Hurricane Sandy's affect on the business sector has been greatly minimized thanks to the use of mobile technology. As many regions affected by the storm has dealt with extensive power outages, flooded roads and an isolated workforce, many businesses have been able to remain in service, thanks to mobile technology. In fact, Hurricane Sandy can be seen as the first real disaster that shows the advantages of cloud-based productivity services and teleworking.
Gartner's Roberta Witty, a research vice president in its compliance, risk, and leadership group, believes that hurricane Sandy, and its fallout, shows how enterprise mobility can keep businesses functioning during adverse conditions. She writes in a Nov. 1 blog post, "I once wondered whether the work at home trend would result in a massive commercial real estate crash. Sandy may teach us that work location diversity is good. My guess is that ‘work from anywhere' will be seen (after Sandy) as a capability that reduced the economic impacts of the storm (as large as they still are), and helps the ‘Mean Time to Recover' for business services."
There exists a variety of mobile services and tools to help keep your business functional during major natural catastrophes. If your employees are already familiar with mobile software that utilizes cloud-based services, then the steps taken during disasters will already be very familiar to them. Productivity tools like DropBox, Skype, and Evernote, for example, as well as our proprietary remote project management software makes it easier stay viable and functional during natural disasters. If your business has multiple offices distributed in different regions of the country, you are usually well-equipped to manage the effect of natural disasters like hurricane Sandy, thanks to system back-ups.
In order to ensure that your enterprise is prepared for any event that may keep your workforce away from the office, regular maintenance and network services reviews should be scheduled. If your enterprise has a Bring-Your-Own-Device policy, be sure to regularly check the functionality and compatibility of popular mobile technologies and applications, as these are changed and updated with great regularity. Try to identify, and address, what network issues are serious enough to affect your employees functionality in the event of a long-term telecommuting situation. Even if you only use enterprise devices on your network, perform regular maintenance to keep your system humming along.
Beyond your own network, do not underestimate the importance of creativity and flexibility among your employees. For example, many employees have been using social media as a workaround to establish and access temporary collaborations. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and multiple mobile chat clients like AIM have been used by employees in the event of a company's enterprise network failing or becoming inaccessible. The benefit of these services is that can be easily accessed on a range of devices, which makes them perfect for BYOD network use.
Ensuring your enterprise is ready to weather the storm of natural disasters like hurricane Sandy requires forethought, creativity and flexibility. Changes in technology have made it easier and cheaper to make your business strong enough to handle such emergencies. Use mobile technology to keep your business afloat during any type of disaster.