White Paper: 11 Questions About Your Crisis-Response Plan

The outbreak of the H1N1 influenza, or swine flu, virus that began in late April created a secondary pandemic of anxiety, as businesses, schools and governments contemplated the prospect of widespread quarantines and shutdowns.

Organizations with crisis-response plans dusted them off; others started creating one. Preparedness is important. Pandemics are only one kind of crisis that can disrupt an organization on such a scale; businesses along the Gulf Coast or in Tornado Alley have learned this painful lesson.

With an adequate infrastructure of technology and communication, most organizations can redeploy staff and maintain their essential functions, if not full-scale operations, during an emergency. The challenge for many top, non-technology executives and administrators is simply what to ask about telecommunications and information technology (IT) during crisis planning.

Crisis planning is a cross-functional process; the goal is that every person in the organization knows what to do in the event of an emergency. It is also important to test your crisis plan regularly. That would include the communications within the organization, as well as the capability of the telecommunications and data infrastructure.

To aid in emergency preparation planning, CDW Government Inc. offers the following checklist of topics and questions for non-technology executives and administrators. Review it with the management team and IT department as part of the preparations for a facility shutdown.


  1. What functions and specific positions in our organization are compatible with remote work, even if they are not performed remotely today? Some jobs just can’t be phoned in, but evolving technology is enabling remote performance of more and more positions. It is important to identify these positions before a crisis occurs and to reassess them regularly with all departments and functions.
  2. What percentage of our associates in remote-capable positions are equipped and authorized to work remotely today? You may be further ahead on this than you think, but you may not. The answer to this question will define your crisis redeployment challenge.
  3. How well can our telephone and messaging systems support a redeployment plan? Today’s unified communications and Internet Protocol (IP) telephony technologies can support workers remotely via the same phone numbers and messaging systems they use while in the office. However, many organizations have not adopted those technologies yet, in which case employees will have to use mobile phones, home phones or other means to transact business remotely. Whatever your case, have your communications team plan and instruct employees on how they should handle voice-calling requirements during a crisis-driven redeployment.
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