Preparing your Network for your Business Continuity Plan
With the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, many businesses are in the process of implementing their Business Continuity Plan (BCP). BCP’s often rely upon users working remotely, whether that be from a remote office, disaster recovery facility or from their own home. For many businesses, this is their first time enacting their BCP, or potentially the first time enacting it at such a large scale. Given the enormity of the situation, we have put together a few considerations that businesses should review as they ensure the continuity of their organisation.
Enabling Remote Access
Most organisations run their business using a secure system and application environment that is accessible over the corporate network. These systems may be accessed remotely, however secure authentication, often using a VPN tunnel, is required to do so. This often involves having the appropriate VPN software installed on computers, having that software configured correctly and training staff on how to use the software to access the corporate network. VPN software is usually purchased using a licencing model, with licences allocated to each staff member who need remote access. As a precaution, we recommend that you review your licences to ensure that you have enough to cater for the number of users that are expected to be accessing the corporate network over the internet.
Corporate Internet Capacity
Remote access via a VPN is achieved by accessing corporate systems over the company’s primary internet connection. These internet connections are usually provisioned with enough capacity to cater for everyday business activities, however with a large number of staff accessing the corporate environment over this connection, existing capacity may not be enough to support this unique situation. Insufficient capacity can result in users not being able to access the files and applications they need to successfully do their work. Ask your IT team or internet service provider if they can provide a report on how much spare capacity you have on your business internet link. If you find that you are low on capacity, you should speak to your service provider about temporarily increasing your internet bandwidth to accommodate for remote users.
In IT terms, a firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to allow or block specific traffic based on a defined set of security rules. While VPN access may be set up, it is important that the firewall is configured to allow the specific applications that are being accessed to freely flow to authenticated users. If you are planning to have staff working remotely, take the time to identify the applications that will be accessed and ensure the appropriate firewall rules are in place to allow the applications to work effectively.
Many businesses rely on Contact Centres as the front-line support for their customers. With staff members working remotely, it is critical that your businesses phone system is set up to accommodate remote workers. Furthermore, remote users will often utilise an application on their computer (commonly referred to as a Soft Phone) to answer and make phone calls. We recommend taking the time to install and test the soft phone application on relevant user’s computers to ensure that staff can successfully use the application when working remotely. Typically, remote working licences are purchased with your phone system to enable this functionality. Check with your phone system maintainer to ensure you have enough licences to accommodate the number of staff that are expected to access the phone system from home.
Reach out for Help
If you would like more information on how Bendigo Telco can assist in implementing your Business Continuity Plan, please give us a call on 1300 228 123 or speak to your Bendigo Telco Account Manager.
Please Note: In order to facilitate some aspects of your BCP, service upgrades and additional software licences may be required. Please note that during this potentially devastating situation, Bendigo Telco is not seeking to make profits out of these requests. If budgeting is an issue, please let us know and we will do what we can to assist. We believe that the partnerships we have with our customers sets us apart, and we will do whatever we can to support our customers during these unique circumstances.
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