It's been many years since the Tompkins County roads were closed due to snow. But it did happen this March. Like many businesses, we needed to quickly execute our plan to make sure our people were safe, but still be able to serve clients. Although a bit stressful, we were able to operate through the storm and the road closings reasonably well:
- Most of our deliveries were delayed because our clients who had ordered printer consumables, had regular repair pickups and deliveries, etc. were closed as well. That kept our pickup and delivery people off the roads - a good thing considering the weather.
- Service calls that required on-site vists were also delayed for much the same reasons as deliveries and pickups.
- A few of our clients who were planning on-site upgrades and updates actually kept to their schedules prior to and directly after the road closures. It turned out that our work was actually easier to accomplish because it disrupted fewer people. All it took was engineers with good driving skills and 4WD vehicles.
- These days, many of our regular clients have remote access to their servers and systems. Our people were able to work from home and access those systems as required.
- The same for our internal staff. With secure virtual private network (VPN) technology, they had access to their office systems and services over the Internet. A few of them have their office phone extensions forwarded to their cellphones. Even better, a number of us have remote Internet based phone extensions from our office phone system. For us, our home offices look almost like our regular offices.
Overall, we did pretty well.
How did you fare during the storm? Were you happy with your business or organization's productivity during the blizzard and road closings? Could some or all of your staff continue to be somewhat productive? What if the roads were closed for a very long period of time? What if the issue was locaized to just your office due to a fire, flood, or other disaster? Could you continue to operate successfully?
A number of our clients have very sophisticated "Business Continuity Plans". They periodically test out their plans and make sure all the technology and procedures work. Our staff helps these clients create their plans, are part of their solution set, and help them test it all out.
Others totally wing it. Still others are somewhere in the middle. Some planning, but usually not enough.
We can help you decide what technologies are necessary to your business, what needs to be accessed remotely, and how to keep it all secure. We can also provide resources to assist in the development and testing of any plan you choose.
Fortunately, these kinds of disruptions don't happen here too often. But when they do, we can help you be ready.