The present situation with the Coronavirus is challenging to all of us on many levels. Strategically and tactically technology leaders and their teams are critical in most organizations during this time. The technologies and services those teams provide are always important enablers; during a time when so many people are being asked to work remotely these groups are imperative. What I am experiencing with our teams at Astadia and talking with colleagues around the world is that these groups are setting the pace for their organizations to maintain productivity at the highest level possible.

I have spent my adult life in the Boston area and am responsible for a core of Astadia’s operations based in Jacksonville Florida. In both places we are very accustomed to responding to regional disruptions from storms of varied types and magnitudes. For that reason, we have solid and well exercised business continuity plans (BCPs) and disaster recovery plans (DRPs) which are serving us well in the current situation. Before going any further, I would like to be clear that Astadia does not provide business continuity or related services; this is no time for fear mongering for profit. These thoughts are being shared to help create better awareness and for us to be more mindful as we move through this pandemic response.

Once this crisis abates, I hope there will be many lessons learned reviews in organizations and preparedness for events we hope will never come will improve.  I have hoped for this in the past and not seen the level of attention improve to the level expected.  When the appropriate time comes every organization, regardless of size, should revisit their readiness.

We know that BCP’s are based on risk management principles and some basic equations. We will need to revisit these equations based on the very real changes to the variables. We are all extremely busy taking actions based on our organizations’ readiness and capabilities while reacting to gaps. I encourage you, as I have my teams, to keep careful notes of what is working and not working as well as the impact of either. A few things to consider include:

  • Do we have BCP and DR plans that are current and sufficient?
  • Did we anticipate the key questions, considerations, and actions to respond efficiently?
  • Are we able to come close enough to “business as usual” for the organization?
  • How clear and complete are our communications with employees, customers, partners, etc?
  • Are priorities correct and accurate?
  • Recognizing that we are all part of an ecosystem, do our plans dovetail together with other organizations to an appropriate level?
  • What “small” gaps did we experience that have made our responsiveness more difficult?
  • Do we have on-premise dependencies (infrastructure or applications) that held-up under the stress?  Would cloud or hosted solutions have performed better?
  • Have we warned our people of the cybersecurity threats which surface during difficult time via phishing and other attack vectors? This is sad and infuriating, but absolutely the case.
  • How can we communicate all of this to business leadership and boards once the storm has passed so they can make decisions and investments that improve our readiness if we ever experience a situation of this type in the future?

Astadia is very fortunate to have a spectacular group of people who have jumped in to make the best of this bad situation. We could not be more fortunate in the regard. And we are learning lessons which are being tracked so we can improve our posture in the future.  I encourage you to do the same.

We wish you, your families, and your organizations all of the best during this challenging time.

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