Systems Administrators (actually, the entire technical staff in general) are being put the test during rough times like these we are experiencing in 2020 with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) issues. Companies are trying to lessen the curve of infected employees and in doing so one of their priorities is to try and set people up to work from home.
This means the technical staff is asked to provide guidance in helping the staff gather up the items needed to be able to work from home and provide support to help them get connected.
As a lot of you know, I work for a small, non-profit hospital in northern Illinois as a Systems Administrator. We have an awesome team in our entire Information Systems department who worked together very quickly to achieve tasks we have never been asked to do in the past.
Currently all of our Information Systems staff is working from home except for a few to provide needed on-site support.
As of writing this article, I have been working from home for almost 5 days. I have to say, I miss working at the office with everyone. While I feel I am very productive here at home since there are very little work distractions, I also feel I am not as productive because there is a slight change in the mindset. I’m not entirely sure what I mean by that, but I typed it up anyways because that is what came to mind.
Work From Home Challenges
- Connectivity From Home to the Office
- Physical Computer
Connectivity From Home to the Office
We have multiple methods deployed that users can remotely connect to office resources. That can be a good and bad thing. The good is self-explanatory, but the bad is that there are multiple platforms we need to support. Also this opens up more security concerns.
For this emergency request, we opted to have people try to use whatever method they were used to using. Since most of the people being asked to work from home were already setup to work from home, this wasn’t too big of a deal.
For those that required some assistance and brought their laptop home, we made sure to set those users up to connect via SSLVPN, are able to connect, map a couple network drives, and good to go.
A lot of firewall companies have allowed their customers to use unlimited SSLVPN connections for their staff during this troubled time in the world. This is one huge worry off our plates as SysAdmins as we don’t have to worry about procuring more licensing to handle the influx of remote users.
Most of the Information Systems staff use laptops as their main computer. Most of us had brought our laptops home. A couple are using their home computer to remote to their laptop that is still at the office.
As for other staff at the hospital, if they had a laptop as their main computer, they just took that home as long as we setup the SSLVPN client for them.
Some of us brought monitors home so we can still use dual screens. For me, I just use my laptop screen (I know I know, it’s one screen, but I have to admit I like working off one screen these days).
Things like keyboards, mice, and powerstrips were also included in the items we made sure our staff had available to take home.
Oh don’t forget office chairs. Couple users didn’t have office chairs at home, so they were able to bring their chairs home with them as well.