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    • #1555344
      Paolo Maffezzoli
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      A question about the Covid-19 outbreak. Some countries like Italy is forcing many IT pros and users from to work from home.

      Are you ready for remote work?

      Also, are you able to manage remote workers remotely?

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    • #1555345
      Michael Pietroforte
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      As a digital nomad I always work remotely, usually very remote. 🙂 To be honest, after 14 years I can hardly imagine to work again in a normal office. If there is one good thing about this outbreak then that many companies will realize that paying employees just for spending time in an office does often not make much sense. And because we can expect many more outbreaks of this kind in the future (imagine almost 8 billion people now, most of them living close together in big cities), many companies will get serious about remote work. I can imagine that many admins around the world are struggling now to make remote work possible.

      I hope you get this under control there in Italy. Doesn’t look good this morning.

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      • #1555367
        Paolo Maffezzoli
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        In moments like these it is clear that those who were not ready for mobile working then have to do something quickly. But this is not possible quickly if you have not made a correct and widespread preparation. Like IT Admin I already have everything I need, fast connection, software, a comfortable workstation and all the tools to manage remote offices and users. But this is something that must be planned and prepared in advance. Based on what I see now, many companies are trying to do everything in a short time with what is available to ensure minimum business continuity.

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        • #1555371
          Leos Marek
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          Well Im not sure about any quick action Paolo. Most major players do already have remote access available and users have laptops. Those who have not, are usually small to medium business customers, a lot of them rely on a producing something, which cannot be done remotely. And now its definitely not a good time to do any investment for new HW or SW to ensure remote access. Most of such companies do already have financial issues due to whole situation, some of them are dealing with existential issues, asking government for compensation. Those cannot afford to invest to IT now.

        • #1555373
          Paolo Maffezzoli
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          Yes, the main problem now is for companies has to do something remain in the market and garantee a minimum continuity of service, this is already possible for workers already equipped with laptops. Other professional figures with only desktop workstations instead need to have an alternative. In this case, companies can take action to prepare an alternative. But this must be done in a short time and have, as Leos rightly says, the financial resources to be able to provide a remote workstation.

      • #1555368
        Paolo Maffezzoli
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        As for Italy, we are currently experiencing a situation that is not conceivable until a few days ago. All closed commercial activities, only necessary services such as food, pharmacies and little else are still functional, all people must remain at home, it is allowed only for emergencies or needs (go to the supermarket, family or to assist their own Dear). The situation really changed in a short time, first only an area near Milan, then a block spread across the nation and now completely closed and with people at home.

        My advice is to be prepared. Have an adequate food supply and prevention tools, sterile gloves and masks. It seems strange but it is better to be protected.

    • #1555363
      Leos Marek
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      Our government (Czech) stated emergency situation in whole country for 30 days. Schools, all public social places, pools, sport events, music events, everything is closed and cancelled. We are closing borders with Germany and Austria… Pubs are closed in the evening…

      Almost every company sends all laptop users to work at home. I guess for us as IT guys it should be no problem to manage that kind of work. Anyway, as Michael said, most of the stuff is done remotely anyway. If its not hardware related and there is a line working, you can always do it remotely 🙂

      • #1555364
        Michael Pietroforte
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        I think these containment measures can only slow down the transmission rate. The Chinese have shown that forcing people to stay at the home is the only way to get this under control. However, I am afraid European governments are too weak for such strong measures.  That’s why experts believe that 60-70 percent of the population in Europe will get the virus eventually. I somehow doubt that things will look better in 30 days. At the moment the only hope is that the summer in the Northern Hemisphere will slow down the virus until there is a vaccine available. It seems the virus does not spread so easily in warmer countries.

        So I think work from home will become the norm for many in the coming months. This means that the demand for IT pros will increase significantly because the majority of companies is not prepared for this. Many things have to be done differently if you have a large number of end users working from home. I think this a good time to improve your skills in this field.

        • #1555365
          Leos Marek
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          Not really sure how do you mean it with the new skills 🙂 From my perspective the users will still have the same issue – I cant access something, this app is not working, etc etc. Nothing new 🙂

        • #1555366
          Michael Pietroforte
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          Well, one thing that will change is that users will complain more often that something is not working. 😉

          Seriously, many things are different. It starts with the question if users will work on their own machines. If so, you have to get your management software on a large number of machines that you didn’t install and where many things can go wrong. You don’t even know what Windows version they have and when the latest update was installed. How do you get this information?

          Because the machines are not in your LAN you can’t push your agents. So you need to instruct users to install the software. Thus, social skills will be more important than ever.

          What will you do if a machine hangs after one of Microsoft’s brilliant updates? Push a new OS image to a home user? How?

          Security is certainly a major issue. If you don’t have a VPN solution in place, you better start looking.

          I think the list is essentially endless. It is quite possible that Google will benefit a lot from this because their Chrome OS simplifies many things here. Windows was not really designed for work from home.

        • #1555370
          Leos Marek
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          Well they can and will complain, but they can also be happy they can work somehow…

          I dont know many companies here that use BYOD policy around here, so from my perspective nothing changes. If the user has laptop then there already is standard image. Once they connect to VPN its like they were sitting in the office 🙂

          If you speak about China, well its a completely different world there. Lets not forget about the communist government. The area where the virus started – Wuhan – is a large industry area with around 40mil people there around a single city.

    • #1555369
      Leos Marek
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      Oh my freaking god. Our government just closed all stores except food stores for 10 days… We have like 150 infected in whole country…

      • #1555372
        Michael Pietroforte
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        Right decision.  This will safe lives. Here in the Philippines they locked down Manila and they have 98 cases in a country with more than 100 million people. If Italy did this early enough, Europe wouldn’t be in trouble now. The problem is that most politicians are lawyers and don’t understand the power of exponential curves.

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        • #1555374
          Paolo Maffezzoli
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          The main problem is that politicians must now make drastic and unpopular decisions. Close borders, limit travel and close all cultural, sporting events, etc. It was truly incredible to see the Champions League play with stadiums filled with thousands of people, a great danger of contagion in a limited space.

        • #1555377
          Leos Marek
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          Im not judging that… In the end, its all about people. If you dont know, Czech people love to go to ski to Italy. In fact, in past two weeks there were 140k Czech people in north Italy…. a LOT of them came back and ignored the quarantine. They even publicly stated they dont give a damn… One person from our city came from Italy previous Saturday and on Monday he sent his kids to school….. Such person should be sent to jail right after the quarantine….

    • #1555375
      Paolo Maffezzoli
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      A quick technical comment, now the big challenge for the telecommunication infrastructure is to ensure adequate bandwidth for all home users and remote workers. This is the critical mission for all telcoms.

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      • #1555376
        Leos Marek
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        I dont think that should be an issue. Standard user work do not require any special bandwidth and with speeds today it should be all fine.

        • #1555378
          Paolo Maffezzoli
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          Exactly, in normal conditions internet bandwith is available to everyone. The problem may be if hundreds of thousands or millions of people move their work home. I think in a normal house where there is someone working and at the same time the kids study online, gaming, watch Netflix and many other streaming things. And this behavior multiplied by hundreds of thousands of people in the same city.

        • #1555379
          Leos Marek
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          Normal remote work, like emails and few apps that most remote users use, does not consume more that 1Mbit continuously. I would not be afraid of the lines. Another topic is to remove caps from mobile net tho…

        • #1555380
          Paolo Maffezzoli
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          Eh eh, the other topic may be a problem for some family. In Italy Fortnite and Call of Duty caused a 70% increase in traffic.

        • #1555381
          Paolo Maffezzoli
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          Gaming traffic can spike even higher when the games are refreshed and millions of kids download the latest 25-gigabyte update at once.

          “We reported an increase of more than 70% of Internet traffic over our landline network, with a big contribution from online gaming such as Fortnite,” Telecom Italia Chief Executive Officer Luigi Gubitosi said Wednesday on a call with analysts.

          Link : Housebound Italian Kids Strain Network With Fortnite Marathon

        • #1555382
          Leos Marek
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          Ye well thats a different story there 🙂 Lets see what happens. We are waiting if the government will call complete shutdown tonight, similar to Italy/Spain.

    • #1555437
      Paolo Maffezzoli
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      This quality downgrade is a good news for EU remote workers.

      Netflix will reduce the video quality on its service in Europe for the next 30 days, to reduce the strain on internet service providers.

      Demand for streaming has increased because large parts of Europe are self-isolating at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

      The video-streaming provider said lowering the picture quality would reduce Netflix data consumption by 25%.

      Link : BBC – Netflix to cut streaming quality in Europe for 30 days

       

    • #1555438
      Steven
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      Am I ready to work from home? Yes I am. However, some companies like VFX are bound to strict laws that are really hard to match with working remotely such has not having internet on the device itself, how to access data internally that are highly sensitive and so on.

       

      I think what we are facing is just the tippity top of the iceberg. Yes you have planned the working remotely part, but what about DR? Compromised user’s network? You guys have way more experience than I do, but my first though was: what about the network security? This changed the game for us on another level.

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      • #1555440
        Paolo Maffezzoli
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        Thanks for contribution, good point about the network security. This one is not a secondary because in few time many organizations are enabling remote working and configuring different aspects of netwkork security. I think for example how to set devices for remote working without phisical handling for IT deparment. Maintain regurarly updated all devices in remote working, operating systems, antivirus and many other software applications.

      • #1555443
        Leos Marek
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        yea well if you allow your users to work remotely, you have to accept that they can and will connect to unsecure network. Then its just about the tools you put in place to mitigate that risk. Such as DirectConnect, AlwaysON VPN and other stuff. For example DLP protection of your data.

        • #1555735
          Steven
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          I am 100% with you on that Leos.

          My point was more for IT department and their plans with network security and such. I think you have come across multiples businesses with no or with unclear reactions to breaches. That will either show major flaws that were there before but never taken care of.

    • #1555530
      Paolo Maffezzoli
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      About network security, an interesting  Microsoft article Alternative ways for security professionals and IT to achieve modern security controls in today’s unique remote work scenarios gives some more information and suggestions:

      Here an extract :

      With the bulk of end users now working remotely, legacy network architectures that route all remote traffic through a central corporate network are suddenly under enormous strain. The result can be poorer performance, productivity, and user experience. Many organizations are now rethinking their network infrastructure design to address these issues, especially for applications like Microsoft Teams and Office 365.

      ….

      Network protections

      We strongly recommend that you review VPN and VPS infrastructure for updates, as attackers are actively tailoring exploits to take advantage of remote workers. Microsoft Threat Intelligence teams have observed multiple nation state and cybercrime actors targeting unpatched VPN systems for many months. In October 2019, both the National Security Agency and National Cyber Security Centre issued alerts on these attacks.

      Link : Alternative ways for security professionals and IT to achieve modern security controls in today’s unique remote work scenarios

    • #1556092
      Paolo Maffezzoli
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      This is another side effect of remote work: Finding endless video calls exhausting? You’re not alone

       

      • #1556093
        Michael Pietroforte
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        I think many people find real-world meetings exhaustive as well. At least there is a technical solution for boring video conferences. Just record a video of yourself with a thoughtfully pensive expression on your face, saying every once in a while, “I agree” or “oh yeah.” At the end of the video you say “We should discuss this more thoroughly in our next video conference” and then you can excuse yourself claiming that your kids need your attention now. If your co-workers know that you don’t have kids, replace “kids” with “dog” or “bonsai.” Always works. 🙂

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        • #1556094
          Leos Marek
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          Haha yeah many meetings tend to be exhausting, because for 25 minutes people talk about something else than what was the meeting subject and in last 5 minutes they try to solve the original topic… 🙂

        • #1556115
          Paolo Maffezzoli
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          I find that in some cases video conferencing stressful when there are issues such as low audio or video quality and another point is that requires more attention than a regular conference call.

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