By Samiur Rahman, Blogger, Lava Protocols

COVID-19 has hit the world by surprise. There are some countries that are affected by this virus more than others. In this time of crisis, we can learn a thing or two from the IT leaders who are striving to let businesses operate as effectively as possible.


Saiful Bakhtiar Osman, the Malaysian Aviation Commission’s (Mavcom) ICT Head and BCP coordinator, is one of the major examples of individuals who are driving service continuity during the lockdown of the country.


The Malaysian Aviation Commission is an autonomous organization established on 1st March 2016 under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 to manage economic and commercial issues linked to civil aviation. The Commission’s goal is to support the nation’s economic growth by promoting a commercially viable, customer-centric and flexible aviation industry.



The BCP Structure

Mavcom’s utmost priority, during the pandemic, was to take care of its staff while maintaining the accessibility of the services to the public and industry professionals. Hence, Osman says that the general framework and foundation is meant to ensure the progress of the day to day activities and that staff has the option to keep supporting the stakeholders during this pandemic, for this situation, the ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO).


Consumers can file their complaints regarding airlines and airport services via the three channels arranged by Mavcom. This can be done through customer hotline number, FlySmart mobile apps, and by Mavcom’s official site and FlySmart consumer microsite. Osman explained, “The consumer hotline number runs on a private PBX cloud and our staff shall be able to support calls via VoIP from anywhere as long as there is internet connectivity. All these three channels are linked to our FlySmart CMS (Complaint Management System) which is built on the SalesForce cloud platform,”. Osman and his team facilitated a dependable AeroFile system to supervise the flight landing application, which runs on the SalesForce cloud platform as well. “This ensures stability, availability, and accessibility for all airlines to apply for landing permits and flyover. The AeroFile system simplifies the filing from the airlines and integrates the approval from the three agencies: namely MAVCOM, National Slot Coordination Malaysia (NSCM) and Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM). The AeroFile system is available 24×7 and the case officers were equipped with efficient approval features via mobile phone,” he added.


Another action that Osman has taken is to make sure that the IT team is informed of the necessary protocols during the crisis. “Therefore, we have issued the BCP Guideline and the Work-From-Home Handbook to all staff so that they have sufficient knowledge to respond and act in the time of crisis. This is on top of the Annual BCP exercise conducted to familiarize the staff and improve the SOP where needed,” he states.


Early Adoption Of Cloud

Luckily, Mavcom has 90% of its IT framework running on the cloud since the origin of the business in 2016. Osman stated that with the help of cloud service, the efficiency of the team increases drastically due to the availability of documents in real-time thus enabling faster decision making.


For home network protection, Osman mentions that he would have to depend on the current protections on the laptops. “Our laptops are equipped with few layers of protection, such as Menlo Security, Cylance NGAV and Trend Micro Worry-Free Security. Menlo Security will protect the browsing and harmful links and it will be detonated in the Sandbox which significantly reduces the risk to the users.”


“The cloud-based endpoint security ensures active live protection and continuous signature updates compared to the onsite server-based solution. On top of that, we also increase the defense against the probability of a zero-day virus by implementing algorithm-based endpoint security, namely, Cylance NGAV,” he says.


COVID-19’s Impact On The Malaysian IT sector

The lockdown impact on the Malaysian IT can draw parallels to India Inc’s situation to an extent. Even the internet service providers in Malaysia as a whole are tested during this period with the sudden increase in demand for internet bandwidth because of the increasing number of people working from home, Osman says. “Since the MCO also involves schools and other institutions being closed, you could also witness an increase in demands for online streaming, videos, browsing, and online games,” he adds.


According to Osman, the impact of the lockdown on the Malaysian IT can be compared to India Inc’s situation to a certain extent. The demand for internet bandwidth is more than ever due to people’s necessity to work from home and this is pushing the internet service providers in Malaysia to be more effective. “Since the MCO also involves schools and other institutions being closed, you could also witness an increase in demands for online streaming, videos, browsing, and online games.” he continues.


Taking everything into consideration, Osman is confident that the Malaysian IT sector will evolve. Leaders are now resonating with the idea of working from home and investing in technologies to defend organizations from any recurring crisis as per COVID-19.



Osman speculates that COVID-19 could well be a blessing in disguise for the future of technology.


“We have to admit that coming out with a BCP strategy is not an easy thing. This COVID-19 shall become a reality check to most enterprises on how severe and important it is to have a good BCP in place. This is also the time to tighten any loose end and foolproof your SOPs,” he said.


This can be a proper opportunity for you to convince your management to invest in technology. Oftentimes, managements tend to prioritize other things over such propositions. However, with the current knowledge that you have and the outcomes that have been seen, you can identify the right BCP and the proper technology that fits your business. After all, there is no one solution that can fix all your problems.


Tackling The Fiscal Challenges

As the global aviation industry is staring at a crunch should the crisis prolong, Osman suggests being realistic and prudent at times of crisis, and closely monitoring the situation and adjusting financial targets accordingly.


Since the pandemic is going to stay for some time, Osman advises businesses to be vigilant, calculative, and pragmatic when investing.


“The challenge for us would not be in terms of operating under the BCP mode but rather the duration of having to operate under this mode,” he adds


So, Osman believes that the best way to spend on IT is ‘prioritization’. “We need to reassess all the projects at hand and determine the importance of having it to proceed for the business. Anything ‘good to have’ should be brought forward to the next year as it would not have significant added value to sustain the business,” he explained.


Osman proposes it would be smart to separate the project implementation into stunned stages as opposed to totally dispose of for the present year. “This is important for projects that require a lot of buy-in from multiple stakeholders. We do not want them to lose interest or for IT to lose momentum in the project,” he appended.


Article originally appeared here


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