Pandemic Business and Security
We are all mostly used to the semi-temporary new reality of working from home.
When this pandemic initially hit, at Support Tree we quickly looked to our business continuity plan and ran small scale testing of the plan (again) to make sure when the time came we could switch to working from home as seamlessly as possible.
We also wrote a coronavirus policy on 04th March detailing trigger responses and our actions when these trigger points were hit. By 18th March we were all working from home with a fully functional support team dotted around different parts of London. I can’t say I ever truly believed that a help desk could run effectively with all members in different locations. In a way I think as an international community we should be counting our lucky stars that a pandemic of this size did not strike any earlier because some of the tech we are now utilising to run our businesses, stay in touch with family and to stay connected to the world just would not have been up to the job.
Most businesses are now using Zoom, MS Teams or Slack to communicate both internally and externally. How many of us knew how to setup a Zoom or Teams conference just 4-6 weeks ago? These services are absolute boons at a time like this. However, as we keep reading in the news there are many security threats at the moment
Zoom keeps receiving a bad press of late. A lot of it I think is pretty unfair as it is an good service that many use for free. I winced and then tweeted when I noticed that the UK cabinet were meeting using a Zoom session. The UK cabinet should definitely not be using Zoom as their security concerns should be higher than practically any business. The UK govt should have their own private network, not use a US based companies’ system….in my opinion.
So why do I think the criticism of Zoom in unfair? Well if the features were properly used then it has always been pretty safe for most businesses to use:
When using zoom, make sure you always carry out these 3 steps:
- Generate Meeting ID automatically
- Require meeting password
- Enable waiting room
The main criticism of Zoom security was the ability of people to ZoomBomb. This is where uninvited people could just drop in on a running meeting. This is because some people were using the same meeting ID’s again and again, were not using a meeting password and lastly did not use the waiting room feature which means you need to let people in from the waiting room and they can’t simply drop in unannounced and eavesdrop or try to disrupt the meeting.
Now I’ve just been standing up for Zoom security, however. For business meetings at Support Tree we nearly always use MS Teams. Why? Because Teams integrates with a lot of other parts of the Microsoft infrastructure like SharePoint, Microsoft Planner and MS OneNote. In fact we use teams to chat to various groups within the business on different channels. For some meetings we record them and use the auto transcribe feature which is very handy when you want to search a video for a key word the platform will take you to the points in the recording where the key word was said. Such a time saver!
We think that MS Teams will become a standard tool for most businesses who want to run more efficiently with more flexibility. At the moment we are developing a product to route business phone calls into MS Teams, so that we and other businesses can even use Teams to make and receive their business calls with all the usual business phone features and like call queues and call recording. As much as we all look forward to returning to a work in a shared environment there are many aspects to the current situation that a lot of us are enjoying. I’m enjoying having more time with my family and less time rushing from A to B to C. I’ve discovered that meetings can be as or even sometimes more effective to an in person meeting. When we find a new normal, I think we will find that in general we are more flexible about where our team members work from. I for one will look to reduce my own travel time to work every week and even to meetings where I can. Reducing travel time reduces stress, increases time efficiencies and saves money.
And by moving our business phone system into MS Teams we will have transferred out business into the picture of the true “Modern Office”. We will be able to work from anywhere with internet, at any time. That’s a business continuity plan that I like the sound of.