Transform and Adapt

HOW OUR ESSENTIAL BUSINESS ADDRESSED COVID (AND EVEN THRIVED DURING IT)

By Ryan Schonfeld, Founder and CEO

To say the year 2020 was a challenge does not give it the weight it deserves. No one could have imagined that we’d face a global pandemic, an uncertain economy, and a country divided. Even though I knew it was possible that a threat like this could occur, it was still difficult to grasp, especially as I was launching a new business and supporting an existing one. 

When lockdown occurred, it was uncharted territory. The overall economic climate was a sea of rough waves, and we never knew what new challenge was around the bend. We were living in a constant state of disruption. Businesses had to adapt so frequently to address state-mandated shutdowns, evolving customer needs, and pandemic safety protocols — all of which were new to most of us. While some businesses were forced to shut their doors, others thrived. 

We found ourselves feeling “lucky” during this time. We thankfully fell into the category of an essential business due to the core nature of what we do, so we were able to continue our operations. But even so, we weren’t prepared for how to run an essential, and largely in-person, business in the middle of a pandemic and a state lockdown. We not only had to find a way to keep our employees safe at the office throughout COVID, but we had to quickly build programs and adapt for our customers as well.

Keeping our business running optimally during COVID-19 required new approaches. To adapt, we made some internal operational adjustments such as instituting new safety measures, mask mandates, regular system reporting with integrated (automatic) COVID testing, and physical distancing within the office. 

As a company, we were already well-positioned to deliver the services and support our customers and employees needed because of the way the business is built. We provide remote GSOC services via the cloud, and we incorporated cloud-first infrastructure in every area of our business. I proudly tell people that I run one of the only serverless Fortune 100 GSOCs around. 

If an employee wanted to work from home (or really anywhere in the world with the right permissions), they easily could, and we could support remote work seamlessly from a technological standpoint. From a security perspective, remote work presents a separate challenge, which I’ll save for a different discussion. While some of our employees were able to shift to a work-from-home or hybrid work model, many of our workforce was still in the office every day during COVID.  As such, our business became as much about protecting our own employees as it was about protecting our customers and their people and assets.

We feel grateful that we had the idea to build our business with digital transformation in mind, enabling us to adapt much quicker and empowering us to make our employees feel safe during this very uncertain time. 

Our employees are the backbone of our company, and without their dedication during this situation, we would not have survived. Therefore, we needed to ensure their health and well-being. This included helping keep them safe from infection and giving them the flexibility and downtime they needed from a mental health perspective. The fact that we focused on balancing both allows everyone to keep an even and positive mindset. 

But our “duty” to our employees did not end there. The COVID-19 pandemic was key in pushing us to reconsider our corporate duty of care responsibilities. Whereas previously, most duty of care was centered around the physical well being of employees in our workplace, we had to now help safeguard on-premises and off-premises health. We worked diligently to ensure our teams’ well being was safeguarded as well as their families. We provided COVID testing to employees and their families, and provided continuous updates on changes to local, state and federal guidelines so they could rest assured that they had all the information they needed to stay safe at work and at home.

We are proud to say that while there was an individual case of COVID, it was not workplace related and we had zero cases of workplace spread. I am beyond grateful to our team for their support and dedication to making this a reality. It shows the great culture we’ve built that includes compassion and caring for others. 

The pandemic has taught us that we’re providing an essential service, so we need to ensure that we can provide this service reliably no matter the circumstances. Our company is in growth mode so I couldn’t be happier about the foundation that has been set as we continue to scale. 

As an organization, we learned a lot over the past year and we are pleased to have an opportunity to share our experiences with other businesses in the industry. If you are attending ISC West 2021, we invite you to hear these stories and similar learnings from Arcules and New York Security Solutions during the session, “Keeping Your Business Resilient in an Economic Downturn,” on Monday, July 19, 2021, at 8:45 a.m. Pacific. We look forward to seeing you there.

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