With the emergence of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), companies are encouraging employees to work remotely and cancel non-essential travel – many of you have shared your companies are among those who are taking these steps. Many organizations are still in the process of determining the best course of action for the business, their partners, and their employees.
Employees who have never worked remote are now being authorized with VPN or other remote access. Groups who previously met in conference rooms now must dial into conference bridges. Discussions that would have occurred in a hallway are being missed entirely. With an uptick in the size of the remote workforce and number of changes to the way we interact with our coworkers, new changes understandably are causing strain—both on your organization’s infrastructure and on your daily job.
Like many of you, this strain isn’t a new situation for me. IT pros have always needed to embrace the unexpected, learn new techniques and tools, and reprioritize needs on the fly. In a way, it feels like a weather emergency, but with a larger scope and scale. If we’re honest with ourselves, the technology needs are just another day in the life within IT operations management.
So, how can the THWACK community help? For me, it’s easy. THWACK has always been about sharing our skills, expertise, and knowledge. Here are some resources available to IT professionals and how to get started:
Technology companies are rallying to make sure employees who’ve been asked to work remote can do so with minimal problems. Here’s a short list of resources to help enable your new remote staff.
- Microsoft is offering six-month trial to premier Teams (Manage the Office 365 E1 Trial)
- Microsoft has removed a number of restrictions to the free version of Teams (https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/free)
- Cisco is offering WebEx (Cisco WebEx Available Free in These Countries)
- Zoom is removing the 40-minute cap on their free conference offering in affected regions (Zoom’s Commitment to User Support & Business Continuity During the Coronavirus Outbreak)
- Google is providing enterprise features to non-enterprise customers (Helping businesses and schools stay connected in response to Coronavirus)
- PluralSight (online training resources) has offered their entire catalog free for the month of April. More details on their site.
- Udemy is offering free coding classes for kids.
- The in-person SolarWinds User Groups (SWUG) for Berlin, Munich, and London have been cancelled. We're currently working on converting those to an all-digital, virtual event (vSWUG) on similar dates. Updates (when available) will be found on the SolarWInds User Group Page.
- Cisco Live! US has been converted to a digital event on June 2-3, 2020. You can get more details from their website and add a calendar reminder.
- Google I/O which was previous converting from a physical event to a digital one is now cancelled.
- Microsoft Ignite which was set for later this year is being scheduled for September as a virtual event.
SolarWinds Informational Resources
For existing customers of SolarWinds solutions we have released step-by-step instructions, how-to articles, and best practices to help you monitor your remote users.
- SolarWinds Statement on COVID-19
- The SolarWinds Guide to Work From Home (First in a 12-part series)
- Monitoring WebEx Traffic with Network Traffic Analyzer
- Monitoring Microsoft Teams/Skype Traffic with Network Traffic Analyzer
- Monitoring Zoom Traffic with NetFlow Traffic Analyzer
- SEM Features to Use When Remote Working Increases
- How ARM Support Businesses in Work From Home Scenarios
- Preparing Your SolarWinds Service Desk for Remote Employees
- How do you prepare to support a remote workforce?
- What makes a good Crisis Dashboard? [Discussion thread]
- Importance of Dashboards for Remote Workers
- The Importance of Baselining During Times of Crisis
- Where’d the Website Go?
- Leveraging Network Monitoring to Quickly and Effectively Respond to Disasters
THWACK Community Resources
We are now offering 5,000 THWACK points for articles describing how you are helping your organization during this difficult time. We've had several people already post in discussion threads for various products about how they are helping. If you have a story to tell, please go to the forum in question (NPM, SAM, SEM, AppOptics, etc.) and click "Start a Discussion" and share your story. Use Importance of Dashboards for Remote Workers and The Importance of Baselining During Times of Crisis as good examples.
If you want to help in futhering medical research around COVID-19 and other diseases, then consider joining the SolarWinds Folding@Home group and share your extra CPU cycles in looking for cures.
What good are THWACK points without the store in which to spend them, right? Well, I'm pleased to announce that the THWACK store has officially been reopened. Thank you all for bearing with us as we've been tidying up THWACK since the migration.
Getting Help/Being Helpful
- Kaplan is offering classes for personal and professional growth.
- Udacity is offering help to US citizens who are out of work due to the virus.
Helping your Family
- If you are struggling with teenage kids at home, YourTeen magazine is offering a free digital issue specific to quarantine.
- Umbrella is a service-first helping adults 60+ get the essentials they need. If you have time, consider volunteering some of that time. This is a great way to avoid cabin fever while providing a valuable service.
- 16MAR2020 07:00 CST - Initial Posting
- 16MAR2020 11:30 CST - Updated with SolarWinds Informational Resources
- 16MAR2020 14:00 CST - Included process for Bookmark and Subscribe.
- 16MAR2020 15:05 CST - New section "Technology Events" added.
- 17MAR2020 10:20 CST - Added "Crisis Dashboard" discussion.
- 17MAR2020 16:00 CST - Added Importance of Dashboards link.
- 18MAR2020 16:15 CST - Added Baseline Blog link
- 19MAR2020 12:00 CST - Added links for Zoom in NTA and SolarWinds statement
- 20MAR2020 16:00 CST - Added updated MS Teams info and "Community Resources" section
- 24MAR2020 12:00 CST - Added website topic.
- 25MAR2020 14:30 CST - Added Service Desk for Remote Employees
- 25MAR2020 21:00 CST - Added Folding@Home link
- 26MAR2020 15:30 CST - Added WFH guide and NMS to respond links
- 01APR2020 00:00 CST - No posts for April Fools
- 02APR2020 09:30 CST - Added PluralSight training link
- 02APR2020 17:00 CST - Added MS Ignite notice
- 27APR2020 08:00 CST - Added Helping yourself and others links
- 28APR2020 13:00 CST - Added ARM/Remote Work link
I’ll update this post as new opportunities appear, but I know I won’t find everything on my own, so I’m asking you all for your help. If you run into something you think should be included on this list, please let me know by responding to this post.
If you want to be kept up-to-date on changes, comments, and posts, then you should subscribe and bookmark this post from the Actions menu at the top of the post.