This communication is to update our customers on the actions we have already taken to prepare our business to respond to the developing Coronavirus outbreak and its potential, or perhaps even inevitable, impacts on our business, our colleagues, our customers and the UK as a whole. This includes what further actions we may need to take in the coming weeks; for example, to support ‘social distancing’.
At Guardian24, our employees, customers and services remain our top priorities, and we are committed to keeping you informed of our efforts to ensure minimal disruption (if any) to our service offerings. The Send For Help Group Board and senior management team are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation, and are continually reviewing the preparedness of the business for managing the developing outbreak; including holding specific senior management meetings solely on this subject. The reviews and decisions are very much based on a “business as usual” (BAU) stance, in line with the UK government’s position, whilst also following all official government guidance.
Based upon our well-established Business Continuity Management system, all of the business-critical areas of the business have been reconfirmed by the management team and our existing business continuity plans have been fully reviewed in the last few weeks to ensure that they will enable us to respond to both reduced staffing numbers and, potentially, office closures.
These plans are now being freshly exercised, with several of our critical support teams working from home for days at a time.
Our planning assumption is that any one area of the business might suffer up to 50% working staff reduction at any one time with up to 20% of staff not working for an extended period. Our exercises are proving that we can cope well at these levels whilst providing welcome learning points on areas where we can refine and improve these alternative structures.
To support any increased use of working from home options that we may decide to implement, we have been increasing the capacity of our internal virtual private network (VPN), reconfirmed its resilience – including all failover hardware – and have already proven our capability to use alternative technologies for accessing our critical systems from home. These enhanced structures are already being utilised in our working from home exercises.
Visitors to our office will, as you can understand, be required to follow all of our health and safety requirements. We ask all of our customers to endeavour to keep those employees presenting with cold or flu symptoms away from our buildings, as you would keep them away from your own.
In respect of ‘social distancing’, which would be a feature of a declared ‘Delay Phase’, we have prepared for an escalating set of potential responses to maintain ‘social distancing’ whilst continuing to deliver business-critical services to our customers. This may include:
- Minimising face-to-face contact with other businesses, including customers; utilising electronic alternatives such as Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams
- Restricting all but essential business travel
- Deferring training, events and meetings or moving them to an electronic form
- Increased working from home
We have also implemented a number of measures to inform and reinforce all official travel advice both for those travelling to and returning from impacted areas of the world. We are also actively working to protect any colleagues that may be particularly vulnerable to this virus.
As the situation in the UK develops, Guardian24 intends to continue to periodically inform our customers of our current operating status and the actions we are taking to maintain all contracted services.
As such, we will be referring our customers to these updates rather than answering customer questionnaires or similar queries. Clarification can be sought from account managers if customers believe there is any material omission.
We would ask for your forbearance if our measured responses to this outbreak presents you with a slightly different interface with our business. Any changes you experience would be as a consequence of us working hard to ensure our business impacts do not become your problem.
If you have any questions please contact your account manager or our customer support team in the first instance.