Questions & Answers from Our Facebook Live Session with Ikram Massabini

 Pete Computer

Click Here to Watch Our Facebook Live Session


1) How can general users connect to their network from home? Is it highly involved? Do we need extra equipment?

This depends on how your network is laid out. One option is VPN (Virtual Private Network). There is software installed on the remote computer in order to establish a VPN connection to your office computer. This would allow you to gain access to shared documents and use basic “thin” applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. However, if you need to utilize “thicker” applications such as QuickBooks you may want to use Terminal Services.

Additionally, from a security perspective you need to make sure the remote computer is properly secured with anti-virus, updates, etc.

2) If my doctor wants to Facetime me for an appointment, is this secure and HIPAA compliant?

This is not HIPAA compliant however due to the COVID-19 Crisis the government has made an exception and is allowing medical professionals to Facetime and not incur any HIPAA penalties or fines. This will be acceptable for the next three months, however in general NO, Facetime is not HIPAA compliant and should not be used.

3) Will my work slow down when I am connected via a VPN or will it be like I am right in my office?

You are only as fast as your slowest component. Meaning, if you are using a slower and thicker application it will most likely still be slow. If it is work that involves a lot of data, it will be slower. Therefore, VPN is simply not enough and a mixture of other solutions such as Terminal Services, Published Apps and items in the cloud is best.

4) During this crisis, what scams should I be looking out for in my email or bad actors?

People are trying to take advantage of this crisis and peoples’ vulnerabilities during this time. Look out for obvious fakes such as “Click Here to Find Out if You Have Coronavirus.” Also, since so many people are utilizing delivery services such as Instacart and Doordash or Grubhub you may receive an email asking you to change your password. These are fakes. The applications would never send you a generic email in order to change your password.

5) If I am using my personal computer for work, what anti-virus should I have?

A multi-Vector Advanced Threat Protection Anti-Virus. In any case make sure this anti-virus is up-to-date and you have run windows updates as well. If your employer is asking you to use your personal computer to complete work, they should be directing you and supplying you with anti-virus to protect them and you.

6) What is the difference between Terminal Services and RDP (Remote Desktop)?

This is technically the same technology but with one you are logging into a server and the other you are logging into your workstation at the office (RDP).

7) What access can I have to my programs at the office?

With these remote solutions you should be able to work from home exactly as you could in the office and have access to everything you need. If you have a VOIP (Voice Over IP) Solution and have soft phone loaded onto your machine, making and taking calls should be the same as well. The main difference will be isolating yourself and not having the same interactions with your coworkers as you once did.

A good solution for this is video conferencing and being able to see the person you are talking to. We utilize Microsoft Teams for this, and many people are using Zoom.

8) Do I need any specific equipment to work from home?

Yes, you need a machine, internet connectivity, a router and we recommend a firewall for security.

9) Is there anything I can do or actions I can take if my internet goes down while working remotely?

You could have redundant internet. You can connect to the hotspot on your phone for internet.

10) When things return to normal what changes will have to be made for employees to return to the office?

It’s all about having conversations about how we can work remotely. How did things go while you were trying to work remotely? What problems did you encounter? What solutions you may have to investigate such as softphone or VPNs.

11) Can I have multiple monitors connected if I am working from my laptop?

Yes, you can. Especially if you are working remotely. They are many monitors that are compatible.

12) How could my phone system be better to adapt to work remotely?

A phone system should be adaptable wherever you go. So, you can be able to take your work phone home with you, plug it in and make sure it is connected and you should be able to work with no huge differences.

13) Do you recommend we use the router from my internet provider or purchase something different?

We would recommend buying your own as the one provided to you by your ISP does not have the capability for a firewall. Make sure one you buy yourself has the capability for a firewall.

14) Do you have any suggestions for keeping your employees motivated during this hard time?

We utilize Microsoft Teams for video conferencing and have a morning huddle every morning to check in with each other. We also utilize KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to make sure everybody has their targets and goals to hit. We also are giving major KUDOS to employees like gift cards, cash and verbal congrats etc. to keep them motivated.