Things are changing so rapidly, that every time I draft a communication, it is outdated before I click send. I wanted to provide valuable information rather than just another reminder that we are in the most challenging time that most of us have experienced.
We want to reach out with some practical advice and information relating to the ever changing working environment in which we find ourselves. And to let you know, that we are here to help if there is anything we are able to do. We are all in this together and need to work as a community until the current pandemic subsides. Which of course it will do in due course.
Business Continuity Plans
Many companies will have enacted business continuity plans, or will be scrambling to write them. Now is not the time to consider options or develop robust procedures. That can come later. Working from remote locations is surprisingly easy and efficient, particularly for those already on Office 365. If you need some help, whether that simply be a chat to confirm a capability, or detailed assistance, please reach out. Don’t forget to revisit security once you are working from a remote location. Sometimes we focus on running and forget to do it securely.
“I just wanted to reach out and congratulate you and you team on the amazing support they are continuing to provide us in these most difficult times”Edward Thomson
Chief Operations Officer
Unfortunately there are those in the world that will look to exploit the current environment. This is the perfect storm of disruption, disorganisation and confusion that criminals love. Please advise your staff to be extra vigilant at the moment with regards to links. Remember, that humans are the weakest link in your security systems. If in doubt, delete it. Sadly, we have already seen a number of targeted campaigns via Phone, SMS and email. They’ve already started, so be aware.
Wide Area Network Capability and Performance
Some businesses will be well prepared with regard to internet links, firewalls and VPN licenses. Not everyone will be. Be aware that if staff need to work remotely and connect in to office resources, you may not currently have enough licenses to cover everyone. These can be quickly applied. In addition, your business internet connection will come under heavy pressure if a large number of your staff, with fast home NBN connections, are all logging in and accessing information from behind your firewall.
Infrastructure Capability and Performance
The NBN have come out and declared that they have capacity to handle the potentially millions of workers that are about to work from home. We are not as confident. The reality is that it is not only about the NBN. Many of the cheaper NBN providers offer lower rates based on higher “contention ratios”. This means that the “up to 100Mb” connection you have, is sharing an upstream link with an unknown amount of other people. Be prepared that performance MAY be impacted and we may just need to all be a bit more patient, depending on who you are with.
VoiP Phone Systems and VPBX
We have already seen some “creaking” as a number of businesses divert phones to mobiles and work from alternate locations. This will improve as capacity is tuned to meet the changing requirements, but there may be interruptions or unusual phone behaviour in the short term for some of you. This has also been true of all 3 major mobile networks. This is going to continue to be something we will have to be patient with.
Labour Resources for Fault Resolution
We have already seen significant impact at many of our partners, as their workers are impacted in the same way as we all are. Some run call centres In countries that have already enacted forced lock downs. In some cases, this is SIGNIFICANTLY impacting their ability to support their customers. Be advised that support and resolution might be impacted for some cloud based services.
We’ve already seen significant shortage of hardware and this is likely to become worse. The demand for hardware to work from home has basically depleted what was available in the country. This will include things like laptops, toner cartridges, monitors, spare parts, docking stations, monitors, power supplies etc. I’m not suggesting you go and panic buy to store next to your toilet paper and rice, just something to be aware of in the unprecedented environment in which we find ourselves. If you require something, I would suggest placing an order ASAP so that we can assess availability and investigate alternate options for you.
Our Staff and Business Operations
At Hotline, we are already running at full capacity from home. This means we are able to continue to deliver our services to our customers no matter what stage of lockdown we go into. From a technology perspective, we are easily able to continue operations and support you. HOWEVER, our staff are dealing with the same problems we all are. We will need to support them and carefully manage our workload so that we are able to help those most in need.
“Your teams’ exceptional service has enabled our business to continue, almost without a blink and has contributed to staff feeling supported through these unusual times”Kelly Murphy
Head of Operations
Please work with us as we aim to prioritise tickets, minimise non-essential support and focus on supporting our customers in their goal to remain operational.
If you have any concerns about your business continuity options, or need help, please feel free to reach out to us.
Wishing you all good health,
Malcolm, Michelle, Jason, Nick and the entire Hotline IT team.