We’ve asked our IT Tech Support team in East Devon to give us their unique perspective on the impacts of Covid 19 and the move to remote working for their customers.
For most people, 2020 has been a year characterised by a few dominant features: an acute awareness of health and hygiene; an enormous sense of gratitude towards our Key Workers; a paradigm shift towards remote working and an international adoption of video conferencing.
Even those people who are not working from home have at least, in some way, taken advantage of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and FaceTime. A weekly Zoom quiz, a video call with grandma, a virtual Hen Party: they’ve all become rapidly accepted into our lives.
For Cosmic’s IT Technical Support team, this has meant some changes to the way they work, and to the needs of our Cosmic Assist customers. The routine visits to a client’s premises to check on hardware, networks and connections fell by the wayside at the initiation of Lockdown. The dispersal of workforces into their own homes has presented a whole new approach to IT Support.
We’ve asked some of our IT technicians to reflect on these changes and to share with us what life has been like from the other side of the Helpdesk.
In conversation with Rob French (RF), Systems Administrator and Jon Allard (JA), Level 1 IT Technician:
RF: “The way of working has changed; people are at home and our customers are not in shared working environments. The split from a core business environment means that there’s more need for us to give simpler fixes that would normally have been discussed within their office and fixed through shared knowledge with colleagues. We now spend more time supporting customers with more individual and personal IT issues, rather than company-wide technical faults, for example.”
JA: “Remote working was set up in a hurry for a lot of people, and a lot of customers are relying on doing it as close to the way they did it in the office as possible using old technologies, like VPN connections.”
RF: “Security: this is now more of a concern than ever with fragmented workforces. The main security issue is human vulnerability still. Cyber security training is needed first. Then the equipment they are using, updates, antivirus, malware etc. Business are at serious risk of neglecting these issues.”
JA: “We need to invest in people’s understanding of how they are working so that business managers understand the risks that are involved.”
“As Rob said, there is a need for simpler fixes but the underlying technology for Microsoft 365 or Azure, for example, is harder for people to understand, so they need help to work out the risks and benefits.”
RF: “I think it will be months if not years before companies return to the office and the old ways work working, and I don’t believe it will go back to the way it was before. Our customers, have taken a bit of a beating, having to invest, at short notice, in a different way of working with no clear view as to what’s happening or guidance from the top. I can sympathise.”
JA: “Companies need to look at this as an opportunity to redesign systems (both tech systems and processes of work) with an investment mindset. Companies could really make the most of this by improving employees’ work-life, making them more productive.”
“Being able to employ the best people no matter where they are based geographically and actually improving security can make cost savings. As Rob said, this may mean investment for people and companies that may have taken a beating but many of them already have access and are paying for tools they are not using to the full potential. With a redesign of their systems they could be saving money.”
Thank you to Jon and Rob for sharing these insights from their unique perspective. If you have any questions about how your business is currently operating, or would like support for your remote workforces, please get in touch to see how we can help.