Continuity Plan: Software or Templates?

With the increasing severity of natural disasters in recent years, many larger companies have started to develop and implement a continuity plan to ensure that they can still conduct business, no matter what happens. Businesses in the process of developing a plan will eventually need to decide if they want to use software or templates?

The decision between templates and software can be a tough one to make, as whichever one you choose, you’ll be using and relying on for a long time. To help you we’ve covered some pros and cons on both choices:

Using Software
If you choose to go with a software program, you will be walked through the whole process allowing you to develop a useable plan. Another benefit of using software is that you’ll be able to develop reports if needs be.

The drawbacks of using software include cost, inflexibility and learning time. For the most part, business continuity planning software is not cheap, and at times can be inflexible due to limits within the program. If you have a niche need, the software may not cover it. In addition, as with mastering any program, the learning curve can be quite steep.

In general, using software would be advantageous for companies that have a bigger budget for the development of a continuity plan. Software is also a good bet if you don’t have staff who are experts in continuity planning, or if you operate in an industry where a continuity plan is necessary, e.g., companies working with healthcare insurance, or manufacturing companies that have introduced ISO 9000.

Using Templates
If you feel that your company is not ready for software you can use templates to help you develop your plan. These solutions are mostly written plans that you adapt to meet your business needs. They’re useful if you’re just starting to do continuity planning, as they provide a normally solid foundation, and are generally a lot cheaper than software.

A limitation to using templates is that they can be a little too basic at times, and may not meet your needs. Granted, most plans will follow a basic structure and your developer will need to adapt some steps for your relevant region and industry.

As each industry is different, it’s hard to make a recommendation on what type of planning style companies should take. We recommend you take your time, do your due diligence and weigh out what’s best for your business. No matter which method you choose to go ahead with, ensure that it’s easy to implement, and that you’ll be able to teach your staff how to run the plan.

If you feel really lost or are not sure what to do, talking to professional consultants could go a long way in helping you develop a plan. If you’d like to learn more about business continuity planning please contact us – we are happy to help.

Published with permission from Source.

BYOD: The Ups and Downs for your company

Smartphones have been a part of our personal lives for a while now. It’s no surprise then that we are starting to also use them for business purposes. In fact, many of us already check our work email on our personal device. As smartphones become more powerful and popular, employees are wanting to “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD). Is your company prepared for this?

When employees use their own device for work, it can be hard for their company to manage what the user is doing, after all it’s a personal item. Add to this the growing number of malware programs aimed at stealing information from devices, and you’ve got an issue that’s not going to go away anytime soon.

What Exactly is BYOD?
BYOD came about when businesses began to assign laptops to employees for use at home or on the road. Companies quickly came to realize that the laptops were not as secure as the desktops at the office, and that employees were also using the laptops for personal use. To address this, companies introduced security measures and procedures to keep data on the laptops safe, while limiting personal use. This worked well until the introduction of the smartphone, which has now given employees the ability to access their office data on their personal devices, and has moved them off the machines provided by the company. Because of this trend, companies are being forced to examine or implement a BYOD policy.

Pros of BYOD
The most obvious benefit of BYOD is the fact that the cost of the the technology is shifted from your company to the user. Think about it: no more costly hardware upgrades and minimal to nonexistent upkeep costs, thus bringing about significant savings.

The next upside to BYOD is user satisfaction. If your employees are allowed to use their own devices, they’ll generally be more satisfied with the systems they’re using, because they’ve already made the personal choice to buy that particular device.

There are some ancillary advantages to BYOD as well, including having employees on the most up-to-date systems, as many employees will buy newer, or top of the line models. The other advantage is that the usually slow update cycle can be exterminated, employees will be in charge of keeping their devices current, not the company.

Cons of BYOD
As with all stories, there are two sides to this one. The biggest disadvantage of BYOD is that you’ll lose control of the hardware, and employees will generally be more reticent in allowing other employees to use their device.

Another major issue to overcome is usage policies. As employees will be using their own device, it’ll be harder to tell them what is considered acceptable use. As opposed to when employees are using company devices you can implement a fair-use policy.

The final negative side of BYOD is of what happens when an employee leaves your company? If they’ve been using their own device it can be a chore to get the data back, let alone establish who owns the data in the first place.

So What Can I do?
If you take a step back and observe, you’ll notice that smartphones are becoming more and more mainstream, and while in the short term you could say no to personal devices at work, it won’t work in the long term. It would be beneficial if you developed a BYOD plan that clearly states your expectations, and has a usage policy regarding network and data use. You don’t have to implement it right away, but it’ll help to have the plan ready, for when you do decide to allow employees to use their own devices. You could also set up a trial with some employees, observe how they get on with the devices and reevaluate your position after the trial period.

You should also establish a set point of security measures that are not optional. This is particularly important for companies that operate under set data security mandates, e.g., mandates regulating data storage in relation to point of sale and credit systems. Methods of increasing security include software that must be installed, and basic security measures such as a locked screen, or regular data backup.

It is also important to establish a process for when an employee leaves your company. Set up a policy regarding who owns what data and the steps to be taken at the end of employment. If your employee uses a device with a removable memory card, you could set up a partition – mini non-physical hard-drive within the larger physical hard-drive – on the card where data from the business is to be stored, allowing for easy access and retrieval.

Should your company go BYOD, or abstain? Be aware that this is a major trend and in the near future employees will start to push to use their own devices at work, if they haven’t already. If you’d like help setting up a BYOD plan or more information concerning security measures, please contact us.

Published with permission from Source.

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