IT Managed Services & Lockdown

written by Lancom CommunicationsSep 11, 2020 10:22:38 AM

After 102 days without community transmission, New Zealand once again had to grapple with increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and for Auckland there was a swift return to level 3 lockdown which kept IT teams and managed service providers on their toes.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland’s level 3 lockdown with many businesses needing to switch to remote working within 24 hours. We provide IT managed services and our teams responded very quickly to enable clients to make the switch to working from home.

To find out more we speak to Ben Walton, our Service Excellence Manager.

When the Prime Minister made the announcement about a second lockdown, what did our teams do?

As a leadership team we immediately joined a Team’s conference call. We made quick decisions and relayed those to the wider team so everyone knew what needed to happen. This included issuing comms to our clients and end users and reaching out to some clients who we knew would have large teams coming into their offices the next morning. The same night we were able to coordinate technical support services ready to go the very next morning with some of our engineering team onsite at client premises from 8am the next day.

For our own business, our systems are cloud based, so we are able to access our data securely from anywhere in the world. Having experienced the first lockdown back in March, our teams were already well versed on working from home and most of the team were able to simply come in and pick up their headphones or any other kit that would make their time at home more comfortable and productive.

How did we support our managed services clients to get setup to work from home?

Many of our clients were already well prepared following the first lockdown with key infrastructure like firewalls and VPN’s in place. Our advice to clients was to implement what worked for them last time. Some clients allowed staff to take their PC’s home, so we had our teams onsite to facilitate the safe removal of these machines, including providing instructions on how to reassemble at the other end. We offered afterhours support for those that needed help and covered any support requests at no extra cost.

What IT support queries did we receive and how did we go about resolving them quickly?

This time around it was typically for issues with VPN access, slow access and setting up home devices such as printers or wireless connections. We prioritised all queries related to working from home so anyone experiencing an issue got dealt with quickly to get them back online and working productively.

What are your tips for businesses struggling with their IT managed services and remote working?

First up take a look at the plan that was implemented and make note of where it went wrong. Did everyone have the right hardware and correct licences? Are you leveraging modern workplace tools like Office365 and Microsoft Teams? Are you reliant on an on-premise server? Do your people have slow internet connections holding them back? Those kinds of questions.

Secondly, we’re a cloud first business and would encourage everyone to have the majority of their key services hosted on a public cloud like AWS or Microsoft Azure. It’s not hard to migrate to the cloud, even during a lockdown, we can help you do that, but having your systems on the cloud would prepare your business for any potential issues in the future.

Finally, think about your strategy for managing people back into the office. Did your IT team or existing provider have to implement any shortcuts to enable working from home? Could these now expose your business to potential threats? For instance did someone open RDP to internal servers without a VPN? You should document every change that happened and make a plan for getting people back into the office whilst keeping your business safe.

If you want to talk about your managed services and remote working, drop us a line via our Contact Us page.