Who’s in charge if you are not?
Establishing your IT chain of command.

- a guest article by Tech 2020 Solution’s Senior Tech Engineer, Andrew Saucci

For a company to continue to operate, service its client base and remain productive, it is important to have a plan in place and a clear idea of who is able to direct IT changes and who is not.  If you haven’t thought about it before, it is time to take the first step.
On March 30, 1981, when Ronald Reagan was shot and then hospitalized, Secretary of State Alexander Haig stepped forward and made the one statement for which he will forever be remembered: “I’m in control here.” He did that because, at that moment, everyone around the world needed to know that someone was in charge of one of the world’s superpowers. At least one author has argued that this simple declaration averted World War III (see “Behind Al Haig’s 1981 ‘I’m in control here’ statement” at the World Tribune web site, March 19, 2013).

Just as our country’s line of succession needs to be clear, so does your company’s chain of command. Planning for expansion, planning for disaster recovery, or planning for retirement, good business owners must always be thinking ahead.  As part of this, they must also give thought to who will be able to make decisions on the company’s behalf should they ever be unable to make these decisions.  
"I'm in control here...."

No one wants to think about things like unexpected surgery, illness or death, but unfortunately these things can happen. Having a master-plan in place that establishes who can make your IT decisions, will go a long way to ensuring your company’s business continuity, and it is something that every company needs.

For example, if our normal contact at one of our clients is unable to speak for that client, we need to know who is in charge.  Who can issue orders and make requests in the absence of our usual contact?

If out of the blue we get a call from someone who is asserting that the owner has been incapacitated or worse has died and who claims to be the new owner or COO, how can we (as your trusted IT professionals) be sure if we’ve never previously had this authorized?

As a matter of protocol, if your IT company has not dealt with such a person previously and they do not have prior instructions that authorize them to deal with someone, they may not be able to cooperate with such requests.  Ultimately, your IT team needs to have clearly established that the person making the request has the right to do so—and to do that may take time at a moment when time may be critical.

Equally important is letting your IT team know about parties that you DO NOT want to grant  access or control of IT information to. It will be natural for workers to call IT requesting information that only the owner, CEO, or COO would normally have if they need it to continue running the business. In some cases, the person who calls may not be the appropriate person to be given such information, and your IT team needs to know that ahead of time. If they don’t, they may have to make a difficult decision that will not necessarily be the right one for you.  So,  once again, be sure to let them know ahead of time if at all possible.How do you prepare?
As a business owner, if you have a will, you may want to notify your IT team in advance the name of the executor of your estate so that they can cooperate should that person reach out on your behalf.  

Remember—if there is any doubt, your IT team may have to wait until the doubt is resolved. That may delay paychecks for your employees or result in missed tax deadlines among other things if the information requested of us is necessary to continue normal business activities.

The bottom line here is that the more your IT team knows ahead of time, the faster they can be of service and the less they will have to investigate if you should become incapacitated either temporarily or permanently.

As always, if this is a matter you would like to discuss before you make a decision, we will be happy to evaluate your individual situation and make recommendations based on your specific needs.

This month’s topic is difficult to think about, but one that needs to be discussed proactively.

About Tech 2020 Solutions
Tech 2020 Solutions offers complete turn-key solutions for the technologies that drive your business, stores and secures your data and helps you communicate in and outside of your company.  

Offering offer multiple levels of on-site and remote support, monitoring and maintenance for your data, IT, phones and peripheral equipment needs including: general IT Support and Services, Cloud Storage and Applications, Network Security, Back Up, Mobile Solutions, VoIP Phone Systems, Unified Communications, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery and other Scalable Technologies. Visit www.Tech2020Solutions.com to learn more about Tech 2020 Solutions, Inc. or call 516876-8761 or email info@Tech2020solutions.com.

Power Up with John Hassler is a blog distributed by Tech 2020 Solutions, Inc. and written by
John Hassler, President and Founder of the company.  To reach John, contact him at 516.876.8761 or via email at news@Tech2020Solutions.com.  Connect on Linked In and Facebook.