For enterprises, managing the challenges that COVID-19 has created means finding the best balance between protecting customers and employees and preserving business operations. Especially in the sphere of IT, ensuring continued service requires creative new approaches as individuals and companies turn to virtual avenues of collaborating and working.
The process of navigating this adjustment period has been different for every business and has produced varying results. However, some trends have emerged across the board in terms of creating pandemic-proof operations.
Across its customer base, DC BLOX has observed a number of these trends and garnered insights not only regarding how businesses are adapting, but also how they’re positioning themselves to address challenges in the future.
Staffing and Supply Chain Impacts
Unfortunately, in many cases, the negative revenue impacts of this pandemic have caused layoffs. Mitch Hungerpiller, President and Founder of Mitchell-Wayne Technologies, a Managed IT service provider in Birmingham, Alabama states, “There are a number of persons going through financial difficulties in the industries that they serve. They’re not going to see revenue.” Matthew Partin, IT Director of Southeast Gastro Health in Birmingham, observes, “Elective procedures and such have been shut down and things have been scaled back, so the people who are remaining have to step up and fill all of the previous roles.” In some cases, this can create skill gaps, overfilled schedules and new margins of error that can pose difficulties – or even become a threat – to business reliability and service success.
In other cases, core business services or key IT projects have been delayed due to supply chain interruptions, leaving enterprises under prepared to meet business demand or to adjust to the pandemic’s new normal. Partin states, “We just had a challenge with a couple of vendors getting circuits to the data center… [DC BLOX has] been instrumental in keeping them moving forward with delivery of the circuit.” When projects can’t be finished on time, expanded services can’t be offered, businesses can’t adjust their operations and financial and reputational repercussions can become a reality. Furthermore, with many organizations shutting down their locations and going entirely remote, many have been forced to be out of touch with their mission-critical systems and data as a result of being unprepared for this kind of total disruption.
Business Continuity is Top of Mind
Not surprisingly, DC BLOX has observed an increased interest in implementing business continuity and disaster recovery plans as a result of the pandemic. These kinds of challenges – a reduced workforce, disrupted IT initiatives, the inability to manage on-site IT or data and others – may be averted by entrusting IT infrastructure to a colocation provider.
DC BLOX has continued to highlight the importance of disaster recovery and business continuity throughout this trying time, serving as an ally to businesses as they seek stability for their customers and for themselves. Thorough IT disaster recovery strategies are one of the best defenses against unplanned business strains such as COVID-19 or any unexpected disaster, and cost-effective solutions that keep IT and operations running uninterrupted are vital for continuous service delivery. As part of these strategies, data center partners that can deliver services such as remote hands, resilient and redundant facilities, hybrid cloud, low-latency network connectivity, cloud storage and more are becoming a necessity.
A data center partner offers peace of mind that can only be achieved by outsourcing the burden of facility maintenance, management and network connectivity. With a data center partner, organizations can ensure their operations stay out of the path of disruption while allowing their teams to stay focused on core competencies and avoid workload challenges to keep services consistent. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the DC BLOX team and their readily available remote solutions have been instrumental in many clients’ ongoing operations.
Outside of colocation as a source of business continuity, individual pandemic response plans have been combating the challenges of network security by implementing Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology for newly remote work forces and customer needs. Hungerpiller comments, “We like to operate as efficiently as possible… we’ve been able to implement hundreds of remote users with VPN upgraded capacity, we’ve used a number of proprietary technologies… and we feel like we’ve been able to help our customers meet those expanded remote technology needs.”
Communication and Connection – Still the Key
To ensure business objectives are still being met, internal enterprise teams are also finding ways to facilitate communication, staying in touch using online platforms such as Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. As Troy Wallwork, President of DataPerk, notes, “I think the biggest challenge in having a distributed workforce is the inability to communicate and to see each other, and those obstacles [are being overcome]. We’re doing lots of things with meetings… we’re trying to keep every bit of our normal routine.”
Despite the pandemic putting distance between teams, families and communities, DC BLOX noticed that not all of the impacts were about challenges – there were also triumphs. Enterprises have reported that this drastic change to life as we know it has made many realize the importance – and the benefits – of the online world. Businesses are becoming more open and comfortable with remote work options, employees are becoming more productive due to a lack of a commute and more frequent team communications and loved ones are bridging the distance by finding new ways to stay connected. On the business side, Wallwork notes, “There’s a productivity that some people experience from working at home. We have a large part of our workforce that seems to be more productive [during this time].” Looking at the home front, Partin says, “Learning how to be together as a family unit [has created] a great opportunity to relive the old culture that used to be in our country of… family time together.”
The present challenges and responses to COVID-19 promise to change how businesses approach their operations and how the world communicates on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s a focus on business resilience, institution of new remote working environments, an enhanced ability to adapt, greater reliance on partners or simply staying connected to each other no matter the situation, the adjustments that are happening right now will help better prepare enterprises, and all of us, for a better future.
About DC BLOX
DC BLOX is a multi-tenant data center provider delivering the infrastructure and connectivity essential to power today’s digital business. DC BLOX’s software-defined network services enable access to a wealth of providers, partners and platforms to businesses across the Southeast. DC BLOX’s connected data centers are in Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Chattanooga, TN, and Huntsville, AL. For more information, please visit www.dcblox.com, call +1. 877.590.1684, and connect with DC BLOX on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.