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F12 Blog

COVID-19 Precautions and Preparations

F12.net - COVID-19 Precautions and Preparations

F12.net COVID-19 Action Plan – March 17th Update

F12 remains fully staffed and focused on supporting your operations in a safe, responsible manner. This week, we are fielding a large increase in requests for assistance with remote access, new laptops, and other matters related to COVID-19.  We appreciate your patience as we assist you.  Our technicians have been especially encouraged by the many kind words left in feedback surveys over the last week.  Your thoughtfulness helps to bolster the team during this difficult period.

Phone System Enhancements

Last night, F12 implemented an enhancement to our phone system to support flexible work arrangements for our employees. Our team, like yours, is quickly learning to be productive in a new work situation.  If you experience any challenges calling into F12’s support team, please let us know through an email or F12 Connect. My apologies for any issues experienced this morning.

Special Precautions for Onsite Work

Where safe, F12 will continue to provide onsite services, including project and deskside support.  If your hours of operation or policy on visitors changes, please let our team know so we may accommodate.

We have implemented additional safety measures to protect our team and your team:

  • Sanitizing external surfaces of equipment entering or leaving F12
  • Reminding all employees of their duty to refuse unsafe work
  • Empowering our technicians to adopt one or more precautions when on site:
    • Washing hands immediately before and after handling equipment
    • Wearing gloves
    • Sanitizing keyboards, mice, and work surfaces before commencing work
    • Maintaining social distancing while onsite

We appreciate your full cooperation with these measures.

Working with F12’s Client Relations and Inside Sales Teams

You may be used to direct email communication with certain F12 networkers, but the best way to request either F12’s client relations team (VPs and ITMs) or our sales team is to email managers@f12.net.  Using this central address affords the following benefits:

  • Continued service if any individual becomes ill or unavailable
  • Better oversight by F12 management for work-from-home scenarios
  • Assurance that all requests are quickly actioned and not missed
  • Continuity of communication between service, sales, and client relations

Continue to place ordinary IT support requests through F12 Connect, telephone, or email (service@f12.net).

Future Communication

I am immensely proud of our team, of our clients, and of our nation for taking dramatic measures to slow the spread of this virus.  We are fortunate that Canada is late to this pandemic and is learning from the experiences of other nations.  I wish the very best to you and your families and will provide further updates by email and at https://f12.net/resources/blog/covid-19

  • Alex Webb

 


March 12 Update

We have all watched, with growing concern, the worldwide spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).  While the public health risk to Canadians is currently low, the situation can change rapidly. Indeed, yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared a pandemic. We are part of a global community; we are in this together.

Steps to Protect Our Community

Last week, F12 initiated an early phase of our Emergency Preparedness Program and adopted reasonable measures to protect our employees, clients, vendors, and communities:

  • Implemented a daily disinfecting routine covering high-touch surfaces
  • Reviewed hand-washing and other hygiene best practices with staff
  • Installed additional hand-sanitation stations
  • Temporarily suspended shared meal programs
  • Temporarily suspended non-essential business travel
  • Formed an advisory team to monitor the pandemic and direct F12’s response

Further, anyone who has travelled to or been in close contact with someone who has come from a high-risk area must work from home. If COVID-19 starts spreading in our communities, which seems increasingly likely, anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) will need to stay at home. These measures are in keeping with WHO’s Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 recommendations.

Rather than overreact, we will continue to take guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization.

Helping Our Clients Prepare

Many of our clients are assessing their preparedness for a potential lockdown or widespread self-quarantine. F12 has your back, and we are here to help.

First and foremost, wherever possible, ensure essential members of your teams can work from home:

Cloud Infrastructure Customers

If your infrastructure is in the Public Cloud or F12’s Private Cloud, reserve capacity is readily available to accommodate an influx of remote users.  F12’s support teams will assist our customers with any difficulties in remote access.  We recommend your essential staff review and test their remote access immediately.  Reach out to your F12 Client Relations representative to review your current capacity.

Onsite Infrastructure Customers

Many clients have secure remote access options in place, such as VPN or Remote Desktop Gateway access. Now is the time to ask essential staff to review and confirm home access. If you do not presently have a reliable remote connection method, speak with your F12 Client Relations representative. Old remote access methods such as direct RDP access, are risky. We can help you select the right solution. We can also help you review your internet connectivity to ensure you have sufficient capacity for an increase in remote workers. If you subscribe to F12 Rescue, we can temporarily move you to an F12 Datacentre if your infrastructure is constrained.

Please share this link so that your team can easily connect with your F12’s support team from home: https://f12.net/support

Next, consider adopting technologies that can enable a productive remote workplace. Most of F12’s customers utilize Microsoft Office 365. There has never been a better time to get collaborating on Microsoft Teams.  You can easily hold sales calls, vendor meetings, internal meetings, and more remotely. For many, Microsoft Teams is already part of your Office 365 package. Here are some resources to help to get you started:

How to Download Teams on Any Device

Microsoft Teams Video Training

Finally, your employees, customers, vendors, and investors may want to hear from you about your actions and any disruptions for which they should prepare. F12’s Client Relations Team can help you navigate conversations about your technical readiness.

F12 Readiness

F12 has a robust Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and can leverage several F12 assets to ensure continuity of service delivery:

  1. We ordinarily service our clients from their home province, yet our three provincial remote support teams can move tickets to another region in the event of a local lockdown
  2. F12’s Customer Support Coordinators can triage incoming requests, enabling F12’s technical team to work on issues from home through secure channels
  3. F12 can temporarily reassign project and onsite technicians to assist with remote support requests
  4. F12 can conduct client and vendor meetings remotely through Microsoft Teams

At this time, these measures are not necessary.  But, we stand ready to ensure we have our resources focused on supporting your organization through these challenges.  We expect an increase in requests from customers who have not previously planned for a work-at-home scenario. We appreciate your patience, especially if you require assistance modifying your environment.  In the greater interest of our communities, we will give special priority to our health services clients.

COVID-19 has disrupted the global supply chain.  F12 has stocked up on new F12 Plus assets so that we can respond quickly with asset replacements, additions, and upgrades.  If you purchase your equipment, please be mindful of considerable delays in product delivery. Please plan 6 to 8 weeks in advance for additional equipment orders for new employees. The entire IT industry is scrambling after the same limited stock.

Conclusion

We will send out further updates as the situation at F12.net changes.  In the meantime, our F12 family wishes you and your family well.

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