Identify skills required to maintain Operations Provide existing geographic staff distribution and skill sets Provides breaking points for all identified critical skills Provides skill coverage information for the different threat level / staff reduction scenarios Provides critical breaking point for the OIM support organization
Provide an individualized survey of skills for all OIM resources Rate skill levels for all resources Identify backup resources for core roles and skills Sample
Scott McPherson CIO, Florida House of Representatives Chairman, Florida CIO Council Pandemic Preparedness Committee Keeping Information Technology Up If People Go Down
A frantic agency head or senior manager will rush into your office and scream, “I need a work at home plan – NOW!”
You will calmly look back and say,
“ That is why I put in all those purchase requisitions for protective equipment, additional bandwidth and a secure virtual network. Since they were all turned down, we will have to do things a different way.”
That is when you must take over the discussion within your entity.
Cloud computing may be an alternative, but remember certain public-access cloud solutions are subject to frequent outages; run on the greater Internet, not a secure private network; and, for the most part, are not very secure (think Sarah Palin and myriad Facebook/Twitter hacks).
Webmail (Gmail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail)
Group scheduling and calendaring features on Google and other sites
Creating a Facebook presence
Using Twitter in place of emergency notification solutions
Placing middleware in front of Twitter to enhance security
Email failover solutions such as MessageOne, which automatically allows failover of email to their cloud in an emergency or even due to routine maintenance.
This makes email a Tier Zero app, with 24/7/365 availability.
Chief lesson learned from 9/11 is that email must never go down.
Do you have examples of other cloud-based solutions you are using that you can share?
Monitor your employee absenteeism, even if no one else does.
Do not rely solely on “actual” totals coming from WHO and CDC. If you see a spike in employee absenteeism, it is probable that the virus has gained a foothold in your workforce.
This can be done without HIPAA violations, and should be performed agency-wide, statewide, and don’t forget field staff.
Encourage an enterprise-wide or agency-wide initiative to monitor for absenteeism which will be critical to track both the spread of the virus (reporting daily roll-ups to DoH) and to determine operational readiness statewide.
Existing COOP and COG plans that account for employee displacement due to anthrax/ricin preliminary detection, hurricanes, tornadoes/derechos, “snow days,” floods, ice storms and other disasters that render normal office operations impractical or impossible and forces employees to work from alternate locations.
Just imagine the alternate location being the employee’s home or home office.
Candidate jobs for telework (feel free to add your own)
IT application developers
IT Tier One help desk and support staff (with caveats such as call forwarding via VoIP, PBX, along with help desk software they can access remotely)
Sales, PR/communications and marketing
Procurement staff with access to Web-based purchasing solutions
HR and personnel officers and staff
Legal staff with Westlaw access from home and access to corporate/government files or PDFs
Paper must be quarantined, lest employers inadvertently sicken otherwise healthy homes
CDC and St. Jude say virus becomes inert after 12 to 24 hours on paper and porous surfaces
Each stage in the paper handling process requires a day quarantine to prevent infection. Remember the terrible lessons learned from the deaths of Inuits (Eskimos) in 1918. The mailman brought the virus to them.
Governments and businesses cannot afford to implement “perfect” work at home plans in the current financial and pandemic climate.
W@H plans can be successful, if the process does not involve the moving of paper or constant online access to legacy systems; if applied properly; if created with enough advance planning; and if exercised frequently .
Once the second wave kicks in, be prepared to have difficulty in obtaining equipment.
Corporations are usually better-equipped to proceed with broader work at home plans. They are usually more “digital” than government.
Alternatives and workarounds to face-to-face meetings and expensive conferencing solutions
Audio teleconferencing as an alternative to videoconferencing
Low-cost videoconferencing services as an alternative to face-to-face meetings
Desktop videoconferencing point-to-point via Skype, other platforms in lieu of face-to-face meetings
Second Life as alternative to meetings
GoToMeeting and WebEx (with or without video option) as alternatives to managing your own conferencing solutions or as backups to your established services
FedEx Office conferencing services in key locations in the US as alternatives to air travel.
Retail government service delivery offices in the social, medical and law enforcement “safety net” domains will have to remain open, and certain employees will have to remain exposed to citizens while at work.
Keeping offices open will be essential to preserve the integrity of government and to care for its customers.
Can you imagine what will happen if government fails its citizens when they need it the most?