“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
I believe that sentence captures not only the great stress and uncertainty of our times right now, but also contains a way forward, a way out. What we do in the time of crisis, not only as individuals but as organizations, as businesses, speak volumes about our values. There is nothing like a crisis to know if our values are mere rhetoric or the real thing. The current pandemic only brings into focus what we value as a company — our people – and our plans to protect the health and safety of our people while also ensuring that our client services continue uninterrupted.
Let me give a brief context as to where we’re coming from.
Over the last few years, in my role as CTO On-Demand, I often began by auditing and documenting my clients’ Business Continuity Plans and Information Security Policies. I then followed up by provisioning firmwide trainings and tests for these strategies. Usually, other than the CCO or COO, few people take the idea of a regional or global crisis seriously and will usually just go thru the motions and check the boxes. However, in financial technology, the SEC established the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations who continue to recommend annual testing and planning. Although these regulations do not directly apply to my small firm, I could not advise my clients to take these policies seriously if I didn’t implement them myself for my company.
This practice of holding our company to the same standards of our mission critical clients’ emergency preparedness compliance now serves us well. It enabled us to develop our business continuity practices: systems that ensure our teams’ safety without affecting productivity by adjusting work arrangements.
In response to the eruption of the Taal volcano in Tagaytay, Philippines on January 12, we decided to move up the annual stress test of our BCP work-from-home policy to March 13th. We believed it was just preparation for future scenarios wherein our employees may find it difficult to report to the office but as the day drew closer, we realized that the COVID-19 outbreak may make this scheme more than just an experiment, but a reality.❝
In times of natural disasters or global pandemics, BCP’s utmost priority is checking on the welfare of people and their families.
With much success, on March 13, all Xelure employees, both in the U.S. and the Philippines, worked remotely from their homes. We diligently checked all systems of communication, connectivity, and security. We went through our Call Tree and scheduled BCP huddles using MS Teams. We performed health checks and roll-call for each of our three operational shifts. All participants found this exercise efficient and judged them to be successful. Most importantly, our clients did not notice any changes in our proficiency and level of service.
As of March 15, in response to the Philippine national orders of a 30-day “enhanced community quarantine”, we instructed everyone to continue working-from-home in coordination with our clients. We kept our daily health and attendance checks going as day-to-day updates around the growing pandemic were announced. We clearly communicated with our teams about the escalating situation and made sure that we are all able to deal with the physical and mental stress of the situation we are actively and unwillingly engaged with. In times of natural disasters or global pandemics, BCP’s utmost priority is checking on the welfare of people and their families. Thus far, our team and extended members (families of each of our staff) are safe and healthy: mind, body, and spirit.❝
It is the bedrock upon which we assure our clients and employees that our small company will remain steadfast with them before, during, and after disasters.
We remain committed to our people during this time. In our experience of building and managing teams, we know that prioritizing our employees’ welfare translates to success. Our team’s 30 years’ experience managing mission critical financial technology firms through events like 9/11, SAR’s epidemic and NYC’s Super Storm Sandy has provided us with the expertise to manage crisis preparedness. It is the bedrock upon which we assure our clients and employees that our small company will remain steadfast beside them before, during, and after disasters (practicing social distancing, of course).
Until then, stay safe and healthy with your loved ones.
CEO and Founder – Xelure Technologies
Additional resources on the coronavirus:
- NYS State Department of Health
- CDC Information on Coronavirus
- World Health Organization, Coronavirus
- CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary
- CDC Travelers’ Health: Novel Coronavirus in China
- Update and Interim Guidance on Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, China
- CDC Health Alert Network Advisory information for state and local health departments and health care providers
- Philippines Department of Health Coronavirus Updates
- CNN Philippines Live Updates – Coronavirus
- Inquirer.Net Novel Coronavirus Update
- Rappler COVID-19 Updates
- Our World in Data – Coronavirus Disease – Statistics and Research