If you’ll recall, in last week’s blog, We’re Heading Toward the Light, we talked about some of the issues Managed Service Providers are having, and ways we are overcoming those issues. As always, it is our mission to lead the way by utilizing technology to overcome the challenges our clients face. By using and offering things like MS Teams, and VoIP telephone technology, we can help businesses stay productive while saving them money.

This week we’ll take a look at some new threats from hackers, how illnesses are affecting the workplace, and how adapting to new technology is what MSPs do best.

As we know, during this pandemic phishing and hacking attempts are on the rise. Hackers never sleep. They’ve started to use these times of unrest as good opportunities to breach security while everyone is distracted. Even if our business includes security, we can even fall prey to some of the tricks. For example, one of our employees recently received a text message from Amazon saying that she could claim a reward and it would be shipped and delivered to her within two days. Since she shares the Amazon account with her husband, she asked him, “Hey, did we get an Amazon reward?” And he said, “No, nothing. No reward. They don’t have a reward system.” Which of course they don’t. She was lucky. Too many people fall for these types of scams every day.

During this pandemic, these attacks are on the rise. We don’t anticipate any slowdowns to this nefarious activity anytime soon.

Hackers prey on times like these. They’re posing as large consumer companies, and they’re preying on people who may not be paying attention to what’s going on. Phishing attempts across the board are on the rise. Maybe a text message won’t be relevant to your company, but they’ll try anything to get a foot in your door and steal some company information. Tell your clients, if some of their employees use shared passwords and a hacker finds a way into their system, they could be wide open for data loss or a ransomware attack.

There is also a new criminal enterprise in cyber-hacking taking place. Some of you may have applied for PPP, the payroll protection loans from the government during all this craziness. Well, these cyber hackers are using that process for Phishing attacks, and they’re stealing information with fictitious emails and using it to gain bank account access. Some businesses have received emails like this: “Your PPP has been approved for X amount of dollars, please submit your information here and it will be transferred within the next 10 business days.” They’re following the government templates and it’s crippling businesses. We have to be very cautious, not only for ourselves from a security standpoint, but we have to educate our employees and clients on these threats and how to prevent them.

Let’s turn a little bit and talk about the current state of the workforce. Before all this started, a small percentage of the workforce worked remotely, and within about 14 days, it went from 30% working remote to about 62% of the workforce going remote. We don’t anticipate that’s going to change anytime soon. There’s no going back. The state of the workforce is now more adaptable. Moving forward, it seems small businesses have three choices on how they can handle their workforce: Force everyone to come back into the office, let employees who work remotely to continue to do so, and lastly, have a hybrid of in-office and remote staff.

From what we can tell, there needs to be some level of adaptability. People need to be able to move in and out of the office and work remotely when they are able to. To get this to work, we have to do away with the perfect attendance mindset. So many people come to work sick because they have to, because they need the paycheck. After all, they need to get their jobs done, and they need to feel like they’re integral to the team. For various reasons, too many people go to work sick.

Businesses need to change the culture and say it’s okay to stay home and maybe it’s okay to stay home and rest if you have to, but we’d prefer you stay home and work if you can. You have to figure out where that fine line is. But the workforce structure needs to change. It’s got to adapt. Sometimes life gets in the way and we can use some flexibility.

Adapting is what all of us need to do right now. And that could open the doors to unforeseen opportunities. For example, we were in the middle of planning our quarterly Academy event in May when the pandemic hit and people didn’t want to travel. Instead of cancelling it, we took on the challenge of streaming our training sessions live, every day, for five days in a row! If you were lucky enough to view some of it, well, you could say that maybe we bit off more than we could chew. But we committed to it, we integrated new technology, and we made it happen. And it was so well received that we’re doing it again in September.

As Managed Service Providers, we cannot be afraid of technology. We need to be brave enough to try new things and learn from them, even if we fail. Especially if we fail. We need to learn new things and show our clients that we are keeping up with the times. Stopping cyberattacks and helping employees work remotely didn’t happen a few years ago. Is there a problem one of your clients is having that you can’t find a solution for? Invent something to fix it! Try thinking differently. Be a leader in our industry. Adapt, grow, and succeed. Because if you don’t, someone else will.