What we are doing, Cybersecurity Tips for Work From Home Employees, and How Not to Feel Blue or Socially Isolated in these Stressful Times
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the way we live and do business. In these uncertain times, Tech Plus is here to support you.
We have been working furiously the last two weeks setting up VPN and Remote Desktop Connections so that people can safely work from home. If you need assistance in getting remote access for yourself or your team setup do get in touch. For those companies in retail, hospitality, and other businesses hit hard by the Shelter in Place Order we are offering select folks this setup for free. If you have colleagues at other companies that need assistance we will extend this offer to help those in our community - please feel free to forward this post to those in need.
Our new office (2744 E 11th St, Suite G14 Oakland, CA 94601) is open part time with just myself - Chris Stovel going in 3-4 days a week to receive packages and ship out laptops to employees that are work from home. Our other staff are all working from home normal business hours. All our tools are cloud based so this has not caused us any interruption other than we miss seeing you on-site and we have had to delay some projects. To better serve our clients we've increased our licensing for Splashtop SOS so we can handle connecting to more home computers for support, and we've continued company meetings daily by online meeting.
Cybersecurity Tips for Work From Home Employees
Now that a huge chunk of the workforce is no longer under the safety of corporate firewalls, and managed workstations here are a few security tips to stay safe:
- Be careful what you click on - during these times we are seeing a lot of phishing scams going on. Take your time, read everything carefully, hover over links and look where they are going. If something seems odd stop and verify information by another source. A 30 second phone call to make sure the sender really did send something could save you a world of hurt.
- Run all your updates - make sure your computer has all the latest security updates. This is both the operating system and the applications that you use. If you are unsure how to check this talk to IT.
- Make sure you have a good anti-virus protection - we are huge fans of Bitdefender. As of this post a 1 year 5 PC/Mac license is $36. We find it works far better than any free anti-virus protection. Note: some of their packages come with a home VPN package, this is not required (with COVID-19 we are told to stay at home not be travelling or accessing Wi-Fi from a coffee shop). Company/work issued VPN is different.
- Avoid "free tune-up my computer" downloads - that ad for speed boosting make-my-pc-blazing probably isn't a good idea. Instead check with IT if you are experiencing computer slowness. There are a few great tools - like CCleaner, but if you are seeing an ad to download something chances are it is not good.
How to Not Feel Socially Isolated
On a more personal note. Social distancing and being isolated working from home can really suck. As I write this post Friday afternoon I can't help but feel sad heading into the weekend. I miss hanging out with friends and going out to restaurants. Here are a few suggestions of things to do to help brighten your mood:
- Host a Video Call with Friends - there are a ton of great online meeting software a lot of which is free. Google Meet, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom. For myself our office uses RingCentral phones and so all our staff including myself get RingCentral Meetings for free. It is basically Zoom re-branded and it hosts up to 100 people in a video call. I have a group of cocktail enthusiasts friends that have all agreed to meet online and we are each going to make a cocktail at home in front of our webcams and talk about it. With another group of friends we are thinking of doing virtual dinners next week.
- Get Take Out from Your Favorite Restaurant - small businesses could really use our support and getting out for a nice drive without all the traffic is actually pretty awesome. Last night I went to Dumpling Time in San Francisco, ate a great meal and then drove a more scenic route home passing through Chinatown, and then back across the bay bridge to Oakland while I had a call on the handsfree with a good friend. This weekend my boyfriend and I are going to try and pick something new to checkout.
- Go for Walks - As long as you keep safe social distancing there is no issue with taking walks and getting exercise. It always make your mood improve and fresh air and sunshine is wonderful.
- Break out the Netflix - for the last year or so I have not had a TV in my home. With COVID I brought it back out from storage and have been enjoying a variety of TV and movies. Westworld Season 3, Episode 2 is this Sunday!!! If you have not watched Westworld you need to start. It is sooooo good!
- Call a Friend - now is a great time to call friends and catch up!
We hope for you, your employees, and your families are safe and healthy as we all work together in these extraordinary circumstances. Contact Us if you need us, and thank you for all the additional patience and kindness as we've worked hard to support the IT infrastructure and cybersecurity of your businesses.
President, Tech Plus Consulting.