The arrival of COVID-19 restructured the world in countless ways. We have had to rethink how we socialize, live day-to-day, and in order to keep a lot of other parts of our lives running, we are having to rethink the way in which we run businesses.
When we start to address how a business will run effectively in a situation like we find ourselves in, the first thought is understandably, how do we set our offices and employees up to work remotely? Your clients will turn to you for guidance with this, and likely already have. You will need to ensure that everyone has the right equipment and resources in a home office to do their job. You may order laptops, set up phone lines, verify connections are secure and investigate video conferencing options. At the same time, it’s important to consider the cyber safety habits of each employee. This will involve ongoing training and reviewing policies and procedures.
There will likely be hiccups, and your clients will learn and revise as they go along – hopefully quickly so that there isn’t a lag in their business productivity. You’ll work to accommodate each unique situation. And then all that you need to do is go into maintenance mode, right?
Not so quickly there.
As an MSP, you guide your clients on infrastructure that will keep them online, productive, and secure. Your job is defined a lot by the hardware and software that they work with. Don’t overlook the HUMAN factor in situations like this. We talk about the risk that humans pose to cybersecurity, but in situations as we have with COVID-19, the human factor creates another risk that you’d be wise to include in your client contingency plan.
One big question that you need to ask is:
What if an employee gets sick while they are working remotely?
Sure, you’ve considered how you will support the client if equipment goes down, but what if their employee “goes down” and becomes ill? No employee wants to feel easily replaced or dispensable, but can you get the company easily up and running again if part of the process is taken out? Ask your client to think about each and every employee, and if they have a backup plan if that person falls ill or has to take care of a sick family member. Your clients may not have multiple people in roles or departments, and one person wears many hats – especially if they have had to eliminate jobs unexpectedly.
Be their constant in a time of crisis. Ensure that you have all employee contact information, a list of hardware that they are using remotely, and emergency contact information should it need to be accessed. Ask the owner who would be the backup for each individual, and would they have the equipment and access needed to do that job if necessary? If not, would it be a challenge to get the equipment or change their level of access?
We are in a situation unlike any other before, so you need to think like you have not thought before. You are your client’s trusted security advisor. Show them that you’re covering all of your bases, and theirs.