As South Africa begins easing lockdown restrictions, this technology checklist for reopening your business can help you jumpstart your return.
You and your employees have been working remotely for the past months, and the Government is now looking to lift lockdown restrictions and gradually open up the economy again.
That’s great news for your business!
But here’s a word of caution:
If you just pick up and go, and don’t prepare for having your employees back in the workplace, you may run into some IT obstacles that could have been easily avoided.
Now is the time to prepare. We’ve prepared a checklist to help you get started.
Why is a Technology Checklist Important When Reopening?
Firstly, understand that returning to your establishment doesn’t necessarily mean you will be abandoning all of your work from home and remote set-ups. In fact, for some small businesses, your workforce will likely consist of remote workers for some time to come.
Your technology goal with this checklist is to ensure your employees have what they need to do their jobs smoothly and effectively. And, to ensure that your business has a pro-active approach to solving any IT problems before they occur during and after the reopening transition.
Additionally, keep in mind that your team may be nervous about returning to the workplace. If you correctly prepare your IT and technology systems, you can alleviate at least one source of concern for your employees, giving them peace of mind and boosting productivity after months of lockdown disruption.
IT Checklist: Make These 7 Checks Before Reopening After Lockdown
Every business is unique, but evaluating your plan with these components in mind can help you get organised and anticipate IT complications. This checklist is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it can help provide foundational guidance as you look to reopen:
(1) Run an audit on all workstations in your establishment
Operating Systems and software applications, like Windows 10, Sage Pastel, and Google Chrome, are constantly updating their security measures. These updates and patches work to fix bugs and vulnerabilities to keep on top of the ever-changing attack methods of cybercriminals.
If you were closed since the start of lockdown, workstations in your offices have been switched off and (literally!) gathering dust for months. This means that these devices are likely un-patched and pose a security risk for your business.
An audit of these devices will help you determine if the workstations are properly patched with the latest software and other critical updates. Once identified, you can begin implementing the updates. (Reach out to a managed IT services provider for help on managing this comprehensively.)
(2) Evaluate any new technology deployed during the crisis
The tools your employees had used to work remotely may or may not be required when you return. Create a list, including any new devices and software applications, and decide if they stay or go. Evaluate how the new tech was implemented and to which devices, determine what worked and what fell short, and if you still need all the licenses you purchased.
Examples include Microsoft Office 365 licenses, MS Teams, Zoom, VOIP services, new laptops, internet dongles, etc. Failure to do so can prove costly in the long run.
(3) Catalogue items that were removed from your establishment
Just as you are mindful of new technology implemented during lockdown, don’t forget your existing devices and digital assets.
Protect your business and intellectual property by ensuring any devices, hard drives, USB sticks, CDs, technology, files, folders, contracts, customer lists, trade secrets, and documents, etc. are properly returned to the workplace. This list may include electronic files left on the employee’s personal workstation or device. As well as work email accounts set up on employee personal devices.
(4) Document a list of employees who used their personal devices to work remotely
In the event of a cybersecurity disaster, a list of employees that used personal devices will be extremely helpful in diagnosing the possible entry point of a hacker or data breach. Similarly, develop an appropriate action plan to ensure that any ongoing use of personal computers or devices complies with your company cybersecurity policy.
(5) For any employee who will continue to work remotely, audit the devices and software they will be using
Determine if the tech is appropriate, secure, and is sufficient to enable optimal productivity.
For example, some employees might be running Windows 7 or outdated versions of Microsoft Office. One or two might have an Apple Mac at home, in contrast to the Microsoft systems used at your company. Others might have poor internet connection speeds because of ADSL. In short, all this poses compatibility and productivity hurdles – and ultimately impacts your bottom line.
Auditing this before problems arise will help you prepare and know where to invest in extra support if necessary.
(6) Evaluate any service providers you use to run your business
Without close control, SMBs lose time and money to inefficiency from poor vendor service. Identify any of your third-party IT vendors and service providers that were not able to achieve their service-level agreements (SLAs), and determine the cause. Pay particularly close attention to those critical vendors and how they performed during the lockdown crisis.
(7) Schedule a review of your Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plan
This should be a routine part of your business. But given this recent crisis, regular Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity strategy will be even more crucial moving forward.
Together with your employees and key stakeholders, consider:
- What worked well?
- What can be improved upon?
- Did the lockdown expose any unknown technology gaps?
- How were your business IT systems impacted during the lockdown?
- Were you able to easily transform your establishment to remote work?
- Do employees need training on cybersecurity best practices when working remotely?
Don’t be caught unprepared. Use the lessons learned during this crisis to update the disaster planning and response process within your company. Document this and prepare for any future scenarios, as its essential to be ready for disruptions to your business whenever it may strike.
Need Help Putting this into Action?
iSite Computers are here to help you and your IT systems get back in business after lockdown.
Since 2008, we have worked with SMBs across South Africa to maximise their productivity, minimize disruption, and ultimately save time and money through comprehensive IT management.