In the wake of unprecedented uncertainty, one thing that is clear is that a solid, comprehensive Business Continuity plan is of the utmost importance.  One that is not only fully documented, but also fully communicated across the leaders of your organization.  To ensure you have covered all your basis, the Department of Homeland Security provides a wealth of information on how the key components of a plan, as well as some quick-start templates that can be used as a critical starting point.

Teleworking and Telelearning: More Critical than Ever

The declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic highlights that critical component to your business continuity plan is enabling teleworking capabilities – or if you work in education, telelearning capabilities.  As more businesses, schools, and universities temporarily close their doors, providing scalable, reliable remote worker capabilities is key.  Although many organizations offer teleworker capabilities today, they may have assumed that only a small percentage of their workforce would be out of the office at any given time.  Therefore, extra capacity may be required to support a scenario where every employee is forced to work from home. 

Another consideration is supporting remote workers who need to access sensitive information remotely.  Ensuring this is done with the appropriate security is critical in ensuring that you are not unintentionally opening your company up to a breach.  Being able to prioritize critical applications such as collaboration tools and video conferencing and even prioritize traffic from more critical users, such as all executives, over what could become increasingly-congested WAN links, is vital as well.

Rapid Deployment of Communications Infrastructure in Temporary Locations 

This involves equipping a converted space with furnishings, power, connectivity, and infrastructure equipment to ensure that employees get up and running in a timely manner in a new or temporary location.  Another very real use case is the rapid deployment of communication infrastructure in military bases, hotels, sports centers, and exhibition halls to support the quarantine sites and even pop-up hospitals that local governments are converting to properly deal with COVID-19.

Another potential use case in the education sector is the temporary use of locations to support testing as needed by universities and high schools being shut down for extended periods of time.

Other important considerations relate to collaboration tools to help employees remain productive and connected with one another during periods of isolation.  Another common best practice is to perform a back-up of all critical information residing on employee work stations as they carry out their job functions remotely. 

How Extreme Networks and Chi Can Help

For organizations looking to extend their remote access capabilities and prepare for the rapid on-boarding of new remote or temporary locations, Extreme offers a Portable Branch Kit. 

Providing a “work anywhere” capability the Portable Branch Kit delivers the essential networking capabilities to connect, secure, and manage remote network sites as well as manage teleworkers.

Combining SD-WANWi-Fi, and powerful cloud-based management into an easy-to-deploy curated package, this solution will have organizations up and running with the required remote access and remote office capabilities quickly and efficiently.  With plug and play connectivity, comprehensive cloud-based management, sophisticated security features, and intelligent traffic prioritization features, organizations can provide an enterprise-class experience for all connected users, wherever they might reside.

Originally published on the Extreme Networks blog, by Camille Campbell, March 10, 2020