Many have felt the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak of 2020, with employers encouraging employees to work from home, students learning online instead of attending school, and conferences being cancelled. Had something like this happened 20 or 30 years ago, those impacted by these restrictions would have felt much differently than those impacted today. Let’s take a look at how technology enables business during this time.
Working from Home
While many in the technology industry may already have flexible working arrangements that allow them to work from home once in a while, or even full time, whole companies and industries are encouraging employees to work from home who usually don’t.
Today’s technologies have enabled this fundamental paradigm shift in working. Employees may working from a company asset, using their own device to connect to company systems, or even accessing a virtual desktop in their employer’s data center.
No matter how users are connecting, IT organizations must be ready for the shift in working conditions, and be able to support more users connecting from home. This impacts IT organizations and users in a number of ways.
First, users must be familiar with how to access their company’s systems from home. If users are not used to connecting remotely, they must be properly trained in how to do so.
Next, depending on how users are connecting, IT infrastructures must be able to handle the increase in demand for services, whatever they may be for each organization.
Finally, we must ensure that our communications systems remain functional and at peak performance. When everyone is working form home, it is not as easy as walking over to someone’s desk to ask a question. This is another important consideration for IT resources.
Learning from Home
Just as employees are being encouraged to work from home, many learners are being encouraged to learn from home. Whether it is at the grade school, high school, or college level, classes are moving online during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Educational organizations face the same challenges as businesses, but more than likely do not have as robust of an infrastructure in place to deal with the increase in remote learning. Some schools many not even have remote learning systems in place, and need to quickly develop a new solution.
They may choose to do it in house, or they may choose to outsource. Even in this case, the same IT challenges are faced, if not amplified.
Conferencing from Home
The third aspect that has been impacted have been conferences, not just in the technology industry, but across all industries.
While there are many companies that do specialize in virtual events, they will too face IT challenges as they try to scale their organizations and infrastructures.
We are also beginning to see a rise in virtual events, such as The CTO Advisor Virtual Conference.
Business Continuity Comes to Light as Technology Enables Business
A big part of business continuity that is often overlooked by organizations is the how. How are we going to continue working during an event? How will we ensure our infrastructure remains at peak performance? How will we learn? How will we meet?
In the cases of increased remote access, these considerations become very important at both the IT infrastructure level and the people level. A true business continuity plan looks at all impacts of the business, not just worrying about if the servers can fail over or not.
Many organizations are finding while they do have a plan to fail over those servers, they may not have a plan for all employees to work from home. They may not have a plan if to account for rapid consumption of IT services necessitated by disaster, in this case the Coronavirus.
If your organization has not yet been impacted by the Coronavrius, now is the time to put a true business continuity plan in place, that accounts both for people, processes, and technology. Technology enables business during a pandemic or anytime for that matter.