BlogWhen Pandemic Plan D becomes Plan A

May 5, 20200

Over the years, we have all planned for the things that go bump in the night that might interrupt our daily business functions or our ability to deliver a service. Plans range from the foreseeable, a server crashing, to the not so foreseeable, a worldwide pandemic that has us all sequestered in our homes.

This preparation has taken the form of disaster recovery planning (DR), business continuity planning (BCP), quarterly reviews, and attestations. Even a Pandemic Plan that drew more than one comment of “Really?” we tried to plan for everything.

At Delta Data, this planning requires a very collaborative approach with our clients, who frankly push us to be prepared. It is one thing to plan for your own operations, but when you deliver services to more than 40 major financial institutions, you must be really prepared. Our clients have requested and reviewed our plans and policies, added to them, and made them better, as a result making us better prepared. Who knew that person in compliance that required a Pandemic plan was so sage?

Through this preparation and cooperation with our clients, we were prepared to go remote. It was a surreal non-event when we closed the doors on a Friday and had the team begin remote operation on the following Monday, more than six weeks ago, and counting.

Our plans call for all employees to be issued a laptop as their primary device, which they must take with them each day when leaving the office. Access to systems is through a virtual private network (VPN) with two-factor authentication when remote, and access is limited by role, as always. When connected, the employees can perform their tasks as if they were in the office. Security is ever present in our minds, whether in the office or remote and since we plan for remote staff, that access is secure.

Each year we test our approach, performing our own DR and BCP testing, utilizing third parties to evaluate our network and application security, and culminating in a System and Organization Controls (SOC 1 and SOC 2) report attesting to our policies. Even with all this testing, we all know the adage, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit.”

Initially, the focus was on making sure our staff was safe while maintaining our business and operational commitments. Now we are looking to the day that things can get back to “normal,” seeking the best responses to the questions we all have. When is it safe to return to the office?  How will this impact our employees, business, customers, investors, friends, and family? There is a long road to normal ahead of each of us, with the next step being a return to the office. For Delta Data, we are modifying our view on a strict five-day office requirement, shifting to a more flexible in person/remote balance for employees in the office. As we watch our state begin to reopen, we will take a cautious approach to ensure the continued support of our commitments, including protecting the health and well-being of our team.

So far, I am happy to report that there has been no degradation of service. The feedback from clients has been quite the opposite, noting the responsiveness of the team and how well things are operating. The data continues to flow, the programmers continue to write code, and we are all getting a little better at video conferencing. All of this, thanks in no small part to the person in compliance that wanted a Pandemic Plan.

Eric Litz

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