As fears of a second outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus reach a fever pitch, we went to ground zero -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- and checked in with CIO James Seligman. Here, he offers his tips for swine flu preparedness:
Seligman: I have five major points in rank order. The first question is, do you have a pandemic influenza plan and is your corporate board involved in that? That is step No.1.
Specific to CIOs and IT would be establishing sufficient remote access capacity and capability for continuity of operations. In our case, we have the ability to support 40% of our workforce simultaneously from their residences. And that is simultaneous work, so people can do other kinds of work that doesn't require them to be logged on constantly during the day.
Second, cross-training or having sufficient staff depth, particularly in mission-critical operations, which doesn't mean necessarily the top of the echelon. It doesn't matter what their pay scale is; they are mission-critical to keeping the operation running. So ensuring that you have two-deep, three-deep, cross-training or fallback people lined up to carry out those functions is important.
Doing some supplier readiness checking is Topic No. 4, particularly if you are highly dependent on outsourcers, whether it is data outsourcers or application outsourcers, CIOs should be checking as to how prepared they are for significant impact on work and outage from flu.
Lastly is human resource policies related to social distancing. Does the company permit and enable having people work from home and still be paid, or take liberal leave without being penalized to help prevent the spread of influenza?
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer