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Old 03-17-2020, 04:25 PM   #1
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Hey all,

I know many of us work in IT and are likely facing interesting times right now with respect to helping our co-workers continue to work. Some of us may have excellent infrastructure setup and others may be struggling to come up with solutions, so I thought we could use this thread to share ideas/brainstorm and post links to useful solutions which may help others.

Two things to start:

This webpage lists many Video Conferencing platforms which are free to use so that you can setup your business if you don't have a solution in place.

https://www.uctoday.com/collaboratio...collaboration/

Secondly, based on a post I saw on LinkedIn, I have setup a networking group with colleagues at different companies and we will be e-meeting once a week to discuss our challenges, share ideas, and just talk. I am sharing this idea with you incase you think it would be something you would find useful to setup in your circle.

Also, I couldn't think of anything creative for the thread title, so its kind of boring
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:37 PM   #2
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I'm the primary infrastructure admin for our company, which includes our Citrix environment that I built. It's never had more than a couple of users logged in at a time as it's still proof-of-concept, the only users who normally log in remotely have laptops with VPN. That changed yesterday when the CEO closed our offices and declared that everyone works from home. These last couple of days have been the busiest I've been at this job
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:41 PM   #3
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I'm not a tech guy. We work remotely using a hodgepodge of VPN, Zoom and Microsoft teams.



I think that one thing that has to be considered is the spike that's happening on collaberation software. I read that Teams in Europe completely collapsed yesterday. Also things like for example Ring Central seem to be getting plugged up.
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:44 PM   #4
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Wow Hemi, I can only imagine. Has Citrix been good with setting you up with temporary licensing? I was able to to get 90 day free AnyConnect licensing for our ASA to increase the amount of VPN licenses we have to cover all staff. Really respect these major technology corporations stepping up to help everyone work from home.
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:58 PM   #5
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Anyone else having trouble with their VPN on a Mac? Specifically the Mojave OSX?
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Old 03-17-2020, 05:02 PM   #6
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I've basically got everyone on our VPN who are working from home. I setup a script a few months ago so the non-techies only have to enter their password once, then that logs them into the VPN, maps their network drive if they want to use it that way, and launches remote desktop to their machine.

So far it has worked well. I think we have plenty of bandwidth and capacity, we probably only have 10-15 who will need it. We just have a Checkpoint Router/Firewall, and I think I have unlimited VPN licenses for it.

We don't do much for remote meetings, just email works fine. The guy I work most with and I use Shaw smartvoice chat. I might get others on that for quick messages.
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Old 03-17-2020, 05:07 PM   #7
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work wont provide me with 2 24" monitors in order to geoscience/mapping work. Also wont re-reimburse for purchasing 2 on my own. went out and picked up an upgraded computer yesterday powerful enough but don't have the extra $ for proper sized monitors

I'll be taking my wife out on a nice couple dinners to get back the amount I'll have to spend on monitors to do company work.

Always could be worse, I'm still employed.
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Old 03-17-2020, 05:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacDaddy77 View Post
work wont provide me with 2 24" monitors in order to geoscience/mapping work. Also wont re-reimburse for purchasing 2 on my own. went out and picked up an upgraded computer yesterday powerful enough but don't have the extra $ for proper sized monitors

I'll be taking my wife out on a nice couple dinners to get back the amount I'll have to spend on monitors to do company work.

Always could be worse, I'm still employed.
Honestly, that's hot garbage by your employer.

My work was more than supportive when I said I needed to take my monitors home.
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Old 03-17-2020, 05:31 PM   #9
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Thought so as well
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Old 03-17-2020, 07:01 PM   #10
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Hah, I spent half the day cleaning and reorganizing my desk so I could work more efficiently with my work laptop.

My company said I could take my monitors home if I wanted, but I have a couple of good ones at home already. Mine aren't but many peoples' are mounted on their desks with stands, the company is letting people pick the stands they happen to have, or give out monitors they happen to have, or if none of that works you can request a monitor purchase, I thought that was all pretty reasonable.

VPN hasn't been as bad as I'd expected once everyone started using it, but I'm definitely going to have to start using screen or a VM I've got setup to avoid having ssh sessions dropped; not in the habit of that.

Also trying to avoid any general surfing or downloads while on VPN, will switch it off for that.

VPN works fine for me on macOS with Cisco client, but I'm on Catalina.

Probably my only wish is to have one of these:

https://www.logitech.com/en-ca/produ...nomic-keyboard


They're cool because they can pair with 3 different devices. I have a Microsoft Surface Ergonomic which is nice but if I want to switch it between my home PC and my work laptop I have to repair it back and forth. With that and an MX Master 3 I could switch between home PC and laptop at will! Cool, but not $160 cool.

The only other thing I might get is a Display Port switch to easily flip back and forth, my monitor only has one HDMI and one DP input (both in use), but that's only if it's inexpensive.
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:20 PM   #11
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Bought a 27" monitor for my wife at Memory Express and the requisite connectors for a Surface Pro.

Her office then declared open season on anything they needed to work from home. Basically packed up her desk, loaded it in the car and set it up at home. All IT wanted was pictures of the asset tags.

Took the monitor back to Memory Express today.

My company wouldn't let anyone take anything. I offered the anecdote above and we will be scheduled to take whatever we want over the next couple days.

Do you want business continuity or do you want to protect the bottom line?
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:55 PM   #12
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Do people actually use Anydesk? I love the simplicity of it, but find the connection quality isn't that great.

Either way I think that companies should have plans in place to be able to quickly switch to working from home, and once or twice a year should take 2 weeks and make everyone work from home.
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:37 PM   #13
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I work in sales for Zoom - never been busier than I have been this past week.

I'm just thankful that it is such a solid platform, as our main service (video meetings) has yet to have an outage even with the insane increase in usage/traffic globally.
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Old 03-17-2020, 11:25 PM   #14
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My company is all out of extra monitors, loaner laptops and desktops.

However, just today they authorized $100 per person for any hardware they may require to be more effective for working from home.

The amount is also able to be shared within a group, so if you're a manager with 5 people in your group and 4 people don't need anything but 1 person does, you can give $500 to that one person.

Working from home today and the thing I missed the most was the second monitor and a mouse.
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Old 03-17-2020, 11:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic_Sniper View Post
Anyone else having trouble with their VPN on a Mac? Specifically the Mojave OSX?
Possibly a Gatekeeper issue.

System Preferences-Security & Privacy-Privacy-Full Disk Access-unlock with admin password and select your VPN. Most installs will of course ask you if you want to allow, but sometimes gets missed. There might still be a prompt waiting in your security & privacy to allow the vpn.

This is all assuming you have even been able to actually install the VPN? If Mojave isn't allowing you to install an unidentified developer app, you might need to enter a simple command in terminal to add the "anywhere" option in systems preferences-security & Privacy-Allow Apps downloaded from:

The terminal sudo command to make the anywhere option appear is:

sudo spctl --master-disable

To undo, just change disable to enable

Making a lot of assumptions here, but deal with gatekeeper issues often enough in the newer MacOS versions that this is a decent guess. Usually deal with on the MDM level, but end user can still change settings.

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Old 03-18-2020, 12:08 AM   #16
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I am a Systems Admin in education, would rather not say the institute/division

Would be great to have a perfect flip the switch disaster recovery scenario in place in advance, but budget and resources make it tricky. Could be a lucrative area coming out of this.

Anyway, most of our planning and past discussions focused too much on recovery of main office and admin capabilities, apparently not focusing enough on how education would be delivered remotely long term. The assumption is always that you would be dealing with a finite term on prem disaster and could be back in a facility or building of some sort reasonably quickly.

All that said, a good amount of work for our students already takes place with Google and our own web based learning management system, so we are mostly good to go, with the exception of a device loan program for those that need one- which we now get to fast track.

Office and admin staff that need VPN already good to go.

My cousin is disaster recovery/business continuity director for a stock exchange in Europe. Haven't had the chance to message her and ask how things are going. Once again though, I think the assumption is typically that a disruption will occur to a specific site, requiring just a movement of staff and services to a different location. Curious how well these large corps are set up for at home work. I would assume banks and stock exchanges have every conceivable scenario covered.
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Old 03-18-2020, 05:46 PM   #17
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I was sent home to work with an old LG phone. Is it possible to make the screen stay on during calls? I can't seem to find a setting for it.
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woob View Post
Wow Hemi, I can only imagine. Has Citrix been good with setting you up with temporary licensing? I was able to to get 90 day free AnyConnect licensing for our ASA to increase the amount of VPN licenses we have to cover all staff. Really respect these major technology corporations stepping up to help everyone work from home.

We already had the licensing setup, we use Netscalers extensively in our offices and our agreement includes the virtual apps and desktop suite. Only thing we were missing was RDS licenses but those are cheap and Longview had them ready for us next day. Overall things are working quite well, the one nagging issue I'm fighting is with the start menu not working on Server 2016 machines. Apparently it's some kind of Cortana bug within 2016, but I can't find a fix that works
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:44 PM   #19
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Old 03-20-2020, 11:01 AM   #20
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Have been doing work in the Microsoft space for a long time now, but just want to say what a pleasure Teams has been to get the newbies on-board to working from home. A good mix of useful tech, combined with good communication and training materials has meant that our production has not only kept pace but actually improved, as we're having quality conversations only when we need to and using the tech to do it.

Teams has also been the most stable web conferencing tool since the COVID crisis forced everyone home. It also means people are actually caring about their digital workplace more and not making it a junkyard or cemetery of ROT (at least in my org).

Have to think Microsoft comes out of this whole thing looking like heroes. Their subscription numbers are going to skyrocket if they haven't started already.
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