Small businesses are unprepared for remote access needs if a swine flu outbreak occurs

The majority of UK small businesses are unprepared for a H1N1 flu outbreak that could prevent employees access to the office.

A recent LogMeIn poll of 225 small businesses and enterprises by research firm Vanson Bourne found that 53 per cent of small businesses do not have a business continuity plan in case of a flu outbreak, compared with just 18 per cent of enterprises.

Stephanie Balaouras, principal analyst with Forrester Research, wrote in April: “What swine flu has done is reminded us all of the necessity to plan for threat scenarios that affect people more than they do data centres and other physical corporate facilities. In these scenarios your workforce recovery strategy must rely on remote access solutions or virtual workforce solutions.”

Andrew Burton, vice president of consumer and SMB products at LogMeIn, said: “With all the news and publicity around the flu this year, business managers are starting to think about the impact it could have on their employees, as well as on their business.

“It doesn't take a pandemic to disrupt your business, and everything from winter storms to major road works can cause lost work days and lower individual productivity. Being prepared and having a plan in place can make a big difference.”

Jim Black, marketing and business development manager at Bloxx, told SC Magazine in early August, that: “Over the past few weeks we have seen a substantial increase in the number enquires from our NHS installed base about adding additional web filtering capability. Based on what they are telling us it would appear that they are building additional capacity in the anticipation of having additional staff to cope with any dramatic increase in Swine Flu over the coming months.

“Whilst we specialise in web security, some of our resellers with wider product portfolios are also seeing increased demand for other kit needed for home working such as VPNs. It's certainly encouraging that the NHS appears to be taking a proactive approach to ensuring that the IT infrastructure needed to cope is in place ahead of time.”

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