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Coronavirus IT Resources

COVID-19 cybersecurity response, guidance, and resources for our clients

All resources on this page are FREE with no obligation or commitment.

Tech Experts continues to provide IT support during the pandemic and is classified as an essential service by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of Homeland Security. We are offering live phone and remote support with on-site deployment only for emergency critical system down situations affecting multiple users. (Tech Experts On-site Protocols)

The resources available on this page: Coronavirus Response, Working Remotely, Business Resources, COVID-19 Scams

Check back often – we’ll update this page frequently.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers a brief checklist (click here) for employers to keep workers employed and have these loans forgiven per the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The SBA COVID-19 information page is available here.
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Coronavirus Response

Instead of panicking, develop a mindset for scary times and better ones to come. Companies can draw on seven sets of immediate actions:

  • Protect employees: Follow CDC guidelines, but now more than develop a “Rules for Engagement” for how employees should communicate with each other and customers. Grousing or e-mail flames should never be tolerated internally and staff should have weekly role-play of what to say and not to say, as well as common reactions or objections.
  • Create cross-functional response team: Overall led by the CEO, create five major goals to work on with a rolling 4-week plan of specific 1-week goals of deliverable progress. Keep it short enough that it can be evaluated weekly within 30 minutes.
  • Build contingency plan: Define no more than five each of your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Identify variables that will affect revenue and cost based upon best and worst case scenarios. Model cash flow based upon each scenario using a break-even spreadsheet. Identify trigger points to stabilize the organization and, more importantly, brainstorm out-of-the-box solutions to preempt negative effects.
  • Stabilize supply: Define and publish your status and any delays in products or service. Focus on existing customer needs first, followed by warm prospects and joint-venture partners or industry organizations. Be very selective on prospecting and only offer to help. Optimize alternatives, pre-book future capacity, accelerate deal qualification, and identify alternate vendors.
  • Stay close to customers: Use a very visible portion of your website for regular updates that can be used during crisis and regular campaigns in the future. Post a daily video of your situation and what you’re doing to help. Have staff CALL (not e-mail or text) customers with a specific offer to help and ask if there is anything else you could be doing for them. Host a regular webinar or conference call where your customers could simply share what they are doing or ask questions. Don’t lose money giving away things, but goodwill now and in all your marketing is remembered by everyone.
  • Practice in-depth processes: Practice a table-top exercise of your real-life response plan. Don’t stop there as few businesses practice anything. Instead of a 1-2 hour meeting reviewing reports that everyone can read in five minutes, make a game and drill or qualify each process of your business.
  • Demonstrate purpose: This concept starts from the top with leaders demonstrating what they do and how to act. The only way to show your commitment and expertise is to demonstrate it in your marketing. Don’t try to sell, and don’t give away all your secrets. If you’re worried that the competition will copy you, add more value and understand that they are scrambling to react.

It is imperative that you take action now; don’t wait for the all clear to return to work after COVID-19. Don’t delay telling your story with character and integrity because your voice, picture, video, blog post, or web page isn’t perfect. You’re human and we’re all in the fight together.

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Working Remotely

Guidelines & Tips for Employees Working Remotely

Working remotely, whether short-term or permanent, comes with many perks, but it also poses many new risks for the security of your organization’s data. For example, if an employee-owned device (laptop, PC, etc.) is connected to the company’s network and contains a virus or malware, that infection could spread to your company’s network. Additionally, it becomes more of a challenge to verify the legitimacy of emails (for example, you’re no longer right down the hall from your CEO who requested an unusual wire transfer). You may be unfamiliar with policies and procedures as they pertain to a work from home environment. The list goes on.

We’ve developed a list of guidelines and tips to assist you as you prepare to work from home in a safe, functional work environment.

Note: this list is intended for guidance and information purposes only. If you have any questions regarding these tips, please reach out to your supervisor or IT provider for additional information.

Guidelines & Tips

  • Secure workspace
    • Ensure you can lock your devices (laptop, PC, etc.) and any business relevant information when not in use. Cable locks for laptops should be used when necessary. Laptops and devices should be locked away out of sight and/or in the trunk if it must be left in a vehicle unattended
    • Avoid using your personal devices for work-related business
    • Safely perform conversations without visitors eavesdropping or shoulder surfing
    • Protect the data you are accessing by using a VPN to log into the company network, and ensure you are protecting data visible on your screen with a screen protector. This is especially critical for employees who are required to be HIPAA compliant, PCI compliant, etc.
    • Restrict the use of devices containing business-relevant information. Do not let family members, friends, or anyone but yourself use company-owned devices or personal devices used for business purposes
    • Use strong unique passwords on all your devices and accounts to prevent unauthorized access
  • Wireless Security
    • Change default Wi-Fi Router passwords
    • Enable WPA-2 or higher encryption
    • Ensure your local router firmware is up to date
    • Limit the use of public Wi-Fi. Always use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi. Never use public Wi-Fi to send sensitive information without a VPN
  • Ensure all personal devices are secure with company-provided or personally owned antivirus and antimalware software company
  • Update IOT Device firmware (smart thermostats, surveillance cameras, etc.)
  • Ensure default passwords are changed
  • Ensure the software on all devices within your home network is kept up to date (corporate laptop, IOT devices such as cameras and smart thermostats, personal laptops/tablets, etc.)
  • Review and follow relevant corporate policies and procedures, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

AWARENESS

  • Remote Work Employee Awareness
    • Be extremely cautious of email phishing scams
    • Limit social media use
    • Don’t reveal business itineraries, corporate info, daily routines, etc.

Remote work policy

Remote work policy (Word document for editing)

Remote work guide

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Business Resources

With constant changes brought on by the pandemic of COVID-19, here are some tips to combat the challenges of running your business:

  1. Prioritize Urgency: Begin a short huddle each day with staff covering what you’re doing to keep them safe and current customer priorities. Unless you’re an essential business, employees should be working from home. Business travel should be cancelled and any scheduled events must be converted to virtual.
  2. Triple Communication: Beyond a daily huddle, leverage Microsoft Teams to keep open communication with your people, using video as much as possible. Follow your normal rhythm to share (NO SALES offering to help) with customers by phone and through your website, blog, and social media. DO NOT spam staff or customers with e-mails as you’re only aggravating them in time of need. ONLY e-mail critical information with a deliverable of something useful with no expectation in return.
  3. Work Remotely: Quickly make your workspace functional with limited distractions (clutter, TV, neglected chores) and disinfect daily. Just like in the office: wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds after you touch keyboards or other necessary surfaces, open doors with a closed fist, turn on lights with your knuckles, don’t eat at the computer, and practice social distancing.
  4. Use Video Conferencing: Take a shower and get dressed because you’re on camera – no need for formal attire, but no unnecessary skin, pajamas, or weekend grub-wear. Leaders should leave video on all day and encourage staff to jump on for questions. It’s OK if spouses, kids, or pets inadvertently pop-in. LIMIT e-mails or text messages that waste everyone’s time and only causes unnecessary angst or confusion.
  5. Manage Cash: Pay your bills and honor your commitments as a leader and others will too. Don’t take large sums out of your bank as there is no cash shortage. Determine your break-even point and evaluate refinancing or lines of credit with your bank and vendors. To have a business moving forward, you’ll have to innovate on all of your processes – cancelling everything and firing your staff is not an option.
  6. Act Extraordinarily: This is the new normal. Video conferencing is here to stay with many staying home and working remotely after this crisis. Now more than ever, look for ways that you’re uniquely positioned to help people. What is most valuable right now and how do you get seen by customers where they are? The worst thing you can do is stand still.

Continue to monitor our website, blog, and social channels for updated content and free resources to emerge from this pandemic in the best way possible.

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COVID-19 Scams

Avoid these scam offers via call, text, or e-mail:

  • U.S. Treasury: COVID-19 stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information.
  • World Health Organization: E-mail invite to enter coronavirus at fake awareness update site.
  • Charitable Donations: Desperate requests to help elderly or children with cash payments or gift cards.
  • Coronavoris Prevention: Reduced price on bulk latex gloves or trial offers for miracle cures.
  • Investments: Medical stocks or government bonds pitching huge return with your credit card.

Demystifying CARES Act

SBA Disaster Loans

90 Day Financial Planning

Stabilizing Your Business: Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.

Keeping The Office Safe – Boilerplate for Office Protocols

REMOTE COLLABORATION TOOLS