I know this isn’t exactly a snow storm, but it’s a nice alternative reality.
What does your company do when a Nor’easter is bearing down on you? Do you close your business for the day or do you have plans to keep operations seamless even during the worst of weather?
Today is a great example and a good opportunity to review your capabilities and possibly make some changes. It all starts with your back end infrastructure, be it Cloud or on-premise. Is your infrastructure redundant and able to operate through power outages without interruption? Are you dispersed across multiple, geographically separated data centers for both your public, private and hybrid-Cloud infrastructures? These are all important considerations.
You want your servers to be configured in high availability clusters, so that if any one component should suffer a hardware failure or software corruption, your standby systems take over immediately and as seamlessly as possible. This goes for your Internet connectivity as well. It needs to be redundant, from different carriers and coming in to your physical sites via different paths, to protect against single points of failure like the telephone pole in front of your building.
Are your users versed in working remotely? Do you have secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections available and properly secured? Do you have Citrix or RemoteApp’s deployed for users to connect to? It’s important that users know how to access company systems when working remotely.
It’s also important to determine your company policy with regard to working remotely. Do you issue company laptops for users to take home or do you allow users to work on their home PC’s? If you are allowing your users to connect from their home computers, be sure you enforce at least minimal management and security best practices on that computer, so you do not expose your corporate resources to any risk from a home computer that is unmanaged and not monitored for threats.
Don’t forget about the phone. If you have an IP based phone system, do users have phones at their homes, allowing them to work from their home as if they were sitting in the office. If they don’t, they should.
For me, today will be as productive a day as when I am in the office. Actually, it may be even more productive as there will not be as many interruptions. I have a laptop with a secure VPN that allows me to connect to all of our company resources. I am able to work no differently than if I was sitting in any of our physical offices. I have a telephone on my desk that also securely connects back into our unified communication system. My extension works just as if I was at my desk. I can call my colleagues by extension and speak with them whether they are in the office or at home themselves. I even have softphone capability on my computer, so that if I were in a hotel or somewhere other than my home, I could still work in the same manner. I just need to connect a headset to my computer, which can be done wired or wirelessly with Bluetooth headphones.
So, as you can see, a day when it’s not safe to travel to the office does not need to be a lost day. In fact, it should be just as productive as any day at the office, or possibly even more so. Enjoy the snowy day!