Written by: Adam Travis, Senior Consultant
Many institutions have put time and resources into disaster recovery or continuity of operations planning, but what about the situation many institutions are in now, where the buildings and servers are all fine. Desktop computers and phones have power, but the people can’t get to them? How should we be adapting now and planning for the future? Consider incorporating a remote operations readiness checklist into your remote workplace plans:
- Are all systems accessed by students available off-campus?
- Are all systems accessed by faculty available off-campus?
- Are all systems accessed by staff available off-campus or through VPN/VDI?
- Do all staff have access to use the VPN or is special approval/configuration required?
- Are all employees provided laptops or VDI?
- Are you using Multi-Factor Authentication with all critical systems?
- If you allow employees to connect from personal devices and don’t provide a Virtual Desktop, does your VPN client validate the connecting system is patched and has up-to-date virus definitions?
- Are all systems accessed by students and faculty using Single Sign-On or at least Same Sign-On?
- Are there any commonly used systems for employees that do not use SSO?
- Do employees have access to (and are encouraged to use) a password vault?
- Do you have a chat system for departments to stay connected, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack?
- Do you have a video conference system available to all employees, such as WebEx, Zoom, or JoinMe?
- Do you have file sharing that will be accessible to departments and teams with your remote work setup?
- How much of your critical system infrastructure is located onsite?
- Do you have IT functions that require staff to be onsite, such as rotating backup tapes?
- Do system administrators regularly need to interact with physical hardware?
- Do you have financial functions that require special hardware like cash registers, credit card readers, or MICR printers?
- Are there single points of failure within your network that only exists at one location, such a firewall, VPN, core router(s), edge router, single internet provider?
- For each department, are there processes that require paper forms and signatures?
- Are there departments that still rely on paper files for day-to-day business?
- For each department, do you have processes where you validate a user by the identification card? If yes, do you have a way to handle validation remotely?
- For departments that offer a front counter for students to interact, do they have a chat feature or other way for students to each them?
- Can you process a transcript electronically?
What other business processes were designed to work best for people in one location, and how can we adapt to be efficient with a distributed and online model? If you need assistance or guidance, SIG is here to help.