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How U.S. companies can prepare in the face of coronavirus (Includes interview)

Other companies, beyond the big tech giants, are also considering how best to manage the threat posed by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the associate disease COVID-19. The optimal way to manage things, in terms of maintaining business continuity and to prevent infection in the office is to encourage remote or home working.

Images of COVID-19 released by US science agencies

Images of COVID-19 released by US science agencies

Businesses certainly need to do something. As The New York Times reports, the coronavirus pandemic could be “catastrophic” for small businesses in the U.S. as customers stay home. When workers stay at home as well, they need a management structure and supporting technology to make the home working as seamless as possible.

Pulse Secure CMO Scott Gor​don tells Digital Journal how companies can securely manage the surge in remote workers.

According to Gordon: “A public health crisis, such as the coronavirus, doesn’t have to impact productivity for your workers and should not increase threats for your organization.”

Gordon’s tips to ensure business continuity and secure access are:

Understand your remote access needs in terms of users, applications and resources in order to assess respective physical, virtual or user-based connection capacity and throughput.

Determine key applications and resources, whether on-premises or cloud, that will require increased capacity during times of crisis and apply to an emergency capacity plan.

Have license and capacity shifting options set in advance with key to deploy software and security vendors to handle burst load.

For example, Pulse Secure has an In Case of Emergency (ICE licenses) that automatically accommodates burst licenses and means to shift licenses among appliances.

Enable global load balancing so that users are directed where resources available to ensure the best overall user experience and minimize last minute training.

Plan for and activate application, data and role mapping to ensure users only access the resources they need.

Enable mobile device security options to accommodate person device use which ensures that devices are meeting corporate security policy and safeguarding sensitive data.

Take advantage of always-on and per-application VPN which negates users having to think about activating secure access functions

As needed, enable capabilties that simulates being on-prem, this may include Layer 3 access to a specific subnet or HTML5 access to local machines or a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Enable features such as Adaptive Authentication to better understand and react to new user/device usage behavior.

Take full advantage of logging and analytics capabilities of your solution to better distribute loads, if necessary, and make your workers are continuing to be productive at a high level.

Gordon sums up by stating: “Planning for natural and manmade disruptions, or even network downtime, requires having a solution with enough capacity in place to allow your employees to securely collaborate and access the applications, data, and services n​eeded to continue to do business.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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