Surveying the Landscape
So here we are in 2020. Great year so far isn’t it? If you are reading this in the future, take a moment and be grateful that it is (hopefully) behind us. If you are reading this during the lockdown as you work from home, hang in there. Things will get better.
If you are like a lot of companies and business owners these days, you are probably starting to think, “What now? How do we move forward productively yet responsibly?” It’s a question with no single answer, and more will be revealed. But there are some things we can reliably predict.
First and foremost, the sun will rise. These are definitely dark times for many, but if you are alive and have food and shelter, consider yourself among the lucky ones. Also we know that things are eventually going to rebound economically. We have faced dark times before throughout our history and yet here we are, collectively wealthier than we have ever been.
Creating a Plan
The important thing to do now is to start planning for the future and how we can adapt to “the new normal”. We have already heard governments and public health agencies talk about some fundamental changes: staggered work hours, limits on numbers of customers in a store at one time, spacing of desks, mandatory use of PPE to name a few
As a forward thinking business person, you would be wise to start thinking of how you can be ahead of the curve. There is a real benefit to your business in doing so, both in attractiveness to top talent, and in the eyes of your clients. Companies that continue to be susceptible to shutdown as more waves of this or future pandemics arrive will be seen as less attractive to prospective employees and customers alike.
Some things you should ask yourself:
Are my systems setup for remote access? – Do I have the backbone needed to run a work from home setup, such as strong Internet Service, good servers, a VPN or remote access system that my users are trained on? Can I implement a remote access system quickly & efficiently, while supply chains may be backed up or inaccessible, all the while keeping my employees and my systems secure?
Are my employees equipped with the tools and knowledge? – Having the systems in place is one thing. Making sure your employees have the tools and the know how is another. They need the training to access the VPN, use the remote tool, use the VOIP softphone. They need headsets, webcams, a contact list so they can easily reach vendors and clients. You may need a phone tree and a communications protocol that allows you to get in touch with everyone easily to keep them updated on the situation
Do I have a good backup strategy? – Your data is the lifeblood of your company. It is the collective product of all the thousands of hours you have paid people to produce. Don’t skimp here. According to one report, 60% of businesses fail after a cyber attack. Don’t let this be you. Make sure that you have offsite and onsite copies of your data. Make sure your backups are being tested regularly. You don’t want to wait until you need your backups to find out they aren’t working
Do I have a technology partner I can trust and rely on? – All of the items above are what an MSP (Managed Service Provider) like AYS can help you with. If there is one thing we need to take away from this pandemic, it’s that things can change quickly, and things can we never thought would happen can happen. I never thought we would be in a state of pretty much global lockdown, and yet here we are.
When we started to realize that things were getting serious, we braced ourselves for an onslaught of work from home requests from our client base. It was a busy few days, but the surge never really came. Looking back, I am proud to say that that is because our regular clients were already pretty well situated to be adapted to remote work quickly.
Were there some hiccups and things we will prepare for next time? We are in the midst of doing a deep dive into our processes to see how we can be better prepared for next time. But overall I am proud to say that we were able to get everyone working and producing again in short order, and now things have “pretty much” returned to normal, as we wait for the lock downs to end and we see what other surprises might be in store for us!
Mark Adams is the owner and operator of AYS Technologies Canada Inc. (www.ayscanada.com). Proudly serving Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Oakville, Georgetown, Guelph, and the rest of the Halton-Peel-Wellington areas since 2003