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COVID-19 series

Combining your Work From Home and and Business Continuity Plan

Claude Spiese

The term of WFH (teleworking, remote working) or BCP are nothing new to most business owner. In the global pandemic environment, businesses are scrambling to put together a Work From Home plan to keep the business running with minimal staff at the office. Businesses also face the challenge of Business Continuity in the event of zero staff at the office, or even no office!

"But why two separate plans?" 

This article explains the key components of these two plans that every business should have, and proposes that the two plans should be combined into one.

Work From Home is not only a plan, it’s the future of working, but comes with a cost.

To various degrees, businesses are incorporating more and more flexible elements into workplace environment. This trend is obviously uplift with digital adoption in business due to so many benefits to employees: saving commutes cost, flexible time, fewer interruptions, more work/life balance feeling... as a result: better productivity. But this sure comes with downsides: troublesome communication and teamwork, challenges to apply in traditional business models, and of course security risks. Recently, the Coronavirus pandemic forced all businesses to quickly firm a WFH plan. This haste of course leads to some serious compromising on security.

In a 2019 Microsoft survey of WFH employees from multiple sectors, half of these claims to have no restrictions in access to work-related content from home. At workplace, company firewall/hardware protects all devices from security threats of: malicious websites, phishing attacks, viruses and malware; which is most probably totally absent at home. This could end up in tragedy and bring huge losses to businesses who are not well prepared. Four simple principles should keep you alert and strengthen your WFH plan:​​​​​​​

  1. Company devices must have access control/protection management installed.
  2. Your employees should be well trained and supported
  3. IT team to remotely monitoring threats and risks 24/7
  4. A company Wofk From Home policy.

Create and continuously improve your WFH policy to control who works from home when, under normal circumstances, and in special circumstances, which brings us to our next topic.

BCP is a must to any business, are you confident on yours?

Let’s get back to basics for a moment. BCP (Business Continuity Planning) is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company. In addition to prevention, the goal is to enable ongoing operations before and during execution of disaster recovery. This plan should be revised and tested at least annually, depending on the size and nature of your business. Some newer business continuity innovations, such as mobile crisis apps with actionable and role based digital playbooks, help streamline and automate certain BC tasks, which ensures the plan stays up to date and always relevant. A normal BCP has four parts with short description as below:

  1. Prevention: list of what to be done, what policy to roll out, what step to takes in order to prepare and try our best to avoid a foreseeable disaster.
  2. Response: when disaster actually happened, what is the code, procedure, action need to be taken to immediately catch-up with the situation and try to limit consequence.
  3. Recovery: what is the essential resource, process and the fastest way to resume operation with minimum asset.
  4. Restoration: processes, actions to be taken to restore business operation as normal.

A normal BCP usually plan for a secondary office with backup connection and basic infrastructure setup. COVID-19 reminds us that it is not useful as it should be. That's why we propose to combine WFH plan with your BCP.

How to fully integrate your WFH to BCP, make a united recipe ready for disaster?

Disaster will come, that is a sure thing. There is little that we can do to prevent it, but we surely can be well prepared. In case of fully remote and distributed companies like Zapier of Buffer, pandemic has no big impact to their operations. Those companies are imagined as people live their whole life surviving in the wild with their survival condo nearby. The key is WFH, but not many of us can be like them, as we have different business nature. What we can do is to promote WFH policy and integrate it into BCP plan by follow below 3 steps:

  1. Forget secondary office, use home
  2. Invest seriously in WFH/BC policy and WFH support system
  3. Fully digitally transform your business

​​​Grant Thornton Vietnam Digitech Innovation’s experienced professionals can help you develop a realistic and flexible Work At Home Business Continuity plan perfectly tailored to your business to ensure you are well prepared for any eventuality

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