50 Questions You Should Ask To Test Your Preparedness Against a Pandemic-induced Lockdown

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If you are planning your pandemic preparedness plan against the backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, here is a list of 50 questions that would help your cause.

It’s aimed to benefit a CIO or a Chief Security Officer, in addition to enabling every CXO to strive to become a Chief Pandemic Officer in the organization.

Questions 1-9: Remote Workforce Management
Questions 10-15: Communications, and Access Control
Questions 16-25: Customer Support
Questions 26-35: IT Security and War Preparation
  1. Have you empowered your employees to work from home?
  2. Can your department function effectively through long-term remote working?
  3. What do you plan for employees who are either unfamiliar with remote working operations or lack the necessary infrastructure to login from home?
  4. Have you provided any operational support to your employees to help them meet your demand in work from home scenario?
  5. Have you considered adding VPNs, portals, and gateways to channelize seamless remote working operations?
  6. Have you collaborated with the VPM providers, and hardware vendors to scale your remote workforce, in case you are planning to grow your headcount?
  7. Does your IT infrastructure (Cloud or SaaS) provide required resilience and security under critical situations?
  8. Have you tested your infrastructure against expected loading?
  9. Have you allowed white-listing of certain applications or do you still block all non-business applications?
  10. Have you made a checklist of accounts that are controlled and monitored?
  11. Have you considered downgrading or relaxing your access controls to meet remote login requirements?
  12. Have you considered the ability to white-list only specific applications during this period and block all non-business services?
  13. Are you allowing your employees to use video and audio teleconferencing tools to set up meetings and discuss pain points?
  14. Do you allow all your employees to use any other non-approved teleconferencing bridge?
  15. Do you have a helpline to manage access control and communications?
  16. Is your call-center still functional?
  17. If your call-center is not functional, what other communication channels have you set up to meet customer demands?
  18. Have you made any decision to scale your customer support headcount or prioritized dynamic customer interaction through chatbox messengers, or emails?
  19. Have you set up a specific helpline number to track your customer queries?
  20. Are you planning to scale up or downgrade any of your marketing channels to free up your marketing bandwidth?
  21. Are you thinking about outsourcing your call-center tasks to meet the rise in customer queries and complaints?
  22. Have you explored any Agency Experience platform in the last 3-4 weeks?
  23. Have you inquired with any vendor about the pricing drop in the customer support management tools and platforms?
  24. Are your critical service providers informed about your current remote working and disaster recovery plans?
  25. What steps have you taken to reduce dependency on critical service providers?
  26. Have you hired a CIO or CISO in recent months?
  27. Are they prepared to handle an IT incident?
  28. Do you have the most recent backup? If not, what do you plan to do about it in the next 3 working days?
  29. Has your approach changed in the last 2 months to secure operations during a pandemic?
  30. Do you have resilience against cyber threats and data breaches?
  31. Do you have cyberthreat intelligence and end-point security management solutions to thwart a possible attack on your IT systems?
  32. What would be your response time in case of a remote IT incident impacting a critical project?
  33. Is your team trained to access information about Incident Management and Response Processes?
  34. In case of a ransomware attack, what’s your war-room approach?
  35. Do all your confidantes know they are part of your war-room strategy?
Questions 36-50: Human Empathy, COVID-19 related Training, and Engagement
  1. Do you have a model “Work from Home” charter to ensure all your team members are following the protocol during lockdown?
  2. Have you personally written to your employees about your company’s mission, vision, and objective during lockdown?
  3. Have you provided a digital training platform for your employees to access learning and development resources?
  4. Does everyone in your team communicate using the white-listed applications?
  5. How assuring are you to others in your fight against COVID-19 and extending support to your employees?
  6. Is your remote workforce aware of the role they are playing in keeping your business running? How do you test their personal commitment to contribute on days of higher demand?
  7. Is there enough COVID-19 related information available at your site or helpdesk?
  8. Are you tracking your employee’s commitment to stick to “StayatHome” advisory?
  9. Have you sensitized your remote workforce about practicing quarantine and self-isolation?
  10. Have you sensitized your employees about the potential risk of phishing attacks and ransomware hacks into systems through malicious activities, including those that emerge from accessing COVID-19 information available at fake news sites or malware streams?
  11. Is your team aware of the escalation points in the system in case of reporting a malpractice or harassment at remote workplace?
  12. Is your employee contact detail updated? When was the last time you verified these?
  13. Who would step in place of an employee who may fall sick or is unavailable?
  14. Do you often take questions from your remote workforce and how do you solve them?
  15. Do you have a strong CSR objective toward following the lockdown advisory?

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