Winter weather hit our area again this December. (It doesn’t take much to cause chaos here in South Carolina!) As usual, this meant a massive amount of school and business closings. As an IT Support company with customers all over the US, we didn't have the luxury of shutting down. So how did we keep things running like a normal Monday?
Communicate Ahead of Time
We knew that winter weather might be coming, so we communicated with our staff the night before and advised them to take their laptops, power supplies, and headsets home so they could keep working even if the office would be closed. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst!
Plan Your Communication
We have two key constituents with whom to communicate: our customers and our staff. This is the most important part of the plan. Humans are creatures of habit and as soon as you interrupt the habit, chaos ensues. We avoided the chaos by prepping our communication plan ahead of time! What would we say, how would we say it, and who should get the messages?
As soon as we knew that winter weather would be shutting down the roadways, we let our staff know that they should be prepared to work from home. We made this announcement via a Microsoft Teams message. (More about this below...it's a good method, but shouldn't be the only method!)
Since it was just business as usual for us, we sent out a short message to our customers via Direct Connect to let them know our physical office was closed; but that our team would be ready to support everyone remotely. In this case, the message was that things should just function as normal. Why even send a message? We would rather give customers the heads up versus making them guess as to whether or not we were open.
Move Your Systems to the Cloud
Yeah – we’ve said this a few times on this blog. But if you are still running your core systems on servers in the closet, it’s time to get them to the cloud. Our ticket system, phone system, and financial systems all run in the cloud. If our office is without power or internet, things keep on running!
Adapt When Things Don’t Go As Planned
We learned that our communication plan to staff had a big gap. Since the winter weather happened over the weekend, several team members didn’t have their work cell phones turned on. This meant that they never received the Teams notification that our office was closed. We’ve updated our emergency plans to include direct voice communications in addition to electronic communications.
Now that you've learned how to keep your business running when winter weather hits - why not check out our Data Security Self Assessment Workbook?