On a couple occasions, I have  have offered advice on how to deal with disasters and just yesterday I wrote about Mitigating risks.  Today, I’m deviating slightly from 26 Short – make this #13.5 – to share some of F5’s Emergency Preparedness plans for the possible resurgence of H1N1.  While we often try to give interesting tips, ideas and suggestions to help you and since many of you might be going thru the same exercise, I though I’d share how we are preparing ourselves.  Per usual, this is not to flame the fears already in the media but offer calming assurance that there is no reason to panic.

F5’s main objectives for Emergency Preparedness for Employees is to provide a safe and healthy working environment and to ensure business continuity.  All of us received an email outlining our policies along with a link to an internal portal page dedicated to Emergency Preparedness.  It contains several governmental and informational resources pertaining to H1N1 along with Emergency Hotline Phone Numbers and a short video from HR so we all can clearly understand this particular flu strain and what to do if we contract it.  Each region around the world has a page specific to their needs.  We have also put together a cross functional pandemic planning team that has identified critical business activities, resources and responsibilities to support a pandemic mission along with taking precautions within our own facilities – like simply providing hand sanitizers among other supplies. 

Following tips offered by the Centers for Disease Control, if any of us do get symptoms, one of the primary actions we can take as employees is stay home since the virus appears to be easily transmitted from person to person.  This is to protect all employees.  The great thing is that there are also Work from Home instructions on how to connect remotely using our own FirePass SSL VPN.  We’re already prepared for any increase in needed capacity and have policies in place to check any connecting device, even un-trusted home computers, to ensure internal security compliance.

It’s a comfort to me knowing that my employer is ready for H1N1 and any other emergency that suddenly appears and hopefully a comfort to you knowing that F5 is prepared to still support you even if you experience a crisis.


Additional note added after posting:
One thing I forgot to mention about Work at Home strategies - Do keep in mind that with the additional workforce potentially using home broadband for work, there might be some capacity constraints on carriers in certain areas of the country.  There might also be some Acceleration solutions, like a WAN Optimization or Web Acceleration that can help with bandwidth reduction.