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  • The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on a fair share of negativity in the business world, yet many technology companies are taking part in a global effort to support our economy during this period of disruption. Below are several examples of major technology partners providing free offers or lower cost solutions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

    Microsoft: 6-month Office 365 E1 Trial

    Microsoft created this trial as a direct response to COVID-19. Office 365, and more specifically Microsoft Teams, is a great solution for helping remote employees stay productive, connected, and collaborative. This trial can easily be upgraded to a paid subscription after the 6 month trial period.

    Cisco: Free 90-day trial for a WebEx Enterprise Account (temporarily paused)

    Understanding the demand for collaboration and communication during this time, Cisco has released free WebEx enterprise account offer. WebEx is an enterprise grade video collaboration platform from Cisco, one of the most trusted names in networking and collaboration. This doc from Cisco provides more details on the offer

    Note: Cisco has temporarily paused enrollment into this free trial due to the overload of requests they have received. We will update this blog to reflect when they are opening up registrations, so keep an eye out!

    Citrix: Citrix Synergy 2020 now a free, multi-day Online Event

    Citrix has changed its annual conference to a free digital event, which will give businesses a chance to learn about Citrix’s latest updates and innovations from the safety of their own homes.

    UPDATE: The Citrix Synergy conference has been postponed to a virtual event in the fall. We will update this space with dates once they are announced.

    Leveraging these offers from industry leaders will continue to keep your organization running smoothly during this disruption. We will continue to update this blog with new offers as they are rolled out, so keep your eye on this space!

    If you are interested in any of these promotions, please let us know!

    Technology, Workplace of the Future

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    With the transition to remote work in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations and schools are transitioning to using Zoom for online collaboration and learning. This has seen the online conferencing service get hit with multiple cyberattacks, and there are now over 500,000 leaked Zoom accounts available for sale on the dark web.

    We have received some questions from our clients on these security concerns, and whether Zoom is safe to use. This blog is in response to those concerns and some of the measures that users can take to stay safe, should they choose to use it.

    Why Zoom?

    Zoom’s focus has been usability and reliability – easy to use and works great on any device with a range of bandwidth. Zoom has had to handle a 20x increase in use over a matter of weeks and have largely been successful in managing the increased usage.

    However, as use in organizations has skyrocketed, vulnerabilities and concerns have been identified. With the popularity of Zoom, it has also presented a huge attack opportunity for cybercriminals.

    Initial areas of concern

    1. Zoom-bombing:
      Zoom-bombing is when an intruder infiltrates and disrupts a video conference call. Not only could intruders share inappropriate content, they could also simply just quietly listen into or watch what’s happening in the meeting and steal specific data to enhance social engineering and e-impersonation campaigns. Various changes have been made by Zoom to address Zoom-bombing including defaulting to users being put in the waiting room where a host must allow them access. Advice has also been issued on ensuring that a password is used for all meetings and that the meeting URL is only provided to invited users.
    2. General:
      Vulnerabilities have been identified, but recently, Zoom has been fairly quick to fix them. If installed, Zoom should be set to auto update, so all new fixes are applied as soon as available. Meeting links are generalized and reused so once someone has the link, they can always access in future.
    3. Encryption:
      Currently, Zoom is using their own encryption, which is generally not recommended due to the highly complicated nature of encryption. Zoom does not use end-to-end encryption, so there is a potential that their current communication stream could be compromised. Zoom indicates that they are working on improvements.
    4. Privacy:
      Ensure that the Zoom privacy policy is reviewed, understood, and determined acceptable for your organization. For free accounts, personal information will certainly be monetized. For paid accounts, organizations should understand what information is collected and how it is secured.

    In Conclusion

    If you choose to use Zoom, it is important to keep in mind the security of your data and users. Practice cybersecurity discipline and use the following tips to stay safe:

    • Use with caution and an understanding of the risks
    • Should not be used for secret or confidential meetings or conversations
    • If used;
      • Ensure users are aware of, and using, proper security settings and are staying up-to-date on ongoing changes
      • Set the application to auto-update so it is always up-to-date with latest fixes
      • Ensure meeting recordings are also protected
    • Hosts should monitor participants of their meetings and not allow unknown users into meetings
    • For tighter control and deeper integration with other organization communication tools, consider a more mature conferencing solution

    Security, Workplace of the Future

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