As the COVID-19 virus continues to march across the world, many countries are in locked down. As such, companies activated their BCP (Business Continuity Plans) to ensure work can still carry on despite the pandemic.
BCP is an essential part to enterprise risk management. In the unforeseen event of a disaster leading to downtime of operational assets, business activities need to still continue. Very often, BCP is planned together with disaster recovery. All these plans naturally cut across the domain of information security since availability of information and systems is one of the most important aspect of infosec.
Though in Singapore, we have not announced a full lockdown, the Singaporean government is enforcing social distancing guidelines that require companies to make sure employees are seated 1 meter apart from each other. As a result, there are a number of companies here that have gotten employees to work from home instead.
Unfortunately, not all companies are ready for "work from home" arrangements and this pandemic has caught many companies by surprise. Based on my observations, there are generally 2 types of companies that are ready for "work from home" arrangements,
- Large corporations with proper BCP and the money to invest in telecommuting infrastructure
- Young startups that have built their infrastructure on cloud services right from the start
The companies that suffer the most are the small and medium sized enterprises that have been chugging along with the economy but did not plan for proper business continuity in the event of a disaster. I have even heard stories of companies that are fully using desktop PCs and told employees that they might have to bring their desktop home to work if the pandemic worsens.
Everyone is suffering from this pandemic and it is a difficult time for most of us. However, this event has also taught companies an important lesson about planning for the unexpected. For companies that do not even have a proper mechanism to work remotely, they are probably the worst hit. Yes, I understand that some businesses will suffer regardless how well they have planned for (e.g. tourism industry), they will be much worse off if they cannot even communicate effectively during this crisis.
I think those companies that survive this crisis but have suffered due to lack of BCP will rethink or even start to think about it. There should be more cloud adoption especially on essential communication services such as emails and video conferencing capabilities.
I saw a tagline for business continuity and it reads, "Business Continuity Planning: Resilience is not an expense". I think it is a nice tagline which pretty much sums up the importance of BCP.
How is your company dealing with the pandemic? If you are working from home, do you find it effective?