When the Olympics arrive in eight months, transport across the country will be severely disrupted for at least six weeks. Companies will need to rethink the way they do business and officials recommend encouraging staff to work from home and holding video or web conferences in place of meetings. Mark my words, reliable IT will be at the centre of keeping business flowing.
1. Start monitoring now
Look at how much internet traffic and bandwidth an average remote worker needs and multiply it by the number of employees that are likely to work from home during the Olympics.
2. Rethink your continuity plan
Most businesses will have a general continuity plan, however much of it will rely on having access to the IT network. It’s worthupdating your existing plan well in advance of the games to ensure that your business doesn’t come to a standstill should a network outage occur. This will minimise any downtime and ensure employees are well prepared should they suddenly not have access to information.
3. Plan a testing day
Plan a testing day well in advance. For example, agree with employees that they all try to connect to the office from home at a certain time in the evening and look at what impact it has on your network.
4. Set up viewing areas
Some events during the games might be more popular than others. Identify the ones that most employees will want to watch at their desks, for example, the 100 metre final. Set up some television screens in the office to avoid high internet traffic from online viewing.
5. Be vigilant against cybercriminals
Major global events usually attract cybercriminals looking to gain from the deluge of online activity. Warn employees about opening any suspicious Olympics-related links or email attachments, as they could contain viruses. Also check that virus scanners on all PCs, laptops and tablets have been installed and are updated regularly.
6. Don’t rely on downloads
Publicly available wifi hotspots might be overloaded during the games due to excessive usage. If you need documents on the go, be sure you have a printout or have it saved on the hard drive of your laptop or tablet. If you give USB memory sticks to your employees, make sure they are encrypted and sufficiently secure to avoid data leaks if accidently lost.
7. Have the right kit
Ensure that employees are well equipped to work remotely. This includes testing the capabilities of home computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones. Set up a secure FTP site to allow employees to easily access files needed for work.
8. Get what you pay for
Contact your ISP to discuss contractual agreements and the service that they expect to offer you during the games. They can help to manage peak demand or recommend network upgrades to increase bandwidth in certain locations.
9. Rearrange meetings
Avoid scheduling important meetings or events during big Olympic events as there might be disturbances outside of your own network, which can affect your work. Try not to plan your company’s big monthly webcast during the games. If you usually Skype with your partners, prepare to have a fixed phone near you just in case, as they can be more reliable.
10. Stick to cables
When working from home, warn employees not to rely on mobile connections. More people are likely to be requesting free telephone lines and data slots from the mobile networks than available, so make sure you have a landline telephone on hand.
Dirk Paessler is CEO of eponymous network monitoring solutions provider Paessler.