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Covid 19 crisis puts CIOs’BCP to the test

As the COVID-19 coronavirus rattles industries, it’s more important than ever for IT leaders to ensure employees have the tools they require to work remotely and securely. And it is obvious that those who already had a BCP in place and those who had regularly tested it are better equipped than others.

From executing "fire drills" associated with cyberthreats to spinning up additional data centers and communicating about the challenges of remote work, IT leaders are facing down COVID-19.

As the pandemic unfolded, some CIOs stepped up “role-playing” activities, essentially testing to ensure that remote staff had the proper tools, including computers and collaboration software to ensure virtual meetings at scale through applications such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx. They've also ensured that they had a handle on network traffic through the VPN, including testing volume, to make sure staff can connect to their business applications.The role-playing is akin to cybersecurity drills many companies execute to prepare staff in the event of breaches that lock them out of operations. This entails ensuring staff know how to do their jobs when they cannot physically come to the office.The goal of those past exercice drills was to identify gaps in policies, processes, technologies and workforce planning so they could make contingency plans to better prepare for future incidents such as the coronavirus crisis.

Turn crises as an opportunity :

1. Apps and data : CIOS must ensure that the right IT systems such as email and critical business apps are fully operational.

2. Hardware and bandwidth A : lot of people in non-knowledge work sectors have desktops, so CIOs should consider whether to let those staff use their home devices in lieu of their work PCs. And they should ensure they have enough bandwidth to handle the external traffic. For most corporations, 70 percent of the bandwidth requirement is outbound. But with the rush to remote work flipping that model, CIOs should assess whether they have the network capacity to handle increased inbound traffic.

3. Reassess your risk profile : s do data breaches, pandemics offer opportunities for IT to evaluate their risk tolerance and consider creative ways to enhance security through technology or administration.

4. Communications culture. Mastering communications is the mark of a good leader, but many executives fail to loop in the rank-and-file staff during a crisis because they forget that they’re not sitting in the same meetings with the C-suite. Reassure your employees. Remain grounded and calm. Show them you have plans. Every executive is a role model and needs to behave as such.

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