COVID-19: Prioritizing health & safety

Avatar for Chris MacFarlandBy Chris MacFarland|Mar 13, 2020|7:30 am CDT

One of Masergy’s core values is Employees, Customers, and Partners First. As great aspiration, this was a factor for me in deciding to join the company. The Masergy difference is in how we have balanced these three groups and blended them together over the last two decades, fostering an organization that deeply cares about each other and our ability to serve our clients and partners.

In light of the Coronavirus, it’s more important than ever for me to provide visibility into how our company is acting with urgency to protect our employees and our business. The Coronavirus is a rapidly changing situation, demanding constant monitoring, communication, and organizational pivots. As such, I wanted to express key takeaways and messages as Masergy progresses on this path.

Uncharted territory: Responsiveness in protecting our people and operations

There are so many more unknowns than knowns right now, which makes this a time unlike any other in modern history. The executive team is working to make the most informed response and take the best actions moment-by-moment and day-by-day. Thus, we are constantly monitoring the guidance coming from a multitude of sources. Those include the obvious ones like the World Health Organization and the U.S. Center for Disease Control, but more importantly we are closely listening to our employees, clients, partners, and professional community to help triangulate toward the best response.

Our teams are meeting daily at 8:30 AM to address Coronavirus concerns, generate more ideas on how we can mitigate the spread of the virus, and to identify any additional steps necessary to minimize disruptions. Every day we’re getting a clearer picture of what it takes to be responsive in that effort. Our daily decision making is fast and based on proactive measures. We’re taking every possible action to ensure that we have a safe environment for our employees across the globe.

Steadfast responsibilities yet shifting work models

Our other responsibility is our clients and to maintain operational excellence as well as business stability. We continue to run 24/7, serving 1,400 enterprise clients that rely on us for network and communications services and security protection. This is a responsibility we take seriously, and we’re fortunate to have the tools and capabilities that empower our workforce to work from home. All Masergy employees leverage our own UCaaS solution to chat, collaborate, and host video meetings. This has enabled us to move swiftly to a virtual work model.

On Monday March 9, we made the decision to virtualize our entire company–including our NOC, SOC, and all the way through the corporate business departments. In a matter of days, we will be 100% virtual. This shift requires a huge amount of coordination and communication, and thankfully it’s been a fairly smooth transition.  I want to explicitly call out that this is different from simply working from home for a few days; this is a company-wide transformation that requires quality and sustainability. We have considered the management of everything: mail, equipment logistics, even down to having enough power adapters for all our IP phones. Our global workforce is highly capable of sustaining a virtual office model for long time periods should that become necessary. Additionally, while our offices are vacated, we will be going through a process to sanitize all desktops and other hardtop surfaces.

Policy changes: Travel and business meetings

Employee travel policy changes have been made to prioritize health and wellness and do our part in slowing and stopping the spread of the Coronavirus. These policies are much in-line with what other companies are doing. Here is a quick summary.

  • No business travel, domestic or international
  • All customer, partner, and internal meetings to be held virtually
  • Exceptions require approval from a business unit executive

Business continuity and service reliability

Fail-over plans and network connectivity management procedures are in place in the event that our increased data, voice, and video conferencing creates a drag on our bandwidth. Managing IT disruptions is our specialty, of course, and we’re also prepared to help clients do the same. Specifically:

  • NOC and SOC remain operational in all three global centers — we have experienced no service degradations or service quality impacts
  • Service implementations are not yet impacted, but we are learning of supply chain delays from our hardware vendor partners. We can deliver on implementation requests today, but these will likely slow in the future.
  • Client projects and meetings continue.

Supporting clients and partners

Increased use in virtual collaboration requires an increase in network capacity and secure virtual private networking (VPN) connections for remote employees. As a managed network services provider, Masergy can quickly deliver additional VPN connectivity and network capacity for clients. We’re asking clients to reach out if they need additional VPN connectivity as they transition to virtual work models with more remote workers. When additional network configurations are required, we are working to expedite provisioning.

Additionally, we’re communicating with clients and partners, providing transparency into potential supply chain impacts as it relates to delivery delays from our hardware vendors. We’re helping clients minimize or avoid delays by assisting with service forecasting, proactively placing orders for new hardware in order to deliver according to their schedules when possible.

Just the beginning

The timeline of when the Coronavirus situation stabilizes is not clear. As we encounter any challenges, we are prepared to be flexible and work together to solve problems as they arise. Bumps in the road will be addressed collectively, acknowledging that our approach for success will continue to change as the virus plays its course. Now is the time to be both proactive and rapidly reactive, and it will take everyone’s commitment to maintain our core values–Employees, Customers, and Partners First.

I take my role in protecting you and our service very seriously, and want it to be very clear that I accept that responsibility wholeheartedly. The executive team and I are working around the clock to manage the Coronavirus situation thoughtfully and effectively. We will prevail and prosper, and we will help our clients do the same.

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