Message from Corey Kerns, Collabrance Vice President & General Manager
We are prepared, equipped and ready to serve you and your customers.
As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to unfold in the U.S., Collabrance (a GreatAmerica Company) plans to remain fully operational. We are carefully monitoring updates by the CDC, our incident response team is meeting frequently to assess the unfolding situation, and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure safety and continuity.
We are confident our business continuity plans includes communication, education and operational preparedness to provide top-level, uninterrupted service for you and your customers.
The health and well-being of our employees, your team and your customers are a top priority for us.
As COVID-19 evolves, we encourage you to please take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety, health and well-being of your team, customers, family, friends and community. We are here to support you and your customers, and operate effectively to maintain business as usual. If you have any questions, concerns or needs, please feel free to reach out to your Collabrance Team.
Vice President & General Manager
As we connect with MSPs and the IT Community across the nation, we compiled a list of common questions and answers we wanted to provide to you as a resource.
GreatAmerica is working to help decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in our workplace. We are following CDC guidelines to reduce transmission among staff, protect people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, and maintain business operations.
Our Business Continuity Team is studying a number of items associated with our business continuity plan and tiered responses, including:
- Hygiene and awareness in the workplace
- Social distancing and use of our Recovery Workspace
- Scale and timing of work-from-home response
The Business Continuity Team has developed a multi-phase approach to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of COVID-19 within GreatAmerica. We are implementing a “social distancing” strategy to create more physical distance between team members by moving some GreatAmerica team members to our Recovery Workspace, and encouraging employees to work remotely.
Offsite Workspace Activation
We have two fully operational offices in Cedar Rapids that are serving our customers. In addition to team members working from home, some of the Collabrance workforce is working from our Disaster Recovery site to reduce risk of exposure to the entire Collabrance team in the unlikely event that someone on the team would be infected. We are confident in our ability to provide uninterrupted service to our customers.
Travel & Events
The health and safety of our attendees, as well as our staff, partners and community is of the utmost importance to us. In efforts to help with social distancing, we have temporarily suspended air travel for all GreatAmerica employees, and are postponing onsite events.
Housekeeping & Awareness
Our normal cleaning and disinfecting procedure is above and beyond a typical cleaning routine in frequency and thoroughness. We have asked the cleaning staff to be even more vigilant given the current concerns around the Coronavirus and are actively reminding employees to practice healthy hygiene.
The response and movement of the MSP community has been remarkable during COVID-19.
MSPs are rising to the occasion, taking action, and contributing as a trusted technology advisor to help amazing things happen. MSPs are working hard and coming together to support their communities and businesses in need. As events continue to evolve, here are some ways MSPs can continue to be a hero to businesses.
Help your customers maintain their workplace & workforce.
As you reach out to support customers, consider asking the following questions to help prepare them to possibly alter their business operations, and to maintain productivity.
- Do you have a business continuity plan? Has it been reviewed in the past 12 months?
- Is your staff equipped to work remotely?
- Can your mission-critical systems be managed & accessed remotely?
- Do you have the ability to pay bills and receive payments if your office would be shut down?
- Do your phones system have the ability to be routed or accessed while out of the office?
- Do you have enough mobile devices for your staff to maintain secure, reliable and supportable access to your office resources?
Collabrance may be able to help in several of these areas. For any questions or support, please reach out to your Strategic Business Advisor or the Sales Engineering Team for more information.
- Do employees know how to identify and avoid external threats? Provide Security Awareness Training to educate best practices to minimize threats with reminders like identifying malicious emails, clicking on bad links, using public Wi-Fi, etc.
- Can employees access what they need to do their job? Ensure access to mission-critical information, applications and documents through the Cloud.
- Are employees using a private network? Secure connections with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and 2-Factor Authentication (2FA). If working from home, users should try to work on their secure, private home network instead of public Wi-Fi. Unsecured connections could open doors to cybercriminals waiting to intercept data, and put both personal and company information at risk.
- Do employees have various meetings to connect with their team? Setup secure communication systems such as, access to voice and phone systems, work email, chat functionality, remote meetings, video, etc.
- Do employees have the tools and equipment they need? Identify who needs company devices such as laptops, monitors, etc. or an acceptable use of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). If someone needs to use their home workstation, make sure they are fully patched and updated with anti-virus and anti-malware software. Try to incorporate the same best practices at home as you would at work to maintain the integrity of your data.
- Have you set guidelines for employees to work remote? Review working policies to set expectations of what is appropriate and acceptable.
Setup users to work remotely and securely.
For covered devices, the Fortinet FortiClient SSL Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an option. Customers who have a Fortinet FortiGate UTM can have an SSL VPN tunnel configured (if one is not already set up). For non-covered machines not allowed to VPN into the corporate network, the alternate solution is LogMeIn. Learn more about how Collabrance can help you setup customers to work remotely and securely.
End-user education and cybersecurity safety tips.
There has been an increase in phishing emails and malicious attacks related to COVID-19 that is targeting end users. Raise awareness how users can better protect their information, data and business with these online safety reminders.
If your team is granted the gift of time and the ability to focus with minimal distractions, here are five ways to keep business going.
Questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and a Collabrance Team Member will reach out with more information.
Before you participate in any of these programs, you should check to be sure they don't impact your ability to apply and qualify for state and local funds.
Trusted resource for rules and regulations regarding CARES Act:
Q&A, SBA guidelines, and how to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program:
- The Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act (PDF)
- Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Check with your state economic entity for any available resources:
SMB Government Funds for Cybersecurity
A group of IT service providers (ITSPs) is calling on the U.S. federal government to develop legislation that funds SMB technology spending. READ MORE
Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
We're here for you! While we may be separate, we're still together.