Ways to Stay Connected with Seniors

After many months of some of us being locked in our homes and working remotely, it’s no surprise that many people are going a tad stir-crazy. But it’s far worse for some seniors: Not only have visits from their kids and grandkids been suspended, but there’s the extra stress that comes with the nagging suspicion that they’ll be advised to remain on lockdown long after younger people begin trickling back to work and the world starts opening up again.

Fortuitously, some of the niftiest technology offers solutions both to keep us connected and protect against some of the miscreants taking advantage of the situation.


Working from Home with Children

Just a few weeks back, hearing—or seeing!—our coworkers’ kids during a meeting would have been remarkable. Today, it’s all part of a day’s work. With schools and daycares closed the world over, and so many of us working remotely, the lines between work and home have blurred indeed. And while it’s delightful to see a child scurry past our screen, this situation is undeniably tough on parents.

To help our employees balance work and childcare, this week we distributed an internal work-from-home as a parent guide. It’s full of tips and shared practices that we have collected from parents at Microsoft, including making a plan as a family, communicating your schedule with your colleagues, and finding fun ways to keep kids engaged throughout the workday. We thought our customers might find it useful too, so we created a version for you to share with your employees as well.


Keeping your Video Conference Private

Between social distancing and COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, companies are turning to video conferencing services to get down to business. While these services help you connect, they also pose new privacy and data security risks. Here are some tips to keep in mind before hosting or joining a video conference online:


  1. Take steps to ensure only invited participants are able to join your meeting. People may call it “zoombombing,” but it’s a consideration across all kinds of platforms: uninvited people showing up on video conferences. What can your company do to reduce the risk? Some services allow hosts to password-protect a meeting. Others limit access by providing unique ID numbers for each meeting or for each participant. These features may not be enabled by default, so look carefully at what settings are available. If you host recurring meetings, most services allow you to create new passwords or ID numbers for each meeting. That method is more secure than reusing old credentials, so establish that as the policy for your employees.


COVID-19 Scams

Not long after the COVID-19 crisis began, there was an significant uptick in unwanted phone calls and emails with all kinds of schemes trying to defraud people. It continues today.  Here is some great information that useful in today's environment as well as at all times. Be safe! 

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) would like to remind users that malicious actors will use the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to deliver malware, to steal money and/or personal information, or to spy on you through your smartphone’s features. We ask that users remain vigilant to COVID-19 related scams.

As the state with the highest rates of COVID-19 infections, New York is seeing a significant spike in coronavirus scams. These scams are coming in the form of malicious websites, text messages, phone calls, and phishing emails that are being used to infect user’s machines with malware or to  defraud the user.