When the show must go on, the future of your business will depend on the thoroughness of its business continuity plan.
Including telecommuting options that make the most of cloud computing just makes good sense, in any weather.
Not all emergencies are a disaster for your business. But as we all know (especially those of us in the northeast this week) – there are plenty of events that get in the way of getting work done. However, careful planning to allow your employees to work from anywhere is a major, yet often overlooked part of your business continuity plan.
Imagine this (familiar?) scenario: Your business has a major project due, with a drop-dead deadline in just 2 days. Missing the deadline will incur massive penalties, or worse. And it’s not ready yet. Then…BAM! The biggest snowstorm of the year hits and drops 15″ of snow and ice on your city. Your team can’t safely make it into the office; they’re stuck in their driveways. There’s a huge pileup on the freeway, keeping staff from reaching your downtown office. All flights are cancelled, and a key team member can’t get back from the west coast. Half of the files you need are on paper, and are still at the office. And the power is out at the office (where the file server is) with the rest of the documents your team needs to complete their work on the project.
Here’s a handy list of some of the tools we recommend that your business puts in place as part of your telework business continuity plan:
- Cloud-Hosted Document Management Solutions: Trust us, they make a huge difference and are worth every penny you’ll spend on them – check out the benefits here.
- Online collaboration tools: Having one location to share project goals, tasks and deadlines and have a “meeting space” to communicate with each other makes telecommuting much more effective. Check out this list for some great suggestions.
- Provide secure, remote access to email: And be sure everyone knows how to access it. We like (and use) Office365, but there are several cloud-based options available- see this list for ideas.
Business continuity planning, by its definition, means that you have a plan that allows for meaningful work to go on, no matter the circumstances. That includes planning for telecommuting or true telework situations in the event staff cannot get to the office for any reason (including something as simple as needing to stay home with a sick child!).
Sure, you can all communicate via email, skype, and cellphone. You may be able to pass some documents between staff members. But, unless you have a good system in place before you need it, work is likely to slow to a standstill when folks can’t get to the office.
Implementing well-planned, integrated cloud-hosted applications, including document management solutions are an excellent solution to this very real problem. Using secure applications and digitizing all of your project files provides secure access to all of your mission-critical documents. Everyone who needs access can get it, from anywhere, on any device. And get their work done, on time.
While one viable option is to provide all employees with secure VPN access to your onsite servers for remote file access, this solution always increases the need for well-managed network security processes. More importantly, if the power goes out at the office, the server goes down. Even if staff can get into the office, they still can’t get what they need.
Cloud-based solutions, combined with a practice of scanning all project files into digital documents, are one way to make all of the pain go away. Maintenence is easier. Files are always accessible, from anywhere, on any device. Add a document management system with built-in security and workflow processes, and your team can work from anywhere, with secure access to whatever they need, any time they need it.
And your business can still get that project done, on time. Even when your staff is buried under 3 feet of snow.
Now that’s business continuity that works.
To learn more about using digital technology and cloud-hosted document management as part of your business continuity plan, contact one of our expert staff today using the form below. We’d love to talk to you about how you can make your business better!