April 2, 2020 Email Communication to our Customers

After a few hectic weeks for our customers making the transition for most of their employees to work from home, the focus is now on developing new work habits and routines.

With President Trump’s extension of the US social distancing guidelines until at least April 30, and likely beyond, it’s vital that we all build a productive remote workforce and secure our employees’ work devices outside the safety of company firewalls.

Safety First

Security has emerged as a critical issue for most companies now that their employees work in environments that are much less secure than the office. Further, the FBI has issued an alert about bad actors taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis.

Phishing has clearly emerged as the #1 threat at the moment, posting almost a 700% increase since March 1 when the Coronavirus crisis gathered momentum.

Here are some things you can do right now with your teams to raise their security awareness:

  • Ask your staff to view the 20 minute video series on security awareness training in QuickHelp™. If you do not have QuickHelp or not for your entire staff, please ask your Strategic Account Manager (SAM) to sign up for a free 45-day trial.
  • Watch this 25 minute training video our CTO, Kris Cears, created specifically to train your employees on how to spot Phishing Emails.
  • Encourage your employees to take this free self-security assessment offered by one of our security partners. It takes about 20 minutes but is a real eye-opener that covers both work and their home environment.

According to some sobering research from Microsoft, 55% of small to medium-sized businesses are attacked every year with the average breach costing $80K. Almost half of ransomware attacks take more than a week to fix. And only 35% are profitable after a prolonged attack.

Applied Tech has made substantial investments in our own security over the past several years by building a dedicated team, continuous training, establishing protocols and employing sophisticated toolsets. We take security seriously to protect our business and the business of our customers. Ask your SAM how we can help you further increase your security profile.

Other News

Last week, we shared some common issues many of you were encountering. This week:

  • Bandwidth is still an issue for many working from home. Windstream has a free 90-day offer for HD service with a 2-3 day turn around and no cancellation penalty. Also, try rebooting home routers or calling your current home provider to remove caps on speed.
  • The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has a list of many state internet providers that are offering deals, no caps, free service, delayed payments or waiving late payment fees.
  • Microsoft Teams has been experiencing some performance issues lately as it is adjusting to the worldwide demand (> 44M daily users) for its platform as much of the world has moved to remote work.
  • Zoom can be another option but be careful. Zoom has been subject to hijacking in a phenomenon known as Zoom bombing. Further, there is a newly found vulnerability that allows hackers to steal Windows login credentials from other users. And is subject in a lawsuit over

The main message here is for you and your teams to be informed and vigilant in this new world of work. It will get better. We are here to help you navigate your way through it all.

Positive news

See how some of our customers are responding to the current public health emergency:

Common Wealth Development – This non-profit supports and preserves the vitality of neighborhoods in the Madison area. They recently created a GoFundMe campaign to raise $700K to support their tenants in this period of uncertainty.

Dental Crafters – Our frontline medical professionals in the COVID-19 battle needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and these folks responded in a big way by shifting production to making face shields for Marshfield Clinic to help them preserve their N-95 masks.

This may be a longer haul than expected.  We are committed to providing any help you need.

Stay well,

The Applied Tech Team

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