Small business lender Prospa NZ says that coronavirus has become the biggest global “work from home” experiment that we have ever seen, and has urged all advisers to draw up a business continuity plan (BCP) if they have not already done so.
GM Adrienne Church says that BCPs are not only for large corporates, or for global pandemics - they will ensure that a business is prepared for things like IT failures, cyber attacks, natural disasters, or any other risks that cannot be foreseen or prevented.
“Having a BCP in place that you can ‘activate’ can minimize operational disruption and stress because many of the tough decisions have already been made, and the next steps outlined,” Church explained.
“It is also important to keep testing your BCP against different risk scenarios. If you don’t have a BCP yet or it needs an update, now could be the time to give it some attention. There are many free, online resources that can help.”
Church noted that Kiwis were seeing increased warnings and reports about phishing attacks and data breach warnings have increased over the past six weeks, and businesses that don’t normally work remotely may be particularly vulnerable. She says every business should be taking simple steps to increase its online security while also investing in online platforms and video conferencing tools, as a “socially distant” way of working looks likely to become the norm.
“Consider using Multi-Factor Authentication and installing antivirus software on all systems if you haven’t already and ensure you and your team can identify phishing scams,” Church said.
“If you’re using video-conferencing software for client meetings, consider taking some extra security precautions such as requiring a password or using the ‘waiting room’ function to screen guests before they can join. “
“Many software companies are extending trial periods or offering lower fees to support businesses impacted by COVID-19, so consider experimenting with a few now to see what works for you and your business,” she added.
“It may be some time still before we can attend events on the ground, but there are still plenty of opportunities for networking and professional development. Sign up for webinars, check out an online course, or join online communities on social.
“The advisers that thrive in this environment will be the ones that learn from this experience and use it to build a stronger, more agile, and more digitally savvy business.”