As part of our own Jonathan Garber’s webcast series, he continues to interview leaders in the community who share tips and strategies to help us all Thrive during the Coronavirus shutdown. Today, Jonathan is joined by Neil Rosenblum of Boomtech IT. He shares his Top 7 Strategies for Working Remotely Safely. This is a must for business owners concerned about security and productivity.
If you’re a leader willing to share your knowledge with our audience on how they can thrive during this crisis, please email Jonathan at [email protected]
Well, good afternoon everybody. It’s Jonathan Garber with Flying Chimp Media and I’m back for another webcast on thriving during the coronavirus crisis. Remember, our goal is not just to survive but we’re looking for people to thrive both personally and their business and their employee. So, I’ve got a terrific guest today joining me is Neil Rosenblum from Boom Tech and say hello Neil. Happy to be here Jonathan. Thank you for having me. Thanks so much for joining us Neil. Give us a quick overview of Boom Tech. Where you at? What you do? Yeah. Boom Tech is a South Florida based company. We work with companies in Broward date and Palm Beach County on their it which means we do three things. We make sure all their it is working their computers in their systems. We make sure everyone is educated and everything is secure all your employees and your systems and finally we help people play. And for worst-case scenarios backup disaster recovery. And in this case working remotely. This is the worst-case scenario. You’ve been training your whole life for this Neil. So, I grabbed my go bag, but I’m staying at home. So here we here we are. This is part of disaster planning. I’ve been a business continuity planner. We’ve got two things going on employees are working remotely, we are but they’re also communicating remotely and what I noticed with some of the journals that I get I’m sure you get the same bulletins scammers. Once again scammers and hackers have come out of the woodwork to exploit this crisis and Rob people what other way to put it. So, a people are pretending to be from the CDC. They’re asking for Social Security numbers people are using their home devices, which doesn’t have the same security that an Enterprise device may have can you help our audience understand how we can get through this safely. I understand you have seven key strategies for people to safely work from home. Is that correct? It is yeah, and I’d be happy to go through those with you. Let’s go through them. Sure. So not necessarily in hierarchical order. But the first thing you typically think about is taking Computer with you and going home or using your computer or web-enabled device at home. The challenge here is when you’re working remote, you really have to maintain security. She touched upon and virus is not virus software is not the same everywhere. So, we employ in Point Security which looks at viruses a much higher level than a Windows Defender might or a Microsoft virus detection that you might up have on your home computer. So one of the most important things to us is to make sure that when you take a commuter remote or you use a computer at home and remote you have the same level of virus protection on that computer as you would have on your working computer at work. Excellent. So normally when people use a home device, and bright, oh the assets everything that once they make that secure pipeline connection everything that they’ve dragged in on their feet for their home computer or their kids are doing surfing downloading sharing can go up that pipeline into the corporate servers, but is that the case with the type of work you do? Well, it is potentially the case and we’ve had it with clients in the past because you know, you can look at it from the nefarious side. The people are trying to take advantage and that they might actually win. There’s a connection just like if you are on Wi-Fi at Starbucks on a corporate computer you open a door a pathway, right? Network which you don’t want its potential but you know, even on the less nefarious side on the on the side of like what we’re doing here video conferencing it’s about bandwidth and when my son is in the other room and he’s gaming it really affects your bandwidth. So, a lot of people need to look at what kind of is network connections that they have off the bat sure. So, let’s go through the seven strategies. Let’s hit it on the nose. See if I get any questions and we’ll move on from there. Absolutely. So, another one we think. About when let’s assume we have a computer a corporate computer at home and we have our bandwidth and we have security not every application works remotely. So, you really need to check before you go remote your time tracking software. You might think that’s a typical on payroll programs often times. They don’t allow remote access. So, SAS or software as a service doesn’t always dictate that a computer off-site connected to your network VPN or not will have the same access. So, you really need to look at all the software that’s necessary. Get your business done by job function to make sure it’s enabled and will be eligible to be working remote from your computer. And we think of that is our kind of our second tip. Okay, we talked briefly about your network planning, that goes to having a continuity plan in place ahead of time. Exactly. You know, I’m a collector of quotes. So, one of my favorite quotes is failed to plan to fail in every disaster and every emergency situation. The first thing you think is oh my God, what do I do next? When you have a document a written document Electronica printed that, you know Step 1 2 3 not only does it calm you but ensures that you don’t forget a vital step that you turn on extra bandwidth that you connect that you authorize these different things and you don’t have to think of it in the middle of a panic when you’re going to forget something, you know, I worked with a company once and they had so many people not in a disaster, but they just had so many people would work from home and do email Etc. over the weekend. They just offered all the employees antivirus licenses just gave it to them for their home computers because they were so cheap at when you bought a bundle. They just said, you know what let’s put everyone who connects from anything. Please let us put antivirus on your computer and centrally manage it. I thought that was a good plan is a great plan is long as it is true in point protection. So, the virus world has gotten to a point where your virus definitions or what your computer knows your virus program knows is a virus is only as good as the last time you got an update and viruses come out every minute. So true we provide virus protection or end pointed every computer that it’s called Webroot. What that does is that looks at and it looks at behaviors of software and malware and if it looks at something and says this doesn’t like to look just right. It could be a virus it isolates it and then you can look at it later. That’s the type of machine learning. That’s the type of software. It comes to virus protections you really need to have in place today the stuff that typically comes with Windows is just fine for a consumer. But when you’re protecting your business and your livelihood you really need to take it to the next level and virus protection with tell people if it’s free, you’re probably getting your money’s worth. Yeah, that’s a good way to put it to and like I said, I collect quotes. I’ll use that one. You got it. All right. What’s your third tip? So, we talked briefly about your network and how much it can handle. So typically, in an office when you’re working on a network, you’re a certain level. But the moment that you move people outside who are accessing your computer, excuse me, your networking your server through a VPN or a dial-up or a log me in all sorts of different ways. The tax on your network is going to be much greater and what you might need to do is call your internet service provider upgrade your bandwidth. So, you’re prepared for that. So, you can communicate keeping in mind that when we do like a video conference like this. That’s two way not only is it important to be able to download for me to pull your image but also to feedback Download bandwidth up and down are both very important something to keep in mind. In this case. I think a lot of people focus on a download speed but they don’t realize there is an upload component and they’re not the same they’re usually way out of proportion to each other and when we are doing streaming video, which you think about it how long ago were people not streaming video and now everybody is you got to up your upload speed as well in order to have parody and not have the latency exit. That’s exactly because we’re only used to download. Oh, that’s video looks great. So now let’s talk about your phone’s. I was actually just talking to somebody about this. I’m very lucky at my company. I literally picked up my phone unplug the power and I’m plug the internet connection and brought it home and plugged it into my internet and power and I have the same phone number. I didn’t have to program anything. I didn’t have to worry I pick up idling extension. I get my boss who might be Three states away in a case. So not every phone much less every internet enabled phone or voice over Internet Protocol has the same technology built into it and looking at that and making sure that your phone can be configured so you can work remotely with the same exact number the same extension you have is to us the next tip and Port married already. Look at I think if you are a business that is focused on customer service. This is the time you have to be reachable by your clients. So even if not, every employee is taking their phone on them and pretending that nothing has happened. Somebody has to be able to take calls on that on that Mainline. It’s got be at least forwarded to somebody’s cell phone or as you said if you’ve got an enabled voice over IP, let them take it home plug it in maybe take turns answering the calls from panicked clients. So great tip great tip. I called a company today. I’ve been working with and there was no answer. And there was no voice mail. I don’t know if they’re working remotely or not. But I will tell you this again collector of quotes a sign of no business is a business with no sign, right? So it’s very important that you can still pick up the phone people need to be reassured where they working remotely or not need to communicate with your customers or your clients and make sure they understand even while you’re working remotely. Everyone’s a hundred percent up to speed and we’re still able to take care of your needs. You know, I think that point can be over emphasized because it really goes to the heart of service and a servant a servant leadership part is if you’re not there for your customers in a clock and a crisis, they’re not going to be there for you on a clear sunny day. Absolutely, you got to take care of him. All right, great tip. How about number five? So, we talked a little bit about programs that you might have to that don’t actually work. If I’m the cloud even though there’s software-based from the clown but there’s also licensing issues. So, let’s suppose you use I work with a travel agency client and they have a specific CRM customer relationship management software they work but they only have so many licenses for remote. So just assuming a cloud-based software program, even if you have the bandwidth will work remotely can be a fallacy and you need Make sure that you’ve contacted you have enough licenses in place that everyone will be able to take advantage of that software in a remote situation and it’s a really important thing to keep in mind. You know that goes back to planning again. I think the world got caught flat-footed by this. I wouldn’t point a finger at any particular person leader country. I think the world got caught flat-footed. But do you guys provide this kind of continuity planning? And as a Consulting engagement for the for the it spaces and actually, we do so our business is called total peace of mind. That’s our product and as I mentioned before it does three things, we make you’re up and running all the time. We make sure that everyone is educated. So they are secure and your system secure and the last and most key component because someone will attack you will have a disaster is backup and Disaster Recovery, you need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario as well as the best case scenario and have that written down. So, we walk all our clients through that we help them set it up because we know the questions to ask, we’ve done it many times it varies by industry and varies by company. So, it has to be tailored for the same time. There’s key components and it’s not just backing up files as some people think the way to do it is backing up files because if you have to lose a server computer putting your files on it is only one step you have to restore all the software programs. You have to reconfigure everything. We’re talking hours and hours a true back up and just to digress for a moment includes it actual image of the computer and everything that’s on it. So, when you put your files back on after the image, it’s like nothing has changed and something that can take an hour or two verses. Days potentially so it’s really important to think about it. Don’t just backup your files with one of the main Brands out there because that’s not a real backup of your computer only of your files. So, the kind of backup you’re talking about. Let me just make sure I get it straight because most people listening are not technical. They’re not late they’re lay people is if we have a back of a quality back of an image-based backup. It doesn’t matter if their office is destroyed. Uh, there’s a leak in the air conditioning of the ceiling. It doesn’t matter if there’s a worldwide pandemic. It doesn’t matter if there’s a hurricane and they just have no power or anything at the internet the office. It doesn’t matter if there’s ransomware that has compromised the primary server or just Hardware failure hard drives all they will die. So, we’re item exactly great. So, we got the backup. We know no matter what we Get the back up and running again. As long as that backup is also kept off site. Never put it with we always back up locally on every hour and then multiple hours will back up online to the cloud and that way you can back up anywhere you have to you know, in today’s world. Nobody has time for someone who can’t help them who can’t answer the phone and do business for them. You have to plan this way. I think almost in every industry. You have to be prepared. You know, it’s funny because you know Flying Chimp, we deal with search engine optimization is one of our one of services, right? Let’s help people. I can get you to the first page of Google. Okay, people will call you but if you’re not there to answer the phone, they just go to the next one showing up high on a search ranking is not the same as money in your pocket and you have the opportunity before everybody else. What you do with that opportunity is up to you. You’ve got to have a human being answer the phone provide answers and service because as soon as someone can’t get through or as to go through some automated BS. They hang up and go who’s the next one on Google. They don’t care. Jonathan perception is reality if I call you and I can’t get through. You’re out of business. You’re not about taking calling. Yeah, exactly and I go on to the next one whether it’s factual whether you were on another call or not. And it’s so important today doesn’t matter. Absolutely. All right. Now we have to tip number 6. We are a tip number 6 and You I appreciate that. And I think this is one of the biggest ones we there are people rightly so very scared and when you get in situations like this and you don’t have to plan you jump and maybe you don’t have the precautions at in place. I want to tell you now the jump the increase in cybercrime is gone crazy the amount of emails clicks here to get the mask. Click here to learn more. Every company I have relationship with, every airline has sent me an email. I’m getting inundated with emails. The challenge here is an employee is going to get an email because they’re being inundated and they’re not going to look carefully to see who had sent from or it’ll look like it’s in from somebody official but it won’t be and they’re going click on the link the moment you click on that link and you go to the website a path a doorway is open and now your security could potentially be breached and the liability is not just getting your business back up and running. That’s a fallacy the light. Ability is you have to notify everybody. You to have find out hire a forensic investigator find out actually what was done so you can protect it. And what was stolen you have to do remedy. You have to worry about your public relations. It’s amazing. How many people out there don’t realize all the ramifications. It’s the tip of the iceberg when you answer or click on that link and the door opens too wide. So, the weakest link in the security chain is always employees. Well, one of the things we always say is security isn’t something to be solved. It’s something to be man, but the biggest risk and security has been and always will be you and me it’s your employees and it’s about training them. So, they’re educated. They know what to do. If they have a question stop. Don’t open. It doesn’t even worry about it. You know, you had the old days of having a spam filter and looking at it once in a while. We’re something we’re so far past that and really where we’re going and I think you’re going see this at the end of this year and more is dual Factor authentication where like today when I log into our main CRM Program which is huge for our company. I have to open a secondary program. I have to enter a code and get a code that’s only good for 20 seconds. And then I enter it into the program to start the program or I’ll get a text on my cell phone that I have to enter to verify that. I’m on my phone. It’s me actually accessing it the way I mean people could and should be using two-factor authentication on their social media on their Facebook on their LinkedIn. They on the individual level should be using that now I will tell you still the most popular password in America is password. One two, three, four, whether you believe it or not people saw the do the one two three four. Wow. Yeah, or maybe they go one two, three, people aren’t thinking about it lucky. My son’s a computer scientist. He told me I had to upgrade all my passwords years ago, which I have done and it’s a policy today and we rotate passwords. We require every employee to update their password every 20 days and it can’t be the same password as you had before. Or wow, you’re really you’re really have to be sensitive this one of the things we do when we start with the new client as we look at their server, we look at their workstations and then we go out to the internet and we go to the dark web and we look to see if any of those passwords or anything related to their domain there.com. Domain is on the dark web and then we show them what it’s worth and we asked them about these passwords. So, looking at that in auditing that kind of leads us into the seventh tip that we have that boom came back and that Is training that might seem very simple. Okay, Jane, you know you work from your home office the same hours you work before and here’s your computer and you answer your phone, but there’s a lot more to that when you’re working remote when it comes to training employees. Are you having webinars? What’s the schedule? What software do we use for webinars? What’s acceptable and unacceptable, you know, I think a lot of people fear when they don’t what they fear that their employees are just going to goof off that they’re not going to be poking putting the time in so It’s a simple thing to manage you have a to do list people get their to-do list done. They’re done but training them how to work at home when they don’t have social interaction. That’s the don’t think shoulder exactly and no one and no one to chat with I mean, you know for many of us being at work is a social experience as well. Yeah, that’s the old water cooler or coffee pot. And there’s nothing wrong with that. A lot of information can be passed that way. So that is all seven of your tips for Safely working at home Neil. Thank you. You know it reminds me last year. We had a close brush with a hurricane in South Florida we did, and I don’t know where anybody else is watching this now, but Neil and I are both in South Florida, but we had a close brush with hurricane. We had to shut down our office. We had to take all the computers up off the floor and put them in garbage bags and you know unplug everything. And it missed now. I’ve been through some pretty serious hurricanes including a category 5. I was down in Miami for Andrew. So, I don’t regret missing a hurricane. I’ve been through enough of them. But I said about that that clothes brush it goes. Well, it was practice. We found out what worked we found out what didn’t work. I hope that this covid-19 crisis is over quickly. I can’t control that but if nothing else, I think it’s a wake-up call. You know what I mean? It’s a practice for everything that could come and no business or individual or entrepreneur business owner should come out of this on the other side having not learned something. Does that make sense? I think the way we do business in the future will be fundamentally changed. I was talking to a friend of mine over the weekend as a CFO and we’re having this discussion and he’s at 10,000 square feet from his office. And he needs a thousand now and he’s going you know, everyone’s working really well from home. We’ve been doing it for a week. I wonder how much our company could say. He’s looking at the numbers as CFO going from a hundred thousand maybe to 10,000 square feet. Now. Here’s a very large company, but the way companies I think you’re going to see more and more employees who are going to be I don’t want to use word stuck. I’m lucky to have a home office but are going be in a situation where they have to make it work working from home corporations are going to see a real value in that I think distributed Workforce. Has now we’re a forced distributed Workforce. But I guess work forces have been begging for good distribution techniques for decades. Somebody goes home on maternity leave. Gee, I’d like to go back to work after six weeks but doesn’t want to give up being with the child. You really don’t want to retrain somebody who worked for you for six seven ten years, right? Well, I couldn’t she work from home maybe for another year. So, somebody goes up to North Carolina to take care of an aging parent with Alzheimer’s could they really do their job remotely. Do you really want to try and replace them? Do they have so much inside corporate knowledge that retraining replacing them is extremely burdensome distributed Workforce. Right? So, listen, it’s always easier to work with current employees and it is to be down. And have to replace them the institutional knowledge that they have well of all the ins and out is invaluable and that’s not something you can even teach at something that takes time and that’s something that’s gained working at a company, but I think you are going to see like I said more of this I think people are going to see the value and I think companies are going to go we have to heal and what can we do to cut costs and the worst thing is laying people off the not as worse thing is maybe you have to stay working from home and we’ll see how that does. So yeah. I think it’s going to be a fundamental change for us. I really do. So, on your side of the game. You’re working with everyone in the in their web space and everyone going online now, so I have no idea how that’s changing. Obviously. We have a website, but I mean, so what’s going on there on the website Jonathan? Well, we are actively working every day. Our office is distributed but not closed. We are we’re working on a couple of new websites now for people who are trying to serve people through the crisis and also people who are positioning themselves for a recovery because they are not ready to pack up their business and say that’s it. I’m done. They have no alternative. So, there’s two things one is letting your clients your Market know that you’re open for business low. We’ve gone back to all of our clients particularly. Those in law that’s a big vertical for us and we’ve put a pop ups on their website you go there it’s going to pop up window say hey video consultations are available now so that an attorney can consult with a client you can even scan and send document you can take pictures with your cell phone and send them. It’s no big deal. And we’re there are clients are letting their clients know that they can still work with them on time and services and Consulting. So, we’ve gone back and we’re Adding those pop-ups. We’re helping clients. Learn how to use this technology and be effective with it. We are jumping in and continuing and expanding our search engine optimization for clients. And you may think that’s nuts, but this may go on for a couple of weeks but your web ranking position. You got to wear that for a long time and when there’s a smaller pie Neal Right on the other side of this. There’s probably a smaller economic pie on the other hand some of your competition may also have shaken out. Which like there’s a chance for you to get a bigger slice of a smaller pie you have to be positioned to do that. And you have to do that by making sure that people can find you that you are on the first page that you’re in the local search box that people find you on social media that you are present and available. that make sense. It does you know it we’re forced to adapt. Yeah, but is it the Marines that’s a adapt and overcome and adapt revise and overcome their you. Exactly. So this has got to be an opportunity exactly and our final tip that where that we’re doing with our clients and telling our clients to do with their clients is pick up the phone or schedule a web chat like this and communicate touch base with them. Just let them know we’re open for business. This is how you can do business with us. This is how we can serve you and is there anything we can do to help you when you asked that question, you’re creating a connection. Action and a loyalty potential for Life long Beyond when this crisis is over, and I hope it’s over soon. I think people I couldn’t agree more people will I’m going to get that pop up on our website people left. I love that. Yeah, exactly. Well Neil. Thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure little it’s been a pleasure to see you. Haven’t seen you in a couple weeks, and I thank you so much for sharing your time and your Insight and wisdom with us. Thank you so much. Thanks Jonathan. Best to you. Take care.