COVID-19 Announcement – March 14, 2020
We understand that this global pandemic is challenging you and your business in ways never imagined and stress levels are high, mostly due to the unknown. We want you to know that we’re here for you and we will continue to provide the best levels of IT support to you that we can.
As an organization driven by technologies that are often optimized for remote access, we want you to be assured that our team will remain available to help you. Our team will continue to strive to meet our normal time frames of response to service requests and resolution of such requests. The best way to make such requests for service remain our service e-mail address, our on-line service request form and even better, calling our office phone number speaking with us and/or leaving a voicemail if there is no answer.
Projects that are underway will continue moving forward as quickly as possible, but will be placed behind the operational needs of clients from a priority perspective. (we want to make sure our clients are able to continue operating as our highest priority) We did increase stock on common needed items back in January and again in February in anticipation of some supply chain disruption that is expected to develop. Projects that require equipment coming from overseas or equipment that is low-stock in supply chain, may be delayed as we wait for supply chain to refill. We will always keep in estimated mind time frames on shipping dates and do our best to be transparent with you regarding them. We will also look to alternative suppliers as needed to help better meet expected time frames, etc. when possible. It will remain our goal to complete all projects as quickly as possible and communicate proper expectations along the way.
Here are some tips, items of consideration, and information we would like to share that may be helpful in the days and weeks ahead:
- We do suggest that you take advantage of remote capabilities whenever possible, or appropriate for your business. We understand this is not an option for all businesses, however if you are using solutions to accomplish this remote access that are outside of your direct control/ownership (3rd party cloud services) be aware that outages and slowness may occur as cloud-based solutions will be experiencing higher than anticipated loads on their systems and infrastructure. If your current solution is not meeting your needs, we can work with you to help deploy options that are within your direct control and/or solutions that may serve your business more effectively.
- We will continue to implement patches to monitored systems as appropriate to help head-off threats from the ‘bad guys’ as quickly as we deem reliable to deploy. This is also an opportunistic time for threats to take advantage of systems or unsuspecting staff (via e-mail phishing and spoofing) and the impact to businesses due to data loss and infrastructure disruption during this season could be higher than normal. If you do not have an active firewall (Sonicwall for example), you may have additional exposure to risks that could be reduced by adding such a solution. Also, make sure your endpoint antivirus is up-to-date and operating normally on all endpoints. If we monitor these items for you already, we are already keeping an eye on these items.
- Make sure your backups are operating as expected. If you are a monitored customer, we do this for you daily. If you have additional concerns, please contact us for further answers specific to your environment. If you are under a maintenance agreement or a managed backup service, we are already keeping an eye on this for you.
- As a remote and in-person support staff business, we are aware of the risks we face as a company and as individuals and we will continue to make modifications to our daily procedures and protocols for hygiene, prevention, and reduction of cross contamination potential by our staff as we work from site to site, or computer to computer. We encourage you to consider similar steps by your staff and especially any on-site technical support staff. We all know computer keyboards, mice, and telephone handsets (frankly desk areas as a whole) are often ‘gross’ and may be an easy place to target for cross-contamination prevention with a regular cleaning, for example. In the absence of wipes for this purpose due to demand, even a wiping down area with a paper towel lightly dampened with isopropyl alcohol, a mild cleaning solution or soap/water solution would be helpful. Bleach solutions may have long-term impact on plastics of mice and keyboards, so keep in mind you may see some side-effects to this requiring replacement down the road. In any case, we recommend unplugging mice and keyboards before cleaning and then plugging back in once completed. We also recommend doing this at the end of a work day to allow time for any residual moisture to dry before plugging back in and before actual use.
- In addition to the CDC’s guidelines surrounding COVID-19, our staff also has specific instruction to increase hand-washing practices, so if you see them in your restrooms more often, don’t be alarmed. We are doing it to help protect you and us from any potential risk. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say.
- Our staff will be checking for any signs of illness daily and are under requirements to work from home for at least 48 hours if they have any fever above 100F along with any respiratory issues and must return to a state of health prior to returning to customers or the office. This is roughly our normal procedure for staff illness prevention.
- Some clients have already provided us physical access to allow us to respond to their server/infrastructure needs physically 24/7. If you feel this may be a helpful option for your business so we can be able to access your systems when you and your staff are totally remote-working, please let us know and we can arrange for this additional access option to help us keep things running at your office.
Please reach out to our staff with any questions or concerns. We know this is a trying time for many, but we want to assure you that we are here to continue to keep your IT systems and infrastructure running as well as possible during this season. We look forward to the lessons learned from the past, helping better prepare us for the unknowns of the future.
Stay well! Help keep your staff well! Serve your customers well! And soon we will celebrate the journey that we took together to effectively get through a difficult time, so we can cherish, even more, the better times ahead.
Blessings and good health to all,
Benjamin E. Hill
BHC-Trusted IT, Member