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London, ON, November 5th, 2009 – Info-Tech Research Group’s latest report outlines four specific areas that IT departments need to consider when preparing for the very real threat of an H1N1 outbreak this winter.  If ignored, a business could experience a substantial slow down or a complete halt in productivity.

“Organizations will need to have a well rounded plan in place that encompasses threats to business productivity including sudden catastrophic natural disasters, and terrorist attacks as well as the slow and subtle threat of a large scale disease outbreak which we are facing this flu season,” said Darin Stahl, lead analyst for Info-Tech Research Group.   

The report “IT Planning Guide for Infectious Disease Outbreaks,” outlines the four specific areas of information technologies and IT governance that are critical to enable successful business continuity in the event that an H1N1 outbreak impacts an organization.  

  1. Collaboration tools and technologies
  2. Enterprise and desktop applications
  3. Service desk tools and desktop support
  4. Virtual private networks (VPN) and virtual desktops

Recommendations in collaboration highlight web conferencing tools as the most effective tool allowing employees to collaborate in real time on business documents, spreadsheets and enterprise applications while quarantined in their homes.  Organizations without a web conferencing technology standard should quickly choose and implement an on-demand Web conferencing solution or recommend a free solution for 1-on-1 meetings in the event of an actual emergency.

Employees will also need home access to the enterprise applications they use on a daily basis at work.  Organizations which provide most or all of their employees with company laptops can sit pretty knowing that there is not much work to do to ensure applications are accessible, but those with large departments of employees working from stationary workstations will need to consider a virtual desktop implementation.

Of course, IT staff will also need access to helpdesk and systems management tools to support remote workers.  In the event that an organization does feel impact from an outbreak, an “outbreak service level agreement” is imperative as IT is sure to be inundated with requests and expectations need to be set to ahead of time.

Common practice in business continuity plans is to rely on consumer broadband networks to provide connectivity through a VPN connected to corporate applications. 

“IT departments should be prepared if public/consumer broadband networks become clogged under the strain of masses of employees working from home,” Stahl warns.  “There is no easy solution to this dilemma, but organizations need to be prepared to put money towards providing employees in business critical roles with costly yet committed connectivity.”

About Info-Tech Research Group:

With a paid membership of over 21,000 worldwide, Info-Tech Research Group ( is the global leader in providing tactical, practical Information Technology research and analysis. Info-Tech has a ten-year history of delivering quality research and is one of North America's fastest growing full-service IT analyst firms.

For interviews with Info-Tech Research Group, contact Rachel Flewelling at or 1-888-670-8889 ext. 3061

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Search Code: 12879
Published: November 5, 2009
Last Revised: November 5, 2009

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