professional help you need to create a remote IT work set-up that meets your exact needs.

Published On: 14th March 2020 by Ernie Sherman.