Business Continuity in a Time Of Crisis

Dave Hodgdon and Steve Ripper from PCG IT, a managed IT services provider with offices in Portsmouth, Dover, Manchester, and Portland,discuss business continuity in a time of crisis.

Portsmouth Computer Group · Business Continuity in a Time Of Crisis

Mike: We’re powered today by Portsmouth Computer Group. It’s tech Tuesday. Portsmouth Computer Group with convenient locations in Portsmouth and Dover and now in Manchester and Portland, Maine. PCG IT, for world-class IT service and customer support. Go to and, of course, we have a moratorium of in studio guests. We have our guests online today. They’ve joined us via the technology of Alexander Graham Bell’s invention, the telephone. Thank goodness for Alexander Graham Bell.

Our good friends, Dave Hodgdon and Steve Ripper. Gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to tech Tuesday.

Steve Ripper: Good morning Mike!

What is Business Continuity?

Mike: So gentlemen, of course we are in challenging times. Uncharted waters. We’ve heard all the phrases. Business continuity in a time of crisis, Steve. I mean, what is business continuity and why should companies be thinking about this now and how does Portsmouth Computer Group fill in the blanks here?

Steve: So continuity is the… so it’s the process of understanding and planning for all the factors for your business. So it’s kind of the big picture view. Sometimes in meetings, we’ll call it the 30,000 feet view. You know, when you’re looking at the whole thing. Dave and I were talking… we were talking about what we’d talk about on the radio today, we were talking about how a lot of companies have done remote access for a couple of weeks now. So now they’ve had an opportunity to look at maybe what’s working for them and what isn’t working for them. What’s not working the way they thought it would and what has been working really, really well.

So when you think about that, what we’re talking about is that maybe taking a really big, and then sometimes the other word we use, right Dave, is holistic, a holistic report of what your company’s doing. What are your processes? Are some of them working or are some not working? Because while things are really uncertain Mike, it might be the time… You know, things are going to be like this for a little while and maybe this is the right time to take a look at it and make some changes or think about doing things differently.

Business Continuity and Communication During COVID-19

Mike: Yeah. Dave, what are some of the real hot button items in the face of this particular crisis that businesses are dealing with?

Dave Hodgdon: I think their phone systems, Mike, is one big thing that all users are able to communicate? We’re finding a lot of people weren’t prepared to use the team collaboration. We said that last week, a product like Teams, Zoom. We’ve had a lot of customers try to work from home on their home computers, which really aren’t set up to work there. They’re older operating systems, they’re not secure. We’re finding a lot of people, not all their information’s where they think it should be. Everyone working not in the office, that ability to work together. So we’ve been working hard here at PCG to help our clients collaborate and work together. And as Steve said, they’re finding vulnerabilities and we’re helping them take deep dives to help them find those.

Mike: Yeah. And platforms like, Microsoft 365, Team or Zoom or GoToMeeting, things like that, all those types of things are so crucial now. And these companies, they really need to be set up for this stuff now. I mean, they should have been set up before this, but if they haven’t, now’s a great time to understand why they need to be, I guess.

Steve: Yeah, I mean, IT is the art of taking whatever’s going on right now and then figuring out the solutions for that. You know, companies call us and they’re like, “Hey, this is what’s happening to us now. You know, there’s this epidemic. You know, we’ve got a pandemic going on.” And so now, we shift gears. That’s our job, is to start to say, “So the technology is capable of doing this.”

So many customers, we’ve talked about Teams a lot, but it’s just really interesting, so many customers, no matter how many times I said Teams, kind of went and said, “Yeah, I don’t really use that. It doesn’t really fit for what we do.” And now times have changed, Mike. And now customers who kind of weren’t interested in it before are like, “Hey, what’s this Team thing?” I think you were talking to me about that a couple months ago, right?

Mike: Yeah.

Dave: Yeah. A lot of times, Mike, people didn’t know what Teams is, but they need to realize that Microsoft acquired Skype and then you started using other words like Zoom or GoToMeeting and then the light bulb clicks off and then they understand, “Oh, I’m already paying for this? Oh, it’s part of my plan?” And they realize it is a great tool to use internally and especially now you’ve got to have that facial set. It’s great to call Steve on Teams right now, and when people are working from home, I can dial in two or three texts that we’re trying to deal with a problem, we can have a meeting, we can have our leadership meeting. We’re all trying to follow the protocol, but it’s nice to have that in-face meeting.

Steve: It changes it from a phone call to a meeting.

The Future of the Remote Workforce

Mike: Right. Do you guys think that once this is over, whether it’s in a couple of weeks or a couple of months, do you think more and more people will not go back to their offices because they have found working at home or working remotely has worked out so well? They can actually be more productive? Do you think that’ll change?

Steve: Yeah, I do, Mike. I think it’ll change on both sides of the equation for companies. Owners, bosses, company managers, were going to look at it and go, “You know, I was worried about that, but it really worked out quite well.” I sent people home that I don’t normally send. So a lot of the companies Mike, that we have, will have a group of people that have worked from home in the past and then a group that never did. And now that group is pretty much the whole group has worked from home. So you’re going to have owners and company managers who are like, “It’s not as bad as I thought it was. It was fine.”

And then on the other side of the equation you’re going to have employees who would be like, “I don’t want to work from home. I like to have that line between what I do at work and what I do at home, be separate.” And then you’re going to find a lot of workers where, “You know, it really wasn’t as bad. It was nice to have lunch in my own kitchen and then just go back to work.” And maybe they were worried about being productive and then they found that productivity wasn’t a problem. That they’re going to do the job no matter what, you know? So you’re going to see, yeah, I think it’s going to be an adoption in a way that really hasn’t been in the past.

I think the industry, Mike, is a huge factor, the type of industry you’re in, and your job role. There are several job roles, sales, certain admin, can definitely be doing remotely. But we have many of our clients who are in manufacturing. The people working on the floor have to be on premise. Across the street from us is [Ben’s] Auto Body. He can’t run his business without the bodies being there.

Rethinking Business Operations

Mike: Good point. Good point. But the question people will come up with now, they’ll say, “Okay Dave and Steve, I get that, I understand that. But is now really the time to look at these things in the face of this overwhelming certainty, not knowing what’s going to happen in the future?”

Dave: Absolutely. Right now is the best time because you’ve been forced into your… the cards have been played. Even here at PCG, we’re rethinking things, how we’re operating. We actually have another leadership meeting today that, this is probably the best time, because we’re finding holes that we weren’t thinking about and I think it’s a good time to think about it, get it on the radar and start planning for it and start budgeting. Because we could be closed here two, three, four or five weeks and you might need to be even thinking harder into this.

Mike: Yeah, good point.

Steve: And then the other thing Mike is, is that, is it too late? Is it too early to be doing so? So the bottom line is, is that it’s never too late to make good plans to replace bad ones. If you’ve got things that aren’t working for you, this situation might be highlighting that in a way that it wasn’t highlighting it back in November.

Owners and company managers and your company and you might be looking at things going, “Oh my God, I didn’t see this, but now I’m really seeing it.” Right? so it’s never too late to start going, “All right, maybe we should do something different.”

Dave: And probably two big things, Mike, that has been impacted the most, we’ve seen is that people’s, what I call the infrastructure, the electrical and plumbing. Just think of your house, if you’ve got 20 people, they’re all trying to, “I have to go to the bathroom,” there’s only one restroom. Everyone is trying to hit the remote access from their home to the firewall through that switch and it was never set up or tested to do that. So they’re pushing the buttons on items within their infrastructure, so we’re noticing some stuff right there.

Mike: All right, so find out what’s right, find out what’s wrong and find out what’s missing and find out what is confusing. Call the folks-

Steve: You just did my tip of the day.

Mike: Well that is the tip of the day! I just figured that’s what you were going to say. I want people to call Portsmouth Computer Group, PCG, if you need help with your business continuity planning.

As always great information from our good friends Steve Ripper and Dave Hodgdon from Portsmouth Computer Group, all part of tech Tuesday. They’ve got offices in Manchester and Portland, Maine, and here on the sea coast of New Hampshire and Southern Maine in Portsmouth and Dover. Always great to talk to you guys.

Hey, stay positive, stay strong, stay healthy. We’ll talk to you again next week. All right?

Dave: Take care.

Steve: Thanks, Mike!