Over the past several weeks, the spread of COVID-19 has necessitated a rapid shift to remote working models for organizations across the globe. For some organizations, like startups and technology firms that already have a mobile workforce, this does not pose a logistical challenge as the employee base has the necessary remote working capabilities. For other organizations, especially large corporations with complex infrastructure and security requirements, the shift can prove to be challenging.
The help desks and IT departments of these organizations will feel the impact of an increased volume of support requests and the deployment of hardware and software that they will have to manage effectively. Policies and procedures for end-user computing will have to be adjusted to reflect a new working model.
An organization preparing to handle such a disruption needs to be proactive in its IT planning and documentation, and tactically responsive to crisis-related needs.
Increased Volume of Requests
As the workforce moves to a remote work model, the help desk will begin to experience an increase in the number of tickets opened. Business-as-usual support tickets (e.g., password resets, software/hardware issues, etc.) will be supplanted by additional crisis-based tickets addressing:
- Performance Issues – Overall performance degradation of productivity and communication tools is likely when shifting a large portion of the workforce to a remote work infrastructure
- Equipment Upgrades and Compatibility – Personal devices may be outdated and not support the software needed to enable remote work. Employer-issued hardware, in turn, may be incompatible with home Wi-Fi networks and peripherals.
- Request Prioritization and Triage – Requests are going to come from several departments at the same time. Requests for non-essential software and hardware will need to be de-prioritized against current business needs and triaged.
Scale to Maintain Appropriate Service Levels
During a disruption that prevents staff from coming onsite, it is necessary to ensure that the help desk is scalable enough to action a high volume of tickets and that all start points (email, phone, chat, etc.) for service requests lead to the creation of a ticket.
Triage Software/Hardware Requests
- Funnel Service Requests – As requests will be coming in from various sources, including phone lines, the triage unit can help make sure all service requests become tickets and those tickets flow through to resolution.
- Enable Hardware Deployment – Support requests and hardware deployment requests should be handled and tracked in parallel by distinct sets of resources.
- Track Stock and Priority Requests – Post-event, it is critical to quickly build a request priority list validated by the organization’s management. New requests should follow an approval process.
- Track Management KPIs – Tracking KPIs on tickets closed, hardware stock, deployment timelines, connection statistics and other relevant metrics is critical to ensuring timely and effective crisis response.
Rapid Deployment of a Large Number of Hardware Items
In a business disruption event, especially one that prevents personnel from accessing the workplace, companies will need to deploy hardware to support the remote working model. This hardware could include:
- Employer Managed: laptops that provide access to the organization’s data and information systems through a VPN in a fully or semi-native environment
- Employee Managed: laptops that do not access the firm’s active directory and use a portal, like Citrix, and a hard/soft token to access the organization’s data and information systems
- Employer Managed: phones that provide access to data on the organization’s network and productivity tools like Outlook
- Employee Managed: phones that provide the user with a way to make short and long-distance phone calls without using their personal device
The deployment and set-up of these types of devices can be complex during a business disruption event. Furthermore, the demand for all these types of devices is likely to spike during these disruptions.
In a disruption event, the organization’s security posture must also evolve accordingly. Cybersecurity policies and controls will be tested by an increase in personnel working remotely.
- Accurately gauge the demand for employer-provided mobile hardware in the event of a business disruption that prevents employees from working onsite
- Ensure that business-critical personnel are always enabled to work from an alternate location, and all permissions, such as remote access, are granted. Additionally, ensure that all other personnel can quickly enable the ability to work from an alternate location and that all permissions can also be granted quickly.
- Collect stock data and begin tracking hardware deployment at the earliest moment possible
- Document the cybersecurity controls to be added and adjusted for the new software/hardware deployment lifecycle
Get in Touch
Discover how Capco can partner with your business as a trusted advisor to navigate through these uncertain times:
Contact Julien Bonnay (Julien.firstname.lastname@example.org) and Bill Stewart (email@example.com)