Work from home 2021

Work from home 2021: it’s been a year since the pandemic lockdown, what have we learned?

Work from home 2021

Zoombombing, VPNs, webcams, porting office phone lines, there’s been a lot of tech changes for small business this year. What have we learned from all this?

As one Texas lawyer recently found out to the hilarity of internet users, keep kids off your work laptop and check your webcam well before your meeting. Hard for a judge to take the lawyer seriously when he has cat filter on.

This article has some great tips about using filters and backgrounds in Zoom plus the video of the lawyer with the cat filter.

Is your web meeting private or open to the public? Do you know how to check those settings? An entire school board in California resigned after they accidentally livestreamed their meeting where they trashed the parents. No, really.

1TB of data isn’t what it used to be

With the demands of webinars, web meetings, VPNs and file transfers, network traffic has majorly increased. Is your network equipment up to date? Old networking equipment will cause slowdowns. Is it time to increase your office internet speed? How is your internet service provider managing? One article from the States indicates data growth for all types of internet subscribers and some ISPs are struggling to manage.

Equipment Care

Whose maintaining laptops that are out of the office? It’s important laptops still get their software updates and tune-ups even out of the office. Have you asked your employees about their home office setup? Recently one client got back a laptop from an employee where the employee had cut the ground pin off the laptop plug.  Definitely not good for the laptop. We repurposed this older laptop into a Zoom only machine.

You can help your employees get the right power bar with my blog about surge protectors.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about cleaning equipment. I’ve been using a combination of a portable UV Sanitizer (you can get them quite reasonably priced at Canadian Tire) and the Whoosh! cleaner (also at Canadian Tire and Staples) with a microfiber cloth.

Laptop prices

Laptop prices show no signs of going back down to 2019 levels. I have been working hard with clients to get them deals and fix older equipment. The best deal I could find last year for 15.6″ good quality business laptop was $599. Most of them are running at $899 and up. 17″ models are over $1000.

Computer Security

It seems like all the hackers got laid off from their day jobs in 2020. I’ve been seeing numbers like 350% in malicious software, 400% increase in phishing, and the list goes on.  It’s scary out there.

I know people are exhausted from the pandemic and don’t need another thing to worry about. But you really, really, really need to practice safe computing at home and in the office.

Here are four steps to work securely:

  1. You are the best defense. Slow down and read carefully.
  2. Keep your devices up to date. That includes addons like Zoom.
  3. Keep your little helpers (pets and kids), friends and family off your work devices.
  4. Use a password manager.

Here’s a poster of the above for you and your staff.