Many businesses are shifting business models to incorporate more remote work. This move is welcome to many employees, but the change involves many challenges that businesses may be unprepared to meet, such as proper cabling, connection strength, and cyber security. Recently, SkyViewTek owner Bernie Orglmeister met with VIEWS Digital Marketing Agency to discuss some of the challenges, and the ways that SkyViewTek managed IT services help to make the transition less stressful. Read the entire interview transcript below, or watch the video.
MS– SkyViewTek specializes in proactive monitoring managed IT services for businesses with 10 to 100 employees. Can you tell me a little bit more about what that means?
BO-Sure, so basically we’re an outsourced IT department for companies that don’t have one. We are proactively monitoring and maintaining their infrastructure. We have a tool that checks on computer servers and network equipment and reports into our server, and is proactively fixing issues before their clients sometimes realize there’s an issue. So we think it’s a small investment to really keep everything up and running all the time.
MS– Right, you can’t afford to go down so, especially small businesses can’t afford to have their network go down. And like you said things happen behind the scenes that they don’t even know are happening until there’s a glitch.
MS– So normally this time of year you’re probably busy setting up new office networks and moving businesses into new office space that sort of activity and so what is happening with the Covid-19 restrictions? How are you helping your current clients?
BO-Yeah, 90% of what we do is remote so we’re still monitoring those networks remotely; we’re still fixing issues. It’s actually more important now and sometimes there’s nobody in the office and people are trying to access the resources remotely.
When the Covid hit we had a lot of requests from people saying “Hey I need to have, like, people work remotely can you help us set up something?”
So, some of them, for which we had a little better infrastructure in place and some have remote access were able to expand the number of people accessing their servers. Some other people that were not ready yet. We had to say we need to–it takes a little more planning than just saying “hey turn this on” you know? It’s more complicated than that unfortunately. But the proactive clients are still enjoying our proactive services. And when some major disaster happens you know, somebody has a battery backup that the battery dies, you know, we put on our gloves and masks and disinfectants. We understand how important that is for our clients, so we’re able to do that for them.
MS– Alright, well that’s good that you have that option and I guess, like you said there are not people in the office, so there’s less exposure anyway.
MS– You talked a little bit about them moving into the home environment and having things they didn’t expect. What are some other things that you’ve seen? Some things that maybe they didn’t think about that have become factors and you had to help them with, whether clients or new prospective clients.
BO-Yeah, some clients they just said take your desktop home and, you know, plug it in and you should be able to work. And unfortunately there’s more to it, especially if you have a little bit more complicated network, where we have a server which is validating logins for security reasons. You can’t just take a computer home and expect it to work.
So we had to address that with certain clients that it definitely takes some planning. It’s not just “hey everybody go home and take your computer.” It just doesn’t work that way. And when you take your computer home, you know, you’re using your home network so now, you know, you’re using your Comcast router, a lot of people are on Wi-Fi at home so their desktop doesn’t work on Wi-Fi, and some people are surprised by that. Some people they are using their home computers which might not be up to snuff with corporate requirements. Some people are using Windows 7 at home, which is not supported by Microsoft, so it’s not getting security patches. They don’t know what their antivirus situation is, you know, so unfortunately it takes a lot of planning to get this done. It’s something that we definitely can do, and we will work with all our clients the best we can to implement all that.
You know – a network, in general, is only as good as your infrastructure, as your cabling. So, you know, at the office if you have bad cabling your computer might not be as fast, your voice over IP may not work properly. Now you’re taking this home with unknown setups, unknown cabling, it just adds to the whole complication of getting all this going.
MS– Right, and security issues, depending on the type of company that you’re working with, must be a factor.
BO-Yeah, security is number one right now. I mean, you know, we – not just us, but all, the entire industry – expects a lot more security breaches with people working remotely, with patched and remote access solutions, you know. So, now you’re extending your corporate network to people’s homes without planning and without understanding what they have, so it’s going to become a big issue and we’re working with our clients to try to A) educate them and B) come up with a plan.
We can extend some of our tools to their home computers and monitor those, and patch them, and make sure the antivirus is running. But, again, it takes a little planning.
MS– It takes a little planning and, it’s like you said, things that they didn’t expect. Maybe they expected to have the issues with people running into the background, kids at home, and things like that, but not these technical things. They think everything should work, right, like you said because it does at work. It works at work, it should work at home.
BO-Right. Yeah, and plus if you’re at home, all of a sudden you’re competing with your kids on Xbox, just trying to play Fortnite with somebody, and your internet is slow and, you know, let’s say you have Voice Over IP and you plug it into your home network and, you know, the quality of the call is not good because you’re sharing with everybody who’s locked at home with you right now.
The new normal, unfortunately will require an investment in a little bit of an infrastructure and, especially if you care about your corporate network, you need to be able to control a little bit of what your home employees are doing to maintain integrity of your network. Especially if you’re under HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley where you need to have, when you’re under regulatory mandate to have a secure network.
MS– Yeah. Wow that’s a whole other issue and that’s something that you guys, you deal with that all the time but having to do it on a whole ‘nother platform, kind of new location.
BO-Correct. Yeah, it’s been challenging but also a lot of fun work with our clients.
MS– Well that’s good! Do you have any advice? I mean other than what we’ve talked about, do you have any advice for a small business owner who’s trying to decide do they NEED proactive monitoring, do they need something all the time?
BO– Well we think with the new normal now people are slowly opening up. You know, businesses are adjusting and trying to figure out how they’re gonna move forward so we think proactive monitoring right now is more important than ever because it takes that off your plate, right. So you don’t have to worry about “Oh my god I don’t have to plug in a USB in and do a backup of my day and then take it home” like, you know, we have a company who’s taking care of all that for us. So we can focus on how are we, you know, do we have a employees that are gonna work part-time or full-time from home, all the time, you know. Are we gonna make adjustments to the office space, do we need this bigger office anymore? Do we need to show stuff, you know, save some money here. So we can help the companies during infrastructure adjustments and definitely, you know, A) keep everything secure and just allow the business to focus on what they need to do right now. It’s one less thing for them to focus on and worry about is the IT infrastructure we can do all that for them.
MS– Yeah, that’s what I mean there. Like you said the other thing is, that’s enough on a normal basis but there’s so much new, now, that they’re gonna have to explore and figure out. Nice to know that they can relax, and that they’re covered on the IT end, and that when things come up they have somebody to call.
BO– Exactly. So, again we can, 90% of what we do is remote. We can maintain, fix, adjust remotely. If we need to go inside for emergencies we can do that, but I think going forward long-term planning you know, with how our business is adjusting for this new normal, are readjusting, you know, for Phase 2 of this COVID – let’s be ready to go, and hope the businesses keep running without having to worry about IT.
SkyViewTek has a great deal of experience helping businesses by designing and setting up networks for office moves or expansions, setting up secure systems to protect data, and providing ongoing managed IT solutions. For information about how SkyViewTek Managed IT Services can help you focus on your business by taking care of the IT headaches, contact us today at 610-510-5006.