You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.
The world has changed with COVID-19. The way we conduct business and go about in our daily lives has changed, whether we like it or not. Markets, money and business, will adjust. We have to too. Working-from-home used to require permission from a supervisor or manager. Not anymore. It is baked into the business process.
And that brings new challenges. Virtual meetings. Virtual training. Cloud based software and services. Cloud was important, now it is indispensable. Which means you need to have reliable network connectivity – at both ends, office and home.
It also means you have to be more concerned about security.
COVID-19 seemed to be a “forced experiment”. Not anymore – it is the new norm. The sooner we adapt, the faster we acclimatize and that will turn out to be the difference between survival and extinction.
That’s where we come in. Over the course of the coming months, our skilled technical team will be providing you with tips and advise on how you can improve efficiencies, increase communication, enhance productivity and lower costs. We hope that you will find this information useful to your business. We can win this – together.
Interface Tip #1
By Crystal Torres – Technical Support Specialist
Let’s say you have a server in your office where you store your word documents, spreadsheets, presentation and pictures from the last office potluck party. When you are inside your office you can easily connect to this server to get the last week’s vendor invoices, the task list for that important project and so on.
However, with remote working, you are no more sitting inside the office network. You are working from home – but you might still need to connect to that server. It should simply connect, right? But, unfortunately your home internet connection cannot reach that server in your office because usually it is behind the internet router (and firewall).
Enter VPN and its distant cousin remote desktop protocol. VPN does a bit of magic on the network and connects your home computer to the office network – and bingo, now you can access of those files that you needed. It makes your home computer act as if it is in the office network. It does this by – connecting to the public VPN server which is installed on your network.
See the solid red line in the picture for how you access the File Server from home vis-à-vis the dotted red line about how you access it when you are inside office. When you are connecting to your Office 365 email, however you don’t need your VPN anymore. See the solid green line in the picture for how you access your emails from home vis-à-vis the dotted green line about how you access it when you are inside office.
Why should you definitely use a VPN
It allows to protect your file-server while letting legitimate users like you to access it.
When NOT to use a VPN
If you just want to access your email from home. You don’t need VPN. You can connect to your email without VPN. You can still use VPN to collect your email but you will be clogging up costly resources if you do that.
If you want to use some portal or online software which you are accessing via browser – VPN is not required.
If you are in office, do not use VPN. You will be clogging up valuable resources without any additional benefits in safety.
Interface Tip #2
The importance of an ergonomic workstation
By Brendan Seo – Business Analyst
It’s a well known fact that proper office ergonomics boosts productivity. Thus, it is important to design a workspace that promotes proper posture, less repetitive motions, easier reach access and less exertion. Having all of these elements in place ensures a more efficient work process, which leads to greater productivity.
Other reasons to make an ergonomic workstation part of your office protocol:
• Ergonomic related disease is fastest growing in the U.S.
• Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) have become a major problem in society
• Ergonomic related injuries mean big costs for employers & government in terms of medical bills and productivity loss
Tips on setting up a proper workstation
What exactly is a Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD)
“Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) are conditions in which: the work environment and performance of work contribute significantly to the condition; and/or the condition is made worse or persists longer due to work conditions” – CDC 2020
• In 1994, total cost of MSD accounted for about 3.4% of Canadian GDP
• In 2001, MSD’s related injuries had a median of 8 days off work when the average for non fatal illnesses was 6 days
• Manufacturing and service industry accounts for about half of MSD cases
• Carpal tunnel syndrome had a median of 25 days away from work – 84% of cases for people aged 25-54
Interface Tip #3
Cyber Corner: Combatting Ransomeware
By: Alex Haile – System Administrator
Over the last couple of months, and years Cyber-attacks are on the rise. Ransom-ware is taking the centre-stage. The dreaded “Your files have been encrypted” is causing night-mares for CEO, CISO alike.
Manitoulin Transport fell prey to a major ransom ware attack this year in July. Some other big names in Canada that got breached are carriers Fuel Transport and Indian River Express, customs broker Axxess International and Beler Holdings, a customs broker and distribution company. Nobody is safe anymore.
The direct payouts are huge, causing significant financial distress to the victim – however, the reputational loss is even bigger. Just paying the malicious agents may get your operations back on feet, but it doesn’t guarantee that your confidential information is not sitting out there open in the dark internet, available for anybody who wants to take a peak.
So, what are the top two steps can you pro-actively take to protect yourself, your confidential information, money in the bank and finally your company’s reputation:
1. Train your employees. Phishing is one of primary attack vectors used by cyber attackers to initiate a ransom ware attack. Your employees are your best line of defence.
2. Invest in a good backup system. If you have a good backup policy, you can get your operations back on track within no time, in the event of a ransom ware attack.