During these challenging  times, Computer Merchants’ number one priority is the safety and health of our community; our staff and their families, and of course, our customers. We are working incredibly hard to support the community as best we can during these challenging times and help organisations maintain business continuity.

As the days have progressed there’s been a number of talking points and areas of interest from an IT standpoint that we thought would be pertinent to highlight and explore a little bit. So, here’s four key IT points we hope the community is taking into consideration.

1. Working from home (WFH) brings cyber security risks

It seems out of nowhere that 2020 has quickly become the year of remote working. We understand that outside of ‘essential’ businesses there are a large portion of Australian organisations now having to execute operations with their staff working from home. One challenge to this is the potential risks placed on data and applications when they’re accessed from a device beyond the protection of the company firewall and wider infrastructure.

Cyber-crime is always prevalent in the business world, but right now there are a number of situation specific threats doing the rounds in an attempt to harbour critical data and personal information. The Australian Cyber Security Centre recently outlined that online entities are looking to capitalise on the community’s desire for information regarding the current situation1, and they’re doing it through online phishing scams and malicious websites that have been easily modified from already existing scams in the landscape.

Some examples include text messages encouraging readers to follow a link, phishing emails posing as legitimate sources asking for information such as bank details and passwords, and websites purporting to offer information and tracking maps. It’s imperative for remote workers to understand these very real threats, practice vigilance as they would if they were in the office, and only leverage technology with the most up-to-date patching and security tools.

2. Other WFH considerations including connectivity, communication and well-being

Across industries, organisations and individual roles, everyone needs a robust, high-bandwidth network connection in order to effectively perform tasks. However, for many people in their homes, perhaps with children and partners also using the network, the connection may not be ideal or suitable for particular tasks. Try to ensure your staff have the necessary levels of connectivity to perform their roles, and if they don’t keep in mind there are cost-efficient solutions available to improve home network connectivity.

Better and more efficient ways of communicating and collaborating has been a topic of discussion in IT and business circles for several years now. And those organisations that commenced digital transformation journey’s early are reaping the benefits now. With a workforce that is entirely dispersed, the option to simply walk over to a colleague’s desk and ask a question isn’t possible. Therefore, it’s important that staff have the right communication tools and collaboration software at their disposal to maintain productivity. Collaboration and video conferencing platforms are a strong means of providing this.

Compound the current uncertainty around the economy and the health and well-being of the community with also being isolated from friends and family, and you quickly understand the importance of supporting your staff and friends through this unprecedented situation. Just as we have, we strongly recommend checking in with staff regularly, check they have the right home environment to work productively, ask how they’re going, and perhaps move the regular Friday afternoon drinks to a virtual hook-up where colleagues can relax a little and discuss something other than everyone’s current circumstances; Friday trivia could be the new norm for a while.

3. Business continuity

Another consideration for many is business continuity plans. Discussion always exists around disaster recovery and the adage of; if something went wrong, would you be able to access your data and continue to run as business as usual? It’s a shame a global pandemic has brought the reality of business continuity to the fore, but it can serve as an opportunity for many organisations to re-evaluate their current strategies, and improve what has potentially caused some headaches over the last couple of weeks.

At Computer Merchants, we work with organisations every day on their data backup and business continuity strategies, from hybrid IT to fully managed services. If business continuity is something you need to discuss, please reach out and give us a call.

4. Staff need the right technology

Just like when they’re in the office, workers need the right technology for their specific requirements when at home also. In addition to this, the technology has to enable streamlined collaboration with colleagues, be up to date in terms of security protocols and patching, and be designed in a way that suits the home environment so it doesn’t get in the way.

In partnership with HP and Intel®, we can support you in finding the right device for your workers, and keep it up to date and secure. Powered by Intel® Core™ i7 vPro® processor, the Elite Dragonfly is the perfect device for current circumstances. It comes with security features that create an always-on, always-acting, resilient defense that helps protect your PC from the ever-evolving threats circulating during these challenging times.

If managing a disparate fleet of devices is a difficult task given the current climate, we provide Device as a Service (DaaS) to many of our customers, which is an end to end device management solution that also includes 24/7 support, analysis and monitoring to keep your staff’s devices and your organisations’ data safe.

Whether you need assistance with implementing some work from home policies, are concerned about your business continuity strategy or security measures, need support in managing staff devices, or just aren’t quite sure if you need anything but want to talk to someone, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

You speak, we listen.

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[1] https://www.cyber.gov.au/threats/threat-update-covid-19-malicious-cyber-activity

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