CDW-G’s Guide to Emergency Redeployment Technology For Non-Tech Executives
With an adequate technology and communication infrastructure, most organizations can redeploy staff and maintain at least essential functions in an emergency, and in some cases even full-scale operations. The challenge for many top, non-technology executives and administrators is simply what to ask about telecommunications and information technology (IT) during proactive planning and preparation for weather emergencies and other business disruptions.
CDW Government LLC (CDW-G), offers the following checklist of topics and questions for non-technology executives and administrators to review with their management teams and IT departments to prepare for significant facility shutdowns – regardless of the cause:
functions and specific positions in our organization are compatible with
remote work, even if they are not performed remotely today? Some jobs just can’t
be phoned in, but evolving technology is enabling remote performance of
more and more positions. It
is important to know exactly which are telework-capable, before an
emergency happens, and to reassess regularly with all departments and
percentage of our associates in remote-capable positions is equipped and
authorized to work remotely today? You may be further ahead on this than you think – but
you may not. The answer to
this question will define your emergency redeployment challenge.
well can our telephone and messaging systems support a redeployment
unified communications and Internet Protocol (IP) telephony technologies
can support workers remotely via the same phone numbers and messaging systems
they use while in the office.
However, many organizations have not adopted those technologies
yet, in which case employees will have to use mobile phones, home phones,
or other means to transact business remotely. Whatever your case, have your communications team plan
and instruct employees on how they should handle voice calling
requirements during an emergency-driven redeployment.
is our standard telecommunications bandwidth (capacity), and will it be
sufficient if we redeploy all remote-capable positions in a crisis? If your bandwidth cannot support
large scale remote work, your telecom manager will need to invest in
backup capacity, which is a different kind of business relationship with
your service provider. It
may, in fact, require a different service provider.
many telecommunication access points do we have into our IT network? Some redundancy is essential in
case you lose your primary access point for reasons beyond your
control. The best data
systems in the world are useless with no access to them.
well can we manage our data centers remotely? IT staff are affected by emergencies
just like the rest of the organization, but remote management of servers
and data centers is routinely available today. However, few organizations make full use of remote
management, so you should ask.
our data systems have adequate backup power to support them through an
extended power outage?
Can the power systems also be managed remotely? If the redeployment is due to a
storm or other natural disaster, you may not be able to count on
our data backed up frequently, securely and accessibly, regardless of
where it originates or resides? Beyond ordinary data recovery concerns, a mass
redeployment risks dispersion of important information across many remote
desktops and laptops – or elsewhere.
Even under normal operations, your organization should ensure that
data resides only where it belongs, and your redeployment plan should as
remote access technology does your organization use
(e.g., virtual private network, secure remote desktop access, dial-up),
and will it scale up sufficiently
when you activate your redeployment plan in an emergency? What’s adequate for normal
operations may fail if the number of users increases significantly and
can we deploy sufficient remote or mobile computing devices in an
emergency redeployment without spending huge amounts of money? Consider all options, from
rapid-provisioning contracts with a trusted vendor, to routine assignment
of laptops to some functions, limited provision of home desktops or thin
client devices, and authorization of secure remote access to your network
from selected, employee-owned home computers. As your organization replaces employee computers
routinely, you can increase capabilities for immediate and seamless
- What remote access security
tools do we use, and will they also scale sufficiently in an emergency? How will you deploy expanded
remote access security on short notice without creating a bottleneck and
losing productivity? Consider
differences between security practices within your network and for remote
access, and eliminate them if at all possible. Practices that are unfamiliar to employees are unlikely
to work well under pressure.
Emergency planning is a cross-functional process, with the goal that
every person in the organization knows what to do in the event of an
emergency. It is also important to
test your emergency plan regularly – the communications within the organization
as well as the capability of the telecommunications and data infrastructure. No one relishes disruption of the
“Snowmageddon” magnitude, but planning and rehearsing can equip organizations
to be more resilient when it happens.