Late With a Coronavirus Readiness Plan? Here’s What You Can Do

Late With a Coronavirus Readiness Plan? Here's What You Can Do

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads to more cities across the country, you may begin to worry that you have not done enough to prepare for an outbreak in your community. If you have found yourself wondering how you can protect your staff, or what you would do if social distancing measures forced you to work remotely, you are not alone. However, it is never too late to create a coronavirus readiness plan for your business.

To make sure that your company is not caught by surprise, here are just a few of the steps that you can take to prepare for the spread of coronavirus. 

Stay Informed

In order to make sure that your business is prepared for, and your employees are protected against, the potential spread of coronavirus, it is important that you stay informed about the latest news and guidelines relating to the virus and social distancing protocols. The CDC has a lot of resources available on their website that can help you to learn more about how the coronavirus spreads, and what you should do to keep your staff safe in the coming weeks.

The CDC also has special resources available for businesses that can help you to learn more about ways to keep your office clean and your employees healthy as the coronavirus spreads. It is also important that you listen to local, state, and federal recommendations on how businesses should respond to the coronavirus, which may include limiting company functions and implementing social distancing.  

Communicate With Staff  

Of course, your primary defense against the spread of illness in the office is your staff, which is why it is important that you keep your staff informed on the latest information regarding coronavirus developments and protection. You should also consider messaging staff to remind them to do their part to maintain a healthy work environment by washing their hands frequently, getting enough sleep, and keeping their distance from others when possible. It is also more critical than ever that you encourage sick employees to stay home and that you consider allowing sick employees to work from home for a while once they have recovered.  

Create a Remote Work Plan

If more strict social distancing protocols are implemented in your community, you may find that you and your staff are required to shelter-in-place. In order to ensure that you are able to maintain productivity should this happen, it is important that you develop an effective remote work plan that will make it as simple as possible for your staff to work from home. It is important that you think about whether your employees have the necessary tools to work from home, and whether your employees have the ability to easily access business solutions and systems remotely if need be.

You do not want to find out that your staff cannot, or do not know how to, access and complete their work should they be forced to work from home. Consider surveying employees to find out if they have the adequate tools and equipment to work from home, and make plans to help those who do not feel ready to prepare for the possibility of telecommuting. It is also important to assess what jobs can easily be done from home, what positions may need tweaking to accommodate remote work, and if there are any essential jobs that cannot be done remotely.   

Invest in Telecommuting Technology

In addition to making sure that your staff is ready to work from home, you will also want to make sure that your company has the right technology and business solutions to support remote work. You will need to make sure that you set up the right collaboration tools such as internal communications programs or secure Wi-Fi networks and access points to allow for remote work. Make sure that your staff has access to, and knows how to use, collaborative software such as Office 365 or Google’s G Suite, as this can be essential in allowing for successful remote collaboration. 

Once you know what needs to be done to prepare your company for a coronavirus outbreak, you can create an action plan specific to your business that will ensure that you are ready for anything that may happen in the coming weeks.

Contact us to learn more about solutions that can help your business to prepare for potential social distancing measures and remote work. 

The End is Near: Goodbye Windows 7

Support for Windows 7 Ends as of January 14, 2020 - Mark Your Calendar

January 2020 is the end of Windows 7 as we know it. Like saying farewell to a dear friend, Microsoft has begun to phase out 7 in favor of the new and improved Windows 10. Businesses who have yet to make the switch will want to consider upgrading in the near future.

Don’t worry; your computers won’t magically stop working on the first of the new year. The basic features of Windows 7 will continue to function as normal. That said, there are still plenty of reasons to upgrade.

Security

Keeping your system up to date and fortified against malware is the number one reason to make the leap to Windows 10. Although Windows 7 won’t stop working entirely, automatic updates and Microsoft support will expire at the stroke of midnight. This means Windows antivirus is no longer protecting your company’s data. Tech experts are already anticipating cyberattacks to increase in light of the January deadline, specifically targeting users and corporations who have yet to upgrade.

Make sure your computer doesn’t turn back into a pumpkin. Upgrade early to allow sufficient time for any minor downtime, while ensuring your network isn’t left vulnerable come January 1st.

User Friendly

Don’t expect a substantial learning curve for Windows 10. The latest version prioritizes simplicity. Documents, folders, data, and software should transfer seamlessly onto the new interface, with little to no additional steps. In fact, many of the common programs businesses rely on, such as Office Suite, will automatically update so you can carry on with business as usual.

Revolutionizing the Future of Tech

Windows 10 offers an array of new and exciting features that improve efficiency and collaboration. This includes more ways to interface with devices, including iOS integration through Windows’ newly announced teamwork with Apple. Heightened security is also a huge plus for businesses. Cracking down on data protection is giving many companies additional peace of mind when it comes to managing critical systems information.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, our team can help outfit your business with everything from Office 365 to Microsoft SharePoint and more! We can assist in upgrading to Windows 10 by identifying the number of licenses you’ll need, compatibility of current software, and whether or not your operating systems are up to the task. Give us a call today and ring in the new year right with new and improved features!

Support for Windows 7 Ends as of January 14, 2020 – Mark Your Calendar

Support for Windows 7 Ends as of January 14, 2020 - Mark Your Calendar

Just like the end of Windows XP, which many of us loved, Windows 7 lifespan is coming to an end. It is imperative that your business is thinking about what you are going to do when Microsoft is no longer providing security updates. Without these updates’ your operating systems will be wide open to security risks and cyber attacks. You have almost a year before the expiration, so steps should be taken soon to defray any expenses which are incurred. Depending on how old your hardware is a budget adjustment may be necessary.

There a couple of upgrade choices to look into, and deciding which is the best option for your business takes careful consideration.

Machines utilizing Windows 7 operating systems can be upgraded to Windows 10. The laptop or tower must have a 1GHz or faster processor, memory needs to be at least 1GB RAM for 32-bit and 2GB for 64-bit with a minimum of 20GB hard disk space and an 800 x 600 screen video card. If your equipment is new enough and meets these requirements, then you can purchase the licensed Windows 10 Pro for $199.99. That is the price for each PC and laptop.

Microsoft Office 365 can be outright purchased or used on a monthly basis providing you subscribe for a full year, either choice provides free upgrades. There is a caveat, a limited number of users can be signed in at a time.

The last option is to purchase new machines with Windows 10 already installed. This may be the wisest choice due to the time between now and January. Budgeting for new purchases and beginning their acquisition soon will get your business past this crisis as well as updating some tired old equipment that may have seen better days. 

One thing is certain, technology is always changing, but Windows 10 will have extended support until October 14, 2025. So whichever upgrade option you decide upon, additional changes will not have to be made for quite a while.