Working From Home? Probably The “New Normal”

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

I hope that you and your family (and pets) are safe and sound and doing as well as can be expected. This is an extraordinary time for all of us, and the very embodiment of the ancient Chinese aphorism “may you live in interesting times.” We surely do.

Our team is mixed between working in the office and working from home, and everyone is doing a great job. We initially saw a huge increase in our ticket volume as our client’s teams prepared to work from home but that’s tapered off in the last week to a pretty normal level of activity.

If you had to wait for help, please accept my personal apology for the inconvenience – while we have plans to handle client disasters, I never anticipated something as far-reaching as the current pandemic.

The “new normal”

If the politicians and experts are to be believed, many of the changes we’ve had to make to slow the spread of this virus are going to be around for quite a while, at least until we have an effective vaccine for COVID-19. From an IT perspective, that means more of your team will probably be working remotely. And that presents a new kind and new level of security exposure for your company.

The majority of our clients have their team members working from home by remoting into their desktops at the office, and that works fine. We have a great solution to enable this functionality (please email us at if you have team members who need to be set up for remote work).

However, if one of your team member’s work location changes permanently to their home that solution no longer works. We’d need to deploy a VPN (virtual private network) to connect their home computer to your corporate network, which opens up a can of worms for sure.

Some of the considerations for permanent work from home team members include:

Securing the home computer – just like a computer at the office, a home computer being connected to your corporate network will need anti-virus, monitoring and management software and advanced threat protection.

Blacklisted applications – there are some software applications we don’t install on office computers for security or data privacy reasons. When your team members are working from home, these same restrictions should be in place.

Threat management – on your corporate network we use tools to prevent team members from connecting to harmful or time-wasting sites. The security risk is the same regardless of the employee’s location so we’d need to implement similar restrictions.

While we haven’t worked through all of the details and requirements, our best guidance right now is that permanent work from home employees will need a computer dedicated to your business. The restrictions and security requirements necessary to protect your network would be very difficult to implement on a home computer.

By all means, please reach out if you have questions or would like to discuss transitioning some of your team members to permanently work from home.

Conferencing and web meetings

If you need audio conferencing to gather your team virtually, please let us know. We can assign you a dial-in conference line with unlimited users at no charge. Your team would simply dial your conference line, enter a four-digit PIN, and be connected. Email to have a dial-in conference line configured for your company.

Clients who use our 3cx phone system have web-conferencing licensing built in. You can read more about the system here:

We’re happy to assist with usage or configuration questions.

Increased threat from phishing emails and viruses

Sadly, cybercrooks love a crisis because it gives them a believable reason to contact you with a phishing scam. We’ve seen an alarming uptick in phishing emails and other virus delivery methods since a majority of our client’s team has shifted to working from home. Be on high alert.

What can we do for you?

The lockdown and abrupt change to working from home is disorienting, and I think we’re all still trying to get used to it. Please reach out if there is anything we can do for you or your business to make things easier.