ALVDIGITAL Systems

Betriebliche Pandemieplanung - Company Pandemic Planning (02/2020)

The primary goals of our pandemic planning is

  1. to protect the health of our team
  2. to ensure the availability of services critical to our customers
  3. to run processes essential to our company and team

with little or no interruption.

 

Business services

Services critical to our customers include:

  • System Hosting: accessability and running of ALV live server
  • System Integrity: availability of ALV functionality on accessible servers and backups
  • System Repair: fixing of priority 1 (mission-critical) bugs in ALV functionality
  • Communications: availability of ticketing systems and ALV staff for bug reporting

Processes essential to our company include:

  • Communications: daily communications among the team
  • Accounting: the recording of accounting and tax-relevant transactions
  • Salaries: timely and secure payment of salaries

Systems essential to our company include:

  • IT and Tools: performant and fully equipped laptops
  • Internet: access to highspeed wired or wireless internet
  • Infrastructure: energy security, telecommunications networks, physical security

Major partners, suppliers and systems

Like every company, we are part of a network of service providers and rely on the following major partners for critical services that we provide and essential processes that we need to keep running:

  • AWS: Hosting and accessability of ALV Live servers
  • 1&1: Email, Hosting and accessability of ALV dev and mirror servers
  • Zendesk: Ticketing and Help Center online system
  • Github: version control and software deployment
  • Ghost Inspector: QA and system integrity control
  • Office Mgmt: access to the Berlin office (barring zone restrictions by the government)
  • Berliner Sparkasse: monthly ALV billing, payments (SEPA debit) and salaries
  • StB K-M: Accounting and monthly ELSTER reports
  • KODIKON (Nis) for software development
  • INVOX: Elisabeth Fuchs (Regensburg) as Head of Label Business

Mitigating Risks

The following steps are taken and procedures are implemented to mitigate risks and achieve our goals. Note that team member absences during a pandemic can be due to many factors such as personal illness, family member illness, community containment measures and quarantines, and public transportation closures.

In case of business process disruptions due to a pandemic we proceed by:

 

System Hosting

  • requiring every employee to run AWS dashboard for system monitoring (CPU, Domain)
  • extending AWS alarm notifications (frequency, scope of recipients)
  • extending mirror server synchronization to include complete file copies
  • evaluating if and when to add new instances (AWS) or servers (1&1) 

System Integrity

  • extending Ghost Inspector failure notifications (frequency, scope of recipients)
  • actively monitoring the creation of database backups (RDS automated backups / retention)
  • actively monitoring the creation of instance backups (EC2/EBS snapshots)
  • actively monitoring the life cycles of S3 buckets

System Repair

  • preserving the integrity of the deployment chain (Code > Github > AWS)
  • defining direct means of code updates under exceptional circumstances (Github down)
  • recording direct updates made to the live server to replicate them later in Github
  • extending Zendesk ticket notifications (scope of recipients and assignees)

Communications with customers

  • communicating up-to-date information through email, twitter and our website
  • evaluating the need for special emergency phone lines (landline or mobile)
  • informing about the status of ALV and staff availability
  • accepting tickets under exceptional circumstances (Zendesk down) through alternative means
  • discarding non-priority tickets and focusing on critical bugs only
    (ticket priority levels of ALVDIGITAL Systems are defined on this page)

Home Office

  • switching to work-from-home (from 50% to 100% of the company, as advised)
  • providing every employee with his personal laptop with updated versions of required tools
  • every employee has or can have a second monitor provided by the company
  • making sure that home internet connections are stable and performant
  • making sure that internal procedures related to data protection and privacy are adhered to
  • continously re-evaluating the requirements and necessities related to work-from-home

Health and Hygiene

  • avoiding public transport
  • avoiding crowds
  • limiting or stopping travel activities
  • providing basic medical kit 
  • providing basic hygiene kit and instructions (see below and at the end)

 

Government

  • our local government office is the Bezirksamt Mitte
  • liaison with authorities to get access in case office is designated to be in a restricted zone
  • the Berlin hotline to report Corona virus cases is 030 90282828 (only from 8-20 h)
  • authorities refer to the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute (FAQ) for detailed information

Hospital Charité

 

The Berlin office is located within walking distance of the Charité, the pre-eminent hospital group in the city, which includes the Institut für Virologie which develops diagnostics and is equipped to identify infections:

 

Their chief virologist is Christian Drosten and you can follow his tweets here @c_drosten (in your free time) although some of it is highly technical and relates to their work of identifying Corona virus genome sequences and sharing them through GISAID.

 

For additional information see (all in German except last):

  1. Robert Koch Institut: Nationaler Pandemieplan / Teil 1
  2. Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe: Betriebliche Pandemieplanung
  3. Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung: 10 Tipps zur betrieblichen Pandemieplanung
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Business Pandemic Planning Checklist (en)

Last updated: 01.03.2020