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Blizzard 2015: Business Continuity Tips and Reminders for Disaster Events

By Kaleigh Alessandro | Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

If you live in the Northeast United States – anywhere from DC to Maine – you’re likely living through the Blizzard of 2015 right now. Snow and heavy winds are pounding the East Coast, with snow totals expected to exceed 2 to even 3 feet in many areas and wind gusts to reach hurricane strength.
 
During weather events such as this, it’s critical that firms take precautions to ensure that not only do their technologies work and their businesses remain operational, but that their employees are safe, connected and receiving constant communications. We’ve experienced many events such as this in recent years – Hurricane Sandy is probably the most memorable – but the Blizzard of 2015 is an important reminder to firms about employing comprehensive business continuity plans and disaster recovery systems.
 
Here are a few reminders to get your firm through this latest weather event:

Communication

Communicating effectively with your employees is especially critical before, during and after disasters and other weather events. Be sure to keep your employees in the loop on what’s happening and what’s expected of them. Should they work remotely in the event they can’t get to the office? Are non-essential personnel expected to use paid time off? When can they expect updated communications regarding next steps?
 
If your firm employs a comprehensive BCP, you’ve likely already shared regional Quick Reference Cards so your staff is aware of evacuation locations, remote access policies and instructions and other communication essentials.

Remote Workers

With “states of emergency” declared across several states, odds are, if possible, your employees are working from home today.  Hopefully you’ve properly trained all employees to log in remotely. As a reminder, here are a few different options for remote access:

  • VPN: IPSec or SSL VPN technologies work by connecting your home computer to that which resides in your office. You are able to “remote desktop” and run all of the applications that live on your work computer’s server.

  • Citrix: With a Citrix server, you are able to log into a website via any computer and get access to the applications that live on the Citrix server in your office. When you click any application icon, it will appear as if it is running locally despite being housed on your office server.

  • OWA: For those companies who use Microsoft Outlook for email, you can log into OWA to access your email account from an external computer.

Regardless of which system or systems above your firm chooses to employ for remote access, it’s imperative to properly train employees so they have a clear understanding of how to use them (and hopefully have tested them effectively prior to the disaster striking).
 
Finally, here are some handy tips in one presentation we hope will help your firm make it through this and the next disaster situation. As always, Eze Castle Integration’s Business Continuity experts are adept at working with firms to create and augment BCP plans in order to ensure business operations are not affected by weather events. If you would like to speak with someone on our team about your firm’s BCP plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Additional Resources on Business Continuity Planning:

BCP/DR Guidebook

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