With the critical change in our way of life happening before our eyes, I wanted to take the time to address what Exigo is doing to ensure our customers can continue to operate in the rapidly increasing mobile world.
What You Should Be Thinking About
With the advent of the cloud and mobile computing in general, we have been working with customers over the past 15 years transforming their legacy applications and business processes to a more decentralized approach. This means:
- Review all critical business workflows and determine how to make them decentralized and accessible remotely and securely from anywhere in the world.
- Review all IT infrastructure and ensure it is up to date, redundant, secure, and allows for workflows in item 1 to operate as needed.
- Ensure the customer’s workforce can work in the office, at home, or in another country securely and operate as needed to accomplish item 1. How they work is different for someone who just got of college and someone who has been in the workforce for over 30 years.
What We Are Doing Today
Like myself, I’m sure you re closely monitoring the latest Covid-19 developments and beginning to formulate contingency plans, should the situation worsen.
Exigo operates as a distributed work and home model, with all services decentralized and redundant. That means that our teams can support our clients and their workforce from anywhere. This includes:
- Hosted Phone services that operate in two data centers for redundancy. One in Philadelphia and one in Pheonix. Our teams can use physical handsets plugged in anywhere in the world or use their mobile phone apps to answer calls and manage their extensions.
- Our Tier 1 team already works from home answering our customer’s employee IT questions. Our Tier 2 teams and above have access to all customer systems remotely and securely. We already support customers 99% of the time remotely and site visits are rare.
- Our monitoring and support systems operate in Microsoft Azure and our own datacenter servers in Chelsea, NYC.
- Our environments and many of our customers are monitored by the Exigo Security Team that already operates remotely and decentralized.
So as you can see, we have been preparing our company for the past 10 years to operate in a completely decentralized, securely, and remotely. We are here to help you ensure your company is as well.
What To Expect
As we have seen, many companies have encouraged and, in some cases, are requiring employees to work from home. With this, our Tier 1 teams expect a larger number of requests to support users in their homes which we expect will lead to higher volumes and longer support times.
Recognizing that the prevailing situation may result in a spike in your support volume, we are prepared for an influx of traffic, however, our capacity is not infinite.
- To expect longer call wait times, and a reminder that the callback feature will hold their place in the queue.
- To leverage email or chat communication for non-urgent requests. You can use our chat at support.exigotechnology.com or click the chat button in the lower right corner of our support agent on your desktop.
- We will prioritize VPN and remote access setup requests to try to minimize any impact on your customers day to day operations. Please ask users to email requests with ‘VPN Setup’ in the subject line.
- Customer’s IT teams and Point of Contacts, please call into our Tier 2 support lines for support.
- If you have a “Service Desk Agreement” with Exigo, please have all your users call our Tier 1 team. If you are not familiar with this process or unsure, call 225-291-9887.
How To Ensure You Can Operate Remotely
Many of you may not know if you can even operate as a decentralized company. You may have a lot of questions that need to be answered. We are here to help and recommend setting up a call with us to help get some of those answers. In the meantime here are some suggestions to help ensure your company and workforce can continue to operate if your offices are closed.
- VPN – Many of you already have Virtual Private Network (VPN) setup for some of your users, however, can your system handle “ALL” your users connecting to it. Many firewalls require additional licenses to accommodate more than a small group of users.
- Hosted Phones – If you have under 500 users, your phone should no longer be in your office, but hosted in the cloud. UCilio Phones provided by Exigo allows your workforce to use a PC, a mobile phone, or a traditional handset to make and receive calls. That means you can operate your customer service department, after hours support, and company main phone lines and fax lines remotely.
- Company Remote Desktops – If you are already in Azure, AWS, or Private Cloud, you most likely have Citrix or Microsoft Remote Desktop implemented for your remote users. However, If you only have VPN access between your office to the cloud, then you do NOT have remote desktops. A VPN between your office and your resources in the cloud still requires users to be in the office at their desk.
- User Remote Desktops – Some of your users will attempt to install LogMeIn, Splashtop, and other personal remote software on their office computers. That is a decision you as a company must make. We do NOT recommend these applications in environments with 5 or more users. These applications do provide a level of security that should ensure desktops are secured, but they can become difficult to manage on a large scale. For example, if a hacker can get on the person’s home computer that the company does NOT manage, they may be able to start the unmanaged LogMeIn application, connect to a computer in the office, and now has access to your network.
- Cloud Servers – Some of you are still operating servers in your office. Although a monthly expense, moving your servers to the cloud makes a lot of sense in times like these. Remember, you have only 1 or at the most, 2 internet connections into your office. If that went down, your business is shut down. Putting servers in Azure, AWS, IBM, or Private Cloud gives you the type of redundancy that you can’t match at your office.
- Remote User Support – Some of you have IT staff that will now operate remotely to support your user base. Are they trained to work on home computers? Do they have the tools to perform these services? We have been operating as remote support teams for years and many of you there will no change in how your company gets support. For customers that are still providing their user support, it may be a good idea to outsource some of to Exigo to help with the increased support that comes with managing desktops that are not controlled by you.
- Office 365 Web Portal – The Office 365 located at https://portal.office365.com allows you to have access to ALL your office 365 resources, including one drive. Push your users to use the portal to access your company resources in O365.
- One Drive – Many customers have been asking about moving their file shares to one drive. We can now recommend this as a valid solution for customers due to newly enhanced security put into place by Microsoft around HIPAA, PCI, and SOX compliance. This would allow your workforce to access excel, word, and other file-level documents from a browser or home computer. Some setup processes must be adhered to to ensure security is in place.
Questions you should be asking users before allowing them remote access to your network are:
- Do you have updated Virus Protection on your home computer and if so, what version # are you using.
- Do you require a password to login to your home computer?
- Do you enable a screen saver on your home computer? If so, do you require a password to log back in?
- Do you use a firewall or Internet Gateway at your house?
- When is the last time you changed your password on your home computer? If over a year, please change it before accessing the corporate network.
- Is your home computer on the latest service packs from Microsoft or Apple?
Of course, a lot of these concerns can be eliminated by providing your users with a remote desktop into your environment. This would only require a browser to access your company resources.
We hope this post was informative and that you are taking steps to Crisis-Proof your business. This will eventually pass, but like 911, it has not only given the bad guys a view into a way to hurt our livelihood but also exposes holes in our business processes that for the most part with the right technology, be corrected. Please reach out to me or anyone in our company to answer any questions you may have in regards to this post. We are here and will continue to be here as we have been for the past 28 years supporting our customers across the country and globally. Over those years, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in IT and we adjust as needed.
Thank you again for all your support and business and we are ready to help!
Exigo Technology Services, LLC