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Pandemic Security: Is Your Business Ready For Swine Flu And Other Real Viruses?

Whether or not the H1N1 swine flu reaches pandemic proportions, its presence should remind everyone that in addition to health issues, influenza and other sources of largescale personnel outages raise some serious business security concerns.
Whether or not the H1N1 swine flu reaches pandemic proportions, its presence should remind everyone that in addition to health issues, influenza and other sources of largescale personnel outages raise some serious business security concerns.While the world's health organizations and governments wrestle with H1N1 sine flu outbreak and attempt to determine the seriousness of this particular strain of flu, small and midsized businesses should take the time to make sure that flu preparations are part of their overall security plans.

Even if H1N1 doesn't reach pandemic levels, flu seasons of any level raise questions:

Working from home: If employees stay home sick, or, in the case of a wildfire contagion, stay home to avoid getting sick, how secure are their home office technologies -- and how confident are you of their security?

Key employee outages: What if the heart of your IT department gets sick? (For some of you that heart may be a single individual.) How fully are the employee's procedures and practices (including log-ons and passwords) replicated, and how quickly could you get hold of them? (While I'm at it, how secure are the procedures and tools used to replicate those bits of information?)

Vendors, partners, contractors: Same as with employees. What happens if a key vendor or contractor falls ill? The cloud may be pandemic-proof (theoretically) but the people and companies on the other side of your Saas arrangement are likely to be as vulnerable to infection as your own staff.

You get the picture: preparation for a widespread influenza outbreak is an important part of disaster planning, whether or not the pandemic ever arrives.

Pandemic planning is more than IT planning: Bear in mind that even during a mild flu season a couple of hundred thousand people will be hospitalized. Minimize your risk by casting an eye on workplace hygiene and other factors that can raise the odds of even a mild flu becoming a major problem for your business.

Above all, take a look at the thoroughness of your current disaster prep and disaster recovery (DR) plan, and make sure it doesn't call for your entire workforce to remain healthy and accessible.

DR was one the focus topics of last week's successful bMighty bSecure SMB Security On A Budget online event, now available on demand.

Check out SMB Security On A Budget here. (Free -- registration required.)