UPDATING YOUR COVID-19 BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANS? CONSIDER THIS SIMPLE SOLUTION.
On December 31, 2019 China alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) to several cases of “unusual pneumonia” in Wuhan. In just 9 weeks’ time, more than 95,000 coronavirus cases have been reported and the fears surrounding a pandemic have had massive impact.
Recent studies indicate that the coronavirus could affect over 5 million businesses worldwide. Already, the travel industry has been upended with $30 billion in losses for the airlines alone. Container lines have lost upwards of $350 million and over 350,000 boxes have been removed from global trade lines since the outbreak started. Companies of all kinds are readjusting their annual profit expectations, as the stock market faced its worst week since 2008.
Open a web browser, turn on the TV, listen to the radio, it’s impossible to avoid breaking news related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Everything from water to hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper is disappearing from retail shelves as the world is being whipped into a frenzy over this infectious disease outbreak.
As the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued interim guidance for businesses and employers to plan and respond to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), organizations are dusting off their business continuity and response plans in hopes of minimizing impact. One measure already being enacted, large-scale work-from-home efforts, where employers are both encouraging and allowing employees to telework in the hopes of slowing the coronavirus’ spread. Microsoft, Twitter, Google, Indeed, and many other titans of industry are all promoting work from home in the wake of the coronavirus, thus insuring minimal impact.
A SOLID BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN
More than 25 years ago, Arise Virtual Solutions envisioned the cloud-based technologies that could unite work-from-home customer care Service Partners with large companies to deliver future-proof scalability and incredible day, week and event flexibility. With customer trust and loyalty in mind, the Arise Platform stands ready to offer business continuity to all those who require customer support services. Arise’s efforts are already well-tested and underway in preparation of support to any business or social disruption that may be associated with COVID-19.
Radical Flexibility and On-demand Burst Capacity at Scale
Be it unforeseen events that promote travel warnings, delays in supply chain and manufacturing that halt product orders and delivery, or any other unforeseen event, our award-winning Starmatic™ Scheduling System allows Service Partners to schedule in 30-minute intervals to support unprecedented, on-demand burst capacity at scale. When you need reinforcements, the Arise Platform stands ready as our clients can easily flex 40 percent – or more – in just a few hours.
Dispersed Contact Centers
The Arise Platform offers dispersed Service Partners who provide contact center support service in a work-from-home environment. As such, the Arise Platform offers numerous risk-reducing advantages:
- No travel required to service - Any limits or restrictions on public or private travel will not prevent agents from servicing
- Self-isolation - Service Partners and their agents self-isolate to protect themselves from encountering infected members of the public, reducing risk exposure risk and increasing their ability to meet scheduled service time
- Continuity of service - Even if their children are home from school as a public health directive, Service Partners can still provide support (from a quiet and separate environment)
- No contagion - If an agent becomes infected, there would be no opportunity for the virus to spread outside their home
- No brick and mortar closure – Business operations will continue as normal even as other organizations reactions react as a preventation or in response to a public health directive
Arise has deployed a highly available infrastructure, maintaining personnel and business plans and a practiced disaster response process that can quickly scale-back or discontinue headquarters operations in advance of an emergency. All staff are permitted to work remotely anywhere internet services are available.
In addition, Arise has taken additional precautionary measures:
- Practiced procedures and team assignments for emergency operations
- Procedures to monitor the status of affected service partners using the Arise Platform so appropriate adjustments to service time and fulfillment can be made
- Multiple channels to communicate updates and warnings to all Service Partners and continuously update as the situation changes
- Coordination and planning with third-party suppliers to recognize and mitigate risk posed by any loss of their service during the emergency
- Updated hiring policies to ensure key staff are not clustered in a single area
- Significant investment in cross-training to develop and maintain “depth on the bench” if the primary and even secondary subject matter expert is impacted
- Well-developed standard operating procedures and automation to ensure key processes are not dependent on any single person
Technology and Security
Arise infrastructure is maintained at redundant datacenters, two in the US and two in the UK. This means Arise staff do not need to be physically present to maintain the systems. In the unlikely event the pandemic impacts a single data-center’s operations, Arise services could be failed over and managed remotely at the new location by Arise staff from their homes.
As a Level 1 PCI certified organization, security also remains of utmost importance to Arise. Service Partners connect via encrypted VPN to a dedicated firewall. All connections are encrypted via SSL based VPN and no administrative access is possible without two-factor authentication. All access is logged, and the logs are monitored by a third party “24*7 eyes on event” security operations center.
For the U.S. general public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low, according to the CDC's situation summary, but "the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States."
The Arise model and investment in redundant systems, staff training, virtual operations and a well-practiced emergency response plan mean the Arise Platform is ready to operate through-out a pandemic emergency.
Arise is not only prepared to ensure the availability of its own operations but will also be able to scale to expanded client needs. This business continuity-as-a-service can help a client meet spiking customer demand and maintain customer confidence through-out the emergency.