What to Do When Your Business Is Unprepared for a Black Swan Event Like the Coronavirus

Don’t panic. There are a few very simple things you can and should do.

You have a receptionist or guard watching the front door, an alarm system at night, anti-virus software protecting your computers and a firewall protecting your servers. It’s all good except for one thing. You just sent your staff to work from home. You can’t let your business information, including some data with compliance requirements that must be protected, become exposed to the internet.Don’t expose your business, your employees, or your customers to internet pirates and scammers or worse. If you have suddenly found yourself in this position, consider providing your employees with these basic tools to allow them to work from home securely.

We live in an age where the level of risk to our confidential information grows greater every day. The need to safeguard digital communications places a tremendous burden on a business and requires constant diligence to mitigate these ever-evolving risks. During a Black-Swan event like the spread of COVID-19, where you are forced to make a critical decision like sending your staff home with only a few days’ notice, it is critical that you do not let your guard down. The use of secure encrypted email application is the front line of risk avoidance for your business.

Email Encryption is a must

You need an application your entire team can use safely, easily, and affordably. You don’t have the time for extended training sessions or to find out who has what capability at home. You need a product that is easy to install, easy to use and highly flexible, including a compatible mobile app. If you will be sending secure emails to clients, suppliers or others outside of your business you will need an application that allows you to send an encrypted email to recipients to purchase the application in order to receive a secure email.

Check out Send_It_Secure by Protected Trust https://envoy.protectedtrust.com/ Their free trial is being extended to 30 days during this crisis with no further financial commitment necessary. Group rates are available if you decide to continue use in the future.

Team Communications

Communicating with your employee team in as easy and transparent a manner as possible helps keep your team focused and motivated, even when working remotely. There are several products on the market that provide texting and group chats, video conferencing, scheduling and conducting online team meetings, and file collaboration and sharing. To keep things as simple as possible for employees just becoming accustomed to working remotely, combining these capabilities on a single, easy to use application will eliminate a lot of headaches and get your team back to work quickly. The Microsoft Teams application is a good way to accomplish this. There are some upfront minimal fees but they are small if you are able to maintain your employee productivity.

Check out https://www.protectedtrust.com/ They specialize in setting up virtual teams.

Culture Change

Employees like working from home and see the ability to do so anytime as a benefit. No traffic, no gas, and work in your PJ’s if you want. Then they finish their first day working remote and add soon their list can change. No quiet office, no escape from the kids, no business lunches, loss of contact with their fellow employees and delays getting their job done because they can’t just walk down the hall to ask the boss a question. Let’s face it, people also have lots of reasons to like working from the office. Your employees may be in culture shock. Some can handle it and will see it as a benefit, and some will not.

Working with remote employees is also a culture change for managers. Can you run a business without the ability to see your employee’s fingers running across the keyboard? Many managers are “Old School” and have a greater problem with culture change than their employees. Much of the change is in the mindset of the manager. https://paulemcmahon.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/6-tips-in-10-minutes-for-successful-working-from-home/

I recommend a book titled “Virtual Project Management” by Paul McMahon. It was written for software managers but has broad application in any virtual environment. www.pemsystems.com

There are many reasons to believe that the days of working in tall office towers are over. What 9-11 didn’t accomplish, the 2020 Pandemic may. Of course, I recognize there are jobs that can’t be done remotely… but many of them can. The overhead cost to operate most offices, rent, electricity, cleaning, insurance all go away when you lock the doors and let your employees work from home. Lowering overhead costs is often a good tradeoff for perceived lack of control over your employees. Use the current situation to try remote working with your employee team. You may be pleasantly surprised.