In Coronavirus Update
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A Message From Accellis Technology Group Regarding Coronavirus and our Re-entry Plans

Update 8: Wednesday May 27, 2020, 10:00 a.m.

Initial Plans for Re-entry to the Office & On-site visits

Accellis has initiated a tentative return to the office plan starting in June, which will include on-site work projects.  A general overview:

  • Scheduled preventative maintenance visits for clients will continue to be conducted remotely through July 6th.
  • In June, Accellis engineers will resume on-site work for projects and issues that require a physical presence.
  • Project Managers will be reaching out to clients that require an on-site presence with the next steps.
  • We ask that clients respect social distancing guidelines with regards to an on-site Accellis employee.
  • An on-site engineer will be required to wear a mask per the CDC recommendations.
  • If an on-site engineer is required to perform work at an employee workstation, an Accellis engineer will give that employee ample time to wipe down their workstation and maintain proper social distancing before work begins.
  • When possible, Accellis will schedule an on-site engineer before or after regular business hours.
  • *Important* All support tickets should be submitted to support@accellis.com ASAP and not held for a remote or onsite visit. We want to resolve all issues quickly and without delay.

In the Office: To further protect our team, the following in-office measures will be employed:

  • Beginning in June, Accellis will start gradually rotating staff presence in the office.
  • Persons entering the office will be required to have their temperature taken, and their Blood Oxygen levels checked.
  • When moving around the office, Accellis employees will wear company-provided masks.
  • Accellis employees will not share pens, keyboards, laptops, or other equipment with other employees.
  • Accellis will provide wipes to clean workstations, phones, keyboards, and mouse at the beginning and end of each day.

Our priority is the safety and well-being of our clients and employees. All recommended safety protocols, including the wearing of masks, social distancing, and continual sanitizing throughout the day, will be in practice in the office and necessary on-site visits. We will continue to monitor all health and safety recommendations and adjust accordingly.

We know you may have questions, and we are here to help.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

Phone: 216.662.3200

Update 7: Thursday, March 26, 2020, 11:45 a.m.

New Cyberattacks on Home Routers

With more employees working remotely due to the virus, criminals are taking advantage of vulnerable home internet routers. Home routers are often set up by an inexperienced person, and may inadvertently be configured to allow remote access. Once the attacker compromises the router, they change the DNS information. DNS servers point your computer to an address such as www.microsoft.com.

When the attacker changes the DNS server to theirs, it can send your computer to malicious sites or spoofed sites to obtain login credentials. The report states that the compromises are hitting Linksys routers, although BleepingComputer, which reported the attack two days ago, said the campaign also targets D-Link devices. Our suggestion is to use a hotspot unless you are protected by by using a DNS Filtering agent similar to the service in our CORE Security program.

Read more about cyberattacks on home routers.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions. 

Phone: 216.662.3200

Email: solutions@accellis.com

Update 6: Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 4:50 p.m.

Microsoft Teams Conference Lines

Many of our clients are dealing with limitations to their on-premise phone systems as they max out how many lines/trunks/conference lines are available. As workers scramble to set up shop at home, there is a higher demand on the phone server, office internet bandwidth, and total available phone lines and conference lines. If you are on Office 365 Business Premium, E1, E3, or higher, you can get Teams Conference plans for $4/user/mo to solve part of your problem.

What you need to know:

  • Simple for Accellis to set up and assign; about an hour of our time
  • Users can host conferences up to 250 attendees
  • You or your clients can call in by computer or landline
  • Teams allow you to do regular audio conferencing, video conferencing and desktop screen sharing
  • You can record your meetings for free and turn on automatic captioning/subtitles
  • Your employees get a domestic phone number which is automatically inserted in their meeting invite; send an invite and go
  • Unlimited domestic calling minutes on these plans so no overages
  • You can even dial-out from Teams to join your client in if they aren’t calling in or weren’t initially invited
    • This is for free for 60 minutes, and it’s just $0.013/min after that (but we can block this feature if you want)
  • If attendees join from outside the country, they are billed, not you

Let your Account Manager know if you want us to set this up for you.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions. 

Phone: 216.662.3200

Email: solutions@accellis.com

Update 5: Friday, March 20, 2020, 12:35 p.m.

Friends and Colleagues,
With COVID-19 upon us, we’re all learning how to balance our work and personal lives amidst a level of uncertainty most of us have never known. As we settle into a phase of ‘new normal,’ I want you to know we are here and ready to do all we can to help you and your team through this challenging time. 

Update 4: Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 9:33 a.m.

Accellis Cybesecurity Communication – COVID-19 Phishing scams on the Rise

As the global pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads, the entire team here at Accellis wishes you and those close to you safety and good health.

To maintain delivery of service for you, Accellis and our partner, Agile1, have worked hard to develop an excellent contingency and business continuity plan, which we have executed. Our team is committed to taking care of our fabulous employees and clients.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are using the anxiety and confusion of the Coronavirus pandemic to prey upon others when they are most susceptible. While companies have been preparing their employees for remote work, bad actors crafted malware disguised as a Coronavirus heatmap app that steals user account information on your phone. Hackers are also composing phishing campaigns containing fake news that appear to be from legitimate sources like the World Health Organization or the Wall Street Journal. We are asking that our clients stay alert and not click on links or install any software that is not confirmed to be safe.

Since we have made the Agile1 SOC service available as a trial to our clients, we have the confidence we need to respond to an assumed threat and be better prepared to take swift action.

Leran more about SOC-as-a-Service.  Download our latest SOC-as-a-Service Whitepaper

We remain grateful for your business and trust and will stay dedicated to providing you with extraordinary service.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Tom Fazio
Director of Cybersecurity
tfazio@accellis.com

Update 3: Monday, March 16, 2020, 10:33 a.m.

Remote Access Solution For Our Clients

Accellis is happy to announce that we can provide free remote access to all of our clients so their employees can safely work from home.

The device needs to stay on; it cannot be turned off or put to sleep. At this time, laptop users should also leave their devices in the office and connect the same way. When all clients have been set up, we can then enable laptop users to bring their devices home and set up the proper VPN or RDS access.

Accellis will continue to work on other remote access solutions to serve our clients best. As new solutions become available, we will communicate all the information via email and our website. Below are the next steps to get set up on the current remote access solution.

Setup:

You will be contacted directly by your account manager or an engineer who will get a list of PCs that you want to access to and which user will access them (their email will be associated with their device). We will turn the service on and provide written instructions for using the remote access utility. With the number of clients who put their trust in us, this will take some time.

Cost:

Accellis is absorbing all licenses and compute costs associated with this solution. Since our servers are in Azure, we do not foresee any performance issues since we can expand the size of our servers at will.

Security:

Since the current state of security on users’ home devices cannot be validated, this solution is preferable to a VPN since, when in use, this solution keeps your data between your office’s four walls (never on the end-user’s device).

As we navigate these unprecedented challenges, please know that we are committed to delivering exceptional service, communications, and technology solutions while we determine our best course of action. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions. 

Phone: 216.662.3200

Email: solutions@accellis.com

Update 2: Friday, March 13, 2020, 9:18 a.m.

Supporting You While You Work From Home

As the events around COVID-19 continue to unfold, and many employers are enforcing or recommending a work from home policy, we are anticipating a large volume of tickets at the beginning of next week.   

We want to help everyone navigate this new reality, and we ask that you keep a few things in mind as we work to support you: 

  • We must prioritize support for your company-issued devices first.  
  • We will do our best to troubleshoot personal devices but will be limited in our ability to help. Please understand that there are many variables when working with personal devices, and we will not be able to resolve them all.   
  • For this reason, we will have to limit the amount of time our engineers can dedicate to addressing personal device/home connection issues.  
  • Home Internet speeds, wireless connectivity, and total bandwidth usage can significantly impact your ability to work remotely and access servers. 

Please also note that connecting previously unverified devices to your corporate network can represent increased security risks. If not handled properly, issues such as out of date operating systems, undetected viruses, and resident malware can be introduced to your company network. If we determine that any of these issues exist, we will have to inform users that we cannot continue supporting that device.    

Before contacting us, we recommend that you try the following 

  • Reboot PC 
  • Reboot wireless access points and internet router  
  • Ensure you can get out to the internet from other devices (phone, smart tv, other computers) 
  • Run a virus and malware scan (if your home computer does not have anti-virus software, you can try some of the free online options 
  • Trend Micro’s HouseCall 
  • ESET’s Free Online Scanner 
  • Try connecting via your mobile device and not your home network 

As we navigate these unprecedented challenges, please know that we are committed to delivering exceptional service, communications, and technology solutions while we determine our best course of action. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions. 

Phone: 216.662.3200

Email: solutions@accellis.com

Update 1: Thursday, March 12, 2020, 1:00 p.m.

How We Are Handling Coronavirus

Accellis Technology Group has been monitoring the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 (coronavirus) that continue to develop each day. We are actively taking the necessary steps to ensure we are well prepared to continue supporting our clients while providing for the safety of our team.

CRITICAL SUPPORT FUNCTIONS: Accellis has developed the systems and procedures necessary to support client technology services entirely remotely if required. Should our team be unable to report to the Accellis office, our support services will continue uninterrupted for as long as it is needed. Our remote access systems are fully functional and offer several paths of redundancy, and we have multiple employees trained in key processes should any specific employee become unable to work.

ON-SITE SUPPORT: In our best effort to comply with all health and safety recommendations, we are suspending all non-essential on-site visits effective Friday, March 13th, 2020, until further notice. In place of on-site visits, we have implemented our Remote Visit program. This program works as follows:

  1. Engineers will be scheduled for Remote Visits just as they are for on-site visits. They are assigned to only one client at a time. 
  2. They will review open tickets with the primary business contact and contact end-users as needed to address their issues.  
  3. They will perform all necessary network health checks and updates. 
  4. At the conclusion of their work, they will recap their work with the primary contact and set the next steps for any open items.  

For this effort be successful, we ask that businesses and users submit all open issues to support@accellis.com so that we can have a complete list of issues we’ll need to address. In the email subject line, be sure to list the person affected and problem. For example, ‘Bob Smith / Printer not working.’ In the body of the message, please indicate additional details, screenshots of error messages (if possible), the best way to contact you, and if there is a specific time you will be available.

If an engineer is required to be on-site, we will review each request to ensure the safety of all parties involved. We are dedicated to continuing excellent service without interruption as we navigate through the current health precautions involving Coronavirus.

We are highly confident that we are prepared to support our clients as usual while we work through this challenging situation. All our usual communication channels, including office phone numbers, employee email, and support email, should continue to function normally.

Please contact us if we can help you navigate these challenges, or if you have any questions about this communication.

Phone: 216.662.3200

Email: solutions@accellis.com

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