Lack of Telework Preparedness Puts Business Continuity in Danger?

Research from Telework Exchange finds organizations expect employees to work from home in a pandemic, yet don't provide adequate resources

A study released this week claims many organizations have an inflated sense of confidence about just how seamless it will be to allow staff to telecommute if the need should arise.

The study, conducted by Telework Exchange, a public-private partnership focused on expanding telework adoption, surveyed 301 public-and private-sector IT decision makers about their business continuity and mobile IT infrastructure. The research, titled "Mobilizing Against Pandemic," reveals that 81 percent of government and business IT decision makers have written business continuity plans, but both sectors report implementation challenges and lack assurance that employees could work remotely during an emergency. The report finds 44 percent of government agencies and 22 percent of businesses do not provide remote network access to all employees.

Why aren't more businesses prepared to give remote access to staff? According to respondents, nearly one in three organizations experience management challenges while testing their business continuity plans. Encouraging managers to telework and implementing performance-based management processes can help engage management to accept a more mobile workforce, research authors suggested.

The research also recommends IT departments do a full evaluation of the security features of remote equipment assess current mobile equipment inventory to meet emergency requirements. Survey respondents admitted one in seven laptops in their organization lacks built-in security. Organizations must select laptops with integrated security features, including encryption, according to the study's authors.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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