With the United States beginning to implement the phased approach for re-opening Businesses, organizations need to begin to plan how they will execute the return to work for all departments. The Information Technology department plays an integral role in restoring normalcy in the post COVID-19 landscape and needs to be an integral part of your business planning. The foundational components include:
Depending on your organizations response to COVID-19, your team may have been comprised of both work from home (WFH) and onsite employees (WFO). The introduction of WFH associates back into the office with the WFO associates, needs to be planned in such a way to allow some distancing to still take place. This may require some temporary relocations of office personnel as the recommended COVID-19 remediation steps are frequently evolving.
Also, the introduction of WFH associates back into the office adds some changes to the workplace activities around cleaning and sanitation to the physical work spaces. In addition to leveraging the recommendations for sanitation found in that article, the organization should also have a plan to establish a cleaning regimen for the Data Center. This room is unique within a building and will require vastly different cleaning approaches.
Your organizations response to COVID-19 likely included some deployment of new (or different) technology and/or the relaxing of normal Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that may not have been followed. The Information Technology leadership team needs to establish a process for normalizing these changes. Some examples:
New Technology - If your organization deployed some new technology to support the COVID-19 preparations, take the steps to finalize your procedures around this technology. Most organizations have a standard in which they deploy any solution so make sure to execute the normal operational process for these systems. (Example: A new VPN appliance was deployed but without logs being monitored)
Amended SOP – If your organization was forced to amend your SOP because of staffing changes, ensure that these processes get rescheduled and re-established according to your previously scheduled process. (Example: Daily backup tapes not sent offsite)
Equipment Maintenance – Most organizations opted not to deploy significant software patches during the COVID-19 event. The organization needs to resume the normal cadence for system patching for software updates. (Example: Cisco released an update for Catalyst Switches)
Help Desk Changes – In most organizations, your Help Desk is normally the epicenter of all Information Technology knowledge sharing so it’s imperative that they establish a process for how to quickly to be knowledgeable about the process of restoring an organization after COVID-19. (Example: The schedule of dates that the departments are returning to the office needs to be communicated to the Help Desk at all times).