Written by Grant Elliott, President and CEO, Ostendio on April 29, 2020

We are all getting used to our new “normal” but many businesses, both big and small, have been caught off-guard by the COVID-19 crisis. Having to move to a remote work situation for employees and manage a business in a crisis situation was a shock to many.  However, we shouldn’t ignore the lessons we’ve learnt about how to deal with a crisis. By taking a positive approach to the situation, we can learn from recent events and use these to our advantage in building a solid Crisis Management Plan for the future.

As a first step, your company should build a Business Continuity Team with representatives from across the organization. This team will need to identify possible risks and evaluate the level each risk poses to the organization.  They should also find a risk management platform to help manage and track the documentation of a crisis plan. The platform should support your security strategy by:

  1. Keeping in touch with your employees and contractors. Communication is key during an emergency and the MyVCM platform allows employees and contractors to share their contact information and keep in touch. This can be a central database of emergency contacts so key decision makers can be reached 24/7.
  2. Managing assets and access. With additional people working remotely, new capital equipment (eg. laptops) may have been purchased and assigned to employees or access may have been given to additional systems to allow for remote working. All of these new activities should be tracked to ensure compliance with company policy. You can use MyVCM to maintain a record of who has been assigned assets and who has been given access to systems so you can reconcile later. This allows your IT team to know if they have enough equipment for everyone and if the systems they are using can handle the increased number of users
  3. Better managing policy updates. With more people working remotely, MyVCM can be used to issue updated company policies, track approvals and manage acknowledgement.  When policies change quickly in emergency situations it is a powerful way to know who has acknowledged receipt of new information or who has not seen it yet and needs to be contacted in another way. 
  4. Managing and tracking exceptions. As we rush to become productive in emergency situations policy exceptions are often made as we need to move quickly to make things work. Track these changes via a MyVCM Exception Ticket, include approvals and maintain a record of the changes so you can bring these exceptions back in line when normal business resumes. By tracking exceptions you can maintain better control during unusual working situations.  
  5. Keeping employees up-to-date with training. Many of our customers use MyVCM to deploy and track the training sessions completed by their employees. When everyone is working remotely, training can be scheduled virtually using MyVCM and testing modules can be added to make sure employees fully understand the training provided. You can also use MyVCM to keep track of which training sessions your team has completed and easily see what modules they might be missing.
  6. Supporting your vendors.  MyVCM includes a Business Continuity template specifically designed for the COVID-19 crisis. It is easy to send this to all vendors so you can better quantify any risk they might present.  The Vendor Connect module of the MyVCM platform allows you to track what your vendors and partners are doing to maintain their Business Continuity. You can track vendor business relationships to ensure they are acting securely so they can continue to support your business.

Many businesses already use the MyVCM platform to manage their risk. Reviews can be found on Capterra where Ostendio scores highly with a rating of 4.7/5 overall. Customer comments include: “MyVCM was key to both establishing and maintaining our security program” and “Solid Product that really helped our certification process”. 

Remember that a Business Continuity Plan is something that needs to be regularly updated to stay current. New threats to your business could appear or new tools to deal with those threats effectively could be introduced. Start your journey with a risk assessment to see where your biggest weaknesses are for your business. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Ostendio is offering free MyVCM Select licenses to new and existing customers to ensure cost is not an impediment to security planning so ask for a free demo - the experts at Ostendio are happy to help.

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