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Q&A: Maintaining business continuity through COVID-19 (Includes interview)

Building a plan for professional service providers and partners is a key component for business continuity, says Mary Stanhope of Unitas Global. This is especially so during the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, the growing popularity of remote managed services delivery reduces health and business risk for a wide range of companies.

Mary Stanhope shares with Digital Journal how companies can use remote managed services delivery to continue working closely with their partners while being sensitive to health concerns.

Digital Journal: How is COVID-19 disrupting businesses? Is this leading to an increase in home working?

Mary Stanhope: Yes, COVID-19 developments are requiring employees worldwide to work remotely. Due to the rapid increase in remote work, enterprises must quickly learn how to maintain business continuity during this time. Because many enterprises don’t currently have the resources to support this level of remote work, many are running into bandwidth and security challenges.

DJ: What challenges does remote working present? How is Unitas addressing these challenges?

Stanhope: The biggest remote work challenges that enterprises face revolve around bandwidth and security. Unitas is proactively having conversations with clients about the bandwidth needed to support their work from home environment. Because many companies currently don’t support this type of environment, we’re helping many clients increase their bandwidth. Unitas is also supporting clients to ensure they have the right security measures in place to mitigate risk across their distributed workforces. With threats ever present and because there’s no one security solution that fits each enterprise’s needs, we help clients understand what strategy and tools are right for them.

In addition to managed cloud and managed network, Unitas runs a Service Desk which allows us to support global clients’ employees and their devices. The service desk allows clients to open tickets and remotely manage their desktop and computing. Right now, we’re seeing a significant increase in tickets and calls as people set up their remote work environments.

DJ: How are professional service providers impacted?

Stanhope: The impact the global health situation is having on professional service providers varies. Unitas is already set up to work distributed around the world to support global clientele. We quickly pivoted to full video and virtual collaboration tools internally and externally. We’re proactively engaging with clients to offer insights into the bigger picture of the impact and what this means for each client’s economic future.

DJ: What is needed for maintaining business continuity?

Stanhope: In terms of business continuity, it’s critical that enterprises have end-to-end and insight into how their cloud is being used. This means fully understanding your utilization resources, where your usage is changing, where you need more or less resources, and where to layer in additional security. Once enterprises’ remote work environments are up and running, they will need to take a look at virtual security solutions. They must consider what workloads can be moved to the cloud and how to use patches to update and take advantage of cloud-based business continuity solutions. A managed service provider can help enterprises with all of the above to ensure they have the resources and tools to effectively run their businesses from home.

DJ: What types of technologies are useful?

Stanhope: Today — particularly in context of the global health situation — enterprises must have end-to-end management, increased bandwidth, virtual security measures and processes, and a 24/7 help desk to support employees’ remote work environments. Additionally, when it comes to staying engaged the answer is technology – workplace collaboration tools, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, and video conferencing platforms help keep all members of the business connected and keep operations moving forward.

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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