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Articles published weekly by IT security and compliance professionals with decades of experience

  

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Articles published weekly by IT security and compliance professionals with decades of experience

The Coronavirus – Be Prepared!

Jerry Hughes
Feb 13, 2020 1:30:00 PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the Coronavirus. This new virus was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States.

On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that has been referred to as the Coronavirus; COVID-19.  The CDC will be updating their website and other CDC materials to reflect the updated name.

CDC sources have called the Coronavirus a mild Pandemic and recommend that organizations dust off their Pandemic Plans. The Coronavirus has exceeded the numbers of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) of 2003.

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The CDC website states the following:

 “All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of 2019-nCoV in their workplace in the event of an outbreak in the US. They should identify and communicate their objectives, which may include one or more of the following: (a) reducing transmission among staff, (b) protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, (c) maintaining business operations, and (d) minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains. 

Employers should: 

  • Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan
  • Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected
  • Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them
  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts 

If your organization has a Business Continuity Management (BCM) Program in place, then you are already ahead of the game. It is recommended that you review the section of the plan that has the “Pandemic” response procedures and ensure that it is updated and tested. For organizations that do not have a plan, or that have a plan that does not have critical Pandemic response procedures, it is highly recommended that you get started ASAP. Remember, even a perceived Pandemic outbreak at your organization, or to a key service provider that your organization uses, could have a significant impact on your business.

For more specific considerations for businesses from the CDC, here is a link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/guidance-business-response.html 

Here are some recommendations regarding Pandemic Planning from the FFIEC since it first became a requirement in the banking industry: https://www.ffiec.gov/press/pr121207.htm
 

Please reach out to your trusted partner, Compass IT Compliance, to see how we can help you get started today!

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