No one was prepared to handle the COVID-19 outbreak. What do security directors need to do now to address it? Here are six important steps to mitigating the risk associated with this outbreak.
The impacts of COVID-19 are growing every day and won’t be fully understood for months. Even small businesses that don’t engage in global travel will and are being affected by the virus, and organizations with colleagues in healthcare, retail, hospitality, and many other sectors face significant potential exposure to the virus.
Corporate Security Directors play a pivotal role in collecting, processing, and disseminating intelligence to all stakeholders within the company quickly and efficiently. Maintaining business continuity during a crisis can often be at odds with upholding the company’s duty of care, so executives require accurate information to make the right decisions and communications tools to keep everyone informed.
Scott Frigaard, a subject matter expert within advanced security solutions for smart cities, has outlined six major action steps to assist companies in their efforts to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Form a COVID-19 Committee
Actively monitoring the development of the virus outbreak and working with management to disseminate messages to colleagues with clear instructions when measures need to be activated
Educating colleagues on the latest available information on the virus, briefing them on the need for infection control measures and the preventive procedures that have been set in place
Designating a regional Point of Contact (POC) who will be responsible for liaising with the Committee to implement the requirements, instructions, and policies in their region
Collating updated contact information of all colleagues and ensuring that all colleagues have contact numbers of the regional POC and regional business leader
Ensuring that colleagues who have traveled to affected areas (as defined by the CDC as Warning Level 2 & 3) and feeling unwell are advised to self-quarantine for the recommended number of days
Appointing managers to check on the colleague’s health by phone or email during their absence from work and keep quarantined colleagues informed of events in the office
2. Create a Fusion Center to aggregate, analyze, and disseminate information
Should be able to support the required number of staff
Has to possess technology platforms to allow the integration of security and IT systems
Should provide enough workstations for operators and analysts, as well as displays for executive briefings
3. Assess your risk
What personnel and operations are, or have been, in areas with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases?
What components of the supply chain may be impacted, and how does that affect the manufacturing and operations processes and lead times?
What are the minimum staffing levels at a given facility to maintain levels of production or operation?
How will a disruption in your supply chain affect inventory or services?
Will hourly employees find other jobs if their positions are suspended without pay?
4. Establish communication protocols
Does your organization have a tool to track personnel infection and recovery status, and then communicate changes back to the COVID-19 Committee?
Is the COVID-19 Committee in contact with liaisons at key customers in order to inform them of action plans and impacts to customer support?
Is the COVID-19 Committee in contact with key suppliers to monitor the supplier’s infection levels and operational, inventory, or distribution impacts?
5. Establish policies and procedures
Can your employees and contractors telecommute? For how long?
Does your company have the technology and security measures in place for working and collaborating remotely?
Do managers know how to supervise remote workers?
Will you allow visitors into your facilities? What about service providers, contractors, vendors, and delivery personnel?
Do you have the ability to screen them for travel and exposure histories prior to them showing up onsite?
Are you still conducting face-to-face interviews with new candidates?
Is a “deep clean” of your facilities a possibility? How often will it be repeated?
6. Incorporate business continuity planning
Identify all dependencies in your ecosystem to understand where disruptions might impact your supply chains, logistics, operations, sales, and service. Maintain continuous communication with employees, suppliers, vendors, and service providers to understand their preparations, inventory levels, and other important metrics. Identify potential points of failure in your ecosystem and plan for and identify alternatives.
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