Secure, reliable comms crucial for business continuity through pandemic

remote work

US Small businesses continue to close as a result of the coronavirus stay-at-home decrees, but enterprise is working to maintain “business as usual,” when possible, by depending on secure, reliable comms.

“Business continuity” has become a buzz phrase for CEOs, COOs and CISOs, a daily talking point as work-from-home becomes the norm. Forty-one states in the US have decreed shelter-in-place rules in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19s spread, and enterprises across the country – and the world – are working to establish new rules of work that keep remote employees connected.

Researcher Gartner wrote in March that COVID-19 has the potential to be as disruptive “to an organization’s continuity of operations as a cyber intrusion or natural disaster.” The health crisis, it said, should serve as “a wake-up call to organizations that focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience.”

At the core of business continuity, of course, is communication. And technologies like Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, Go to Meeting and even FaceTime are being leveraged to provide pieces of the communications matrix.

Those technologies have been helpful from a personal perspective.

Enterprises look for secure, reliable comms

But enterprises have a different need; they need to be able to distribute a message widely, knowing the tech they’re using is efficient and reliable, as they reach out to employees, customers, investors and prospects.

They need to be able to conduct remote team training, perhaps conduct virtual events.

And, not only do companies need to have a “single source of truth,” it has to be secure.

Companies can’t be susceptible to “Zoombombing,” where uninvited participants harass attendees. Zoombombing has become so pervasive that the FBI has begun investigating some cases. The New York Times said it uncovered hundreds of Instagram and Twitter accounts, and Reddit and 4Chat message boards where people had organized attacks on Zoom on a global scale, sharing accounts and passwords.

Zoom has issued three security patches in recent weeks that address issues with vulnerabilities that allow stealing passwords in Windows and installing malware in MacOS. While the company claims to support end-to-end that isn’t the case.

And that’s a huge problem.

Confusion, anxiety at a time where communications are critical

Misinformation –ranging from scams online to less-than-transparent communications from officials globally –has created confusion and, in many cases, anxiety.

Since the beginning of March, the cadence of industry event cancellations has accelerated, throwing companies’ travel — and sales meetings calendars – into turmoil. But, for a company conversant in video streaming, those cancellations can be opportunities to offer more engaging virtual meetings with interactive demonstrations of technology and product. And, customers can be given a digital record of the meeting to share with others in their company.

Internal communications and training also needs a secure, reliable channel for live — and recorded — content to help maintain focus during stressful times. It can leverage institutional knowledge and provide a touchpoint for employees that may be working remotely for the first time.

Adopting a video strategy can help event companies supplement offline offerings with online content by live streaming conference tracks and by publishing video on websites and social media. They also can make that content available on-demand as soon as they happen.

The bottom line

We’re all talking about getting beyond the peak of this pandemic, all anticipating being able to get back together at the office, travel as needed and to – frankly – share a few drinks with friends as soon as this is all a wrap.

But the reality is that we have a long way to go and we still need new tools with which to work effectively.

Drop me a note and tell me what you’re doing to cross this communications divide.

Stay tuned… and stay well.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn