16 March 2020
HCST has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and working to determine our best response and plans. We are committed to our clients and maintaining our services which are critical to their daily business operations. Following, we outline several areas of business, and how our services may be impacted in those areas.
HCST Managed Services
HCST monitoring systems and remote support services are not hugely impacted by this situation. Even in the case where HCST technicians need to work remotely from home, they have access to all the resources they need to provide our services, including access to internal phone systems and other communication systems.
For those clients with Managed Service Contracts, we current anticipate continuing on-site support as needed, but with the caveat that we mutually (client and HCST personnel) need to be cognizant of our physical interactions. This does include minimizing our working in close proximity with each other, and especially being careful about use of shared hardware such as keyboards and mice.
We are working with clients who are implementing all or part of their disaster recovery or business continuity plans, to better ensure they can continue operations even with this ongoing situation. If you are considering implementing a policy in which a significant number of your staff will be working remotely, please feel free to contact us so we can work together to ensure the appropriate resources and technology are available for your organization.
For the large number of other clients, again, our remote services will remain mostly unchanged and unaffected by this pandemic. Onsite service will be provided, but only after all remote support efforts have been exhausted. As even with contracted clients, we need to all work together to minimize potential exposure by limited physical interactions, and ensuring shared hardware such as keyboards and mice are cleaned as much as possible.
PBX Services (VoIP Phone Systems)
Most PBX services provided by HCST are done remotely already. We will continue to work with clients as needed not only for continued operation, but also assisting in the use of our technologies for remote phone services and other needed contingency plans. We are working with several clients in adding or expanding access to phones for remote workers.
Cyber Security is no less an issue during this time. All clients are urged to be aware of continuing phishing efforts by cyber threat actors. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) recently issued a document outlining the possibility that cyber threat actors may exploit the Coronavirus scare. “In the past, cyber actors have been observed using public health threats and other high-profile events to reach out and trick victims into providing personally identifiable information or downloading malware onto their machine. Cyber threat actors may also capitalize on outbreaks by sending phishing emails with links to malicious websites advertising information that appears relevant to the outbreak. The websites may contain malware or links to fraudulent websites that request login credentials“
HCST strongly encourages all clients and their users to be extra vigilant with received emails. Those that seem even remotely suspicious should be examine carefully, or forwarded to HCST support for further examination.
HCST will continue to monitor this ongoing situation, government guidance, and do our best to continue providing the services our clients depend on to be successful in their businesses. Likewise, we will continue to be concerned about the welfare of our personnel, whom we need to keep safe and healthy.
Barry D. Hassler