Saturday, April 4, 2020

Coronavirus and telework: IT maintenance companies facing the emergency

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“It’s an end-of-the-world atmosphere”: data backup, proper functioning of video messaging so that videoconferences take place, VPN and remote access, implementation of antivirus … With forced teleworking because of the epidemic computer maintenance technicians have their work cut out for coronaviruses like never before.

This Monday morning, many companies and employees rushed to the telephone switchboards of assistance companies, and in the few shops still open. “We are overwhelmed, we no longer know where to turn,” exclaims a switchboard operator, before hanging up.

Establish secure networks

For the past few days, companies have been using these companies to set up telework solutions, which sometimes requires reviewing the entire IT infrastructure of a company. “We are asked a lot for all collaborative work tools, secure VPN access and videoconferencing solutions”, explains Yann Rolland, president of the maintenance company RCB Informatique, which is aimed at SMEs and very small businesses.

The most requested act is the setting up of a VPN (Virtual personal network), which allows access to the computer servers of your company remotely.

And some companies have not seen this almost total changeover to teleworking coming. Indeed, many of them realize that they cannot function properly remotely without VPN. “Everyone wakes up at the last moment,” says another computer scientist. Yann Rolland justifies this sudden increase in activity by the exponential development of the health situation, which some had not anticipated.

Computer controls explode

“Companies started to raise awareness a few weeks ago, but preferred to wait: everyone is adapting day by day. “Same story for Roger Idiart, director of the Izencia company, based in Ivry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne):” There are customers who have nothing planned and who are in difficulty, and will probably close because they are not ready. “

Beyond the network, it is also the demand for equipment that is exploding. “Orders for laptops, both for employees and their children, for helmets and screens are extremely important,” notes Yann Rolland. However, computer companies fear another catastrophe: the lack of equipment, several weeks after the closings of factories in China. “We have a shortage on the highly demanded ranges, and it will worsen in the coming days, probably until the beginning of May. We have planned stocks to deliver our customers, but they are going to leave very quickly… ”, worries the president of RCB Informatique.

Protect employees who travel at home

A final problem arises for maintenance companies: sending technicians to their homes. To protect its employees, Roger Idiart, director of the Izencia company, says he favors telesupport (remote): “We are canceling interventions on site, because we prefer to manage problems remotely. However, certain manipulations require displacement.

“We provide remote assistance, on site in our stores, and still on site,” says Yann Rolland, who is satisfied with having kept stocks of masks dating from the H1N1 flu period. “We invite our employees to clean their hands before and after each intervention, and to keep safe distances from customers. As the prospect of total confinement draws closer, requests for home intervention will continue to rain in the hours to come.

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