The order to stay-at-home continues in the Bay Area. So has frustration for many of us who work from home. Maybe we can’t stop your dog from barking during a Zoom meeting but we can offer solutions to work-from-home problems and concerns. While we’re at it, let’s discuss how COVID-19 has changed our online lives. Many of the recommendations are available products from ClickAway or services we provide. If not, we certainly can advise on where to obtain them.
Digital Fraud Has Increased – How To Protect Yourself
With millions of us home and online, business is booming for the digital bad guys. According to the FBI, business email compromises are on the rise. Likewise, a study by Transunion found 22% of Americans have been targeted by digital fraud relating to the pandemic as they work from home.
We have to do our own blocking now so here are some suggestions to protect you and help stop online computer problems or worse from happening. ClickAway can help set up most of these for you if needed. We are open during the COVID-19 shutdown and have no-touch service protocols.
- Perform frequent security updates
- Change default Wi-Fi passwords
- Consider segmenting home networks
- Enable Two-factor authentication
- Consider adding a VPN on phones
- Watch out for account takeovers
Internet Disruption – What Can You Do?
The New York Times says 3 million children in the U.S. do not have internet at home. Microsoft’s estimates are even more alarming. It estimates 162 million Americans lack broadband internet in their residences. The rest of us that have it are worried about it breaking.
A Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults say 93% believe a major interruption of their internet service during COVID-19 would be a problem in their daily life. Preventing a server or power outage is most likely out of your control. However, there are steps you can take to minimize damage.
- Battery back up using a UPS is the best way to maintain your internet connection during a power outage. Most offer up to 5 hours of network runtime when the power goes out.
- Consider additional UPS to support the devices you use the most – TV, game console, desktop computer. Just remember you need to manage your UPS life cycle at 3 to 5 years.
Slow Internet At Home – Can You Fix It?
Are you stuck with one of those residential broadband networks that can’t keep up with the added load? Lisa Pierce with Gartner Research says, “people will hit congestion, just like a highway, where the speed goes from 60 miles per hour to 20.” She says neighborhoods served by lower bandwidth cable and copper-wire connections will be affected first. Whole families sharing a single Wi-Fi signal, all logging in at once, should also expect delays she says. Here are some tips that might help you avoid blurry video calls or slow downloads.
- Use an Ethernet cable to connect directly to your router, rather than just wirelessly.
- Turn off devices that aren’t in use until your online work is done.
- Consider time-shifting your online activity.
- Mesh Network – Poor internet in parts of your home? Consider having ClickAway install a mesh network to eliminate those Wi-Fi dead zones.
- Wi-Fi Range Extender may help boost the signal into your home.
Slow Computer & Other Reasons I Miss My Work Computer
Last month we gave you ideas for creating a good home office environment. Some of us were not lucky enough to be sent home during COVID-19 with our work laptop all set up. Some of us are limping along with a subpar device and little funds to purchase a new device. So, what can you do?
- Consider a wireless keyboard to offset a lessor laptop typing experience.
- A USB-C hub will give you more connectivity options if you have one or limited ports.
- Expand screen space with more monitors and a docking station.
- Upgrade to a solid state drive for faster access to data.
- Add a web-cam if your laptop camera is insufficient for video calls.
Maybe your personal laptop was never meant to handle a full work load. If that’s the case, be sure to review our previous blog about not destroying your laptop. For example, oerheating issues are common in homes where laptops are often on pillows and other airflow-blocking surfaces. Likewise, running the battery down to 0 every time will shorten the battery lifespan.