06 Dec Remote Worker IT Support
If you have a company, you most definitely worry about ways to secure your data from hacks and viruses. But currently with the increase in remote work you may be unaware of how remote work IT solutions could help your company.
In this week’s Exit Your Way Live Jacob Warren stopped by to shed some light on how to support remote worker IT needs. Jacob is the owner of Warren Research Inc. an IT solutions provider. At his company Jacob and his colleagues provide remote worker IT solutions for companies across the US.
At the beginning of the conversation, Warren shared a little about his childhood and his interest in IT. He shared a memory of when his father provided him with a few miscellaneous parts at the age of 10 and he combined them to make a computer. This was the first time Warren was intrigued by IT and technological aspects.
Furthering into the conversation, Warren talked about the ways new IT businesses and solutions are helping out companies as a whole. He said that various collaborating systems like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, blue jeans, etc. help businesses very greatly.
From larger multinational companies to small businesses, these platforms have been of great aid in the smooth running of these businesses. After this, there was a discussion on the use of mobile phones and what is the future there. Warren shared his views that in the future, this device will act as an epicenter for a lot of dealings.
Warren also put his views about working as a remote worker IT solutions provider. For him, this particular job also requires the use of mobile phones. With this, the discussion continued towards Covid-19 and it’s repercussions or benefits in this field.
Emphasizing further, Warren said that during the pandemic most people realized the ease of virtual and online work. Which led to a lot of companies shifting their entire working virtually.
By the end of the conversation, Warren talked a little about the security of a house WIFI network. Furthermore, he said that even if you have a small business that you’re remotely handling from your home WIFI Network, you must secure it with a firewall or other securing software.
In Warren’s words, a Firewall is like a door lock of your house. Even with doors on rooms, you need a lock on your front door for better security. Lastly, Warren shared some details of his website Warren Research Inc.com. He also shared his final insight on being a remote worker IT solutions provider.
Thanks to Jacob Warren for sharing his time and knowledge. Watch the video below for the entire conversation!
Warren Research provides this IT support, remotely across the US.
Jacob has worked in the field of IT most of his life. Jacob has also worked as a sales manager and in digital marketing.
Jacob has a number of technical certifications from major IT technology providers, the US Army, and other organizations.
Jacob has over 20 years experience in IT business support.
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Remote Worker IT Support
The Exit Your Way Business Round Table Live Stream
work, people, devices, teams, security, company, technology, network, jacob, cloud services, firewall, remote workers, running, email, office, business, talk, integrations, secure, advantage
Damon Pistulka, Jacob Warren
Damon Pistulka 00:08
we will go live. We’re going live here today with Oh, sorry. We’re getting this getting the technical thing taken care of here. Thanks, everyone. Welcome once again to the exit your way round table.
Damon Pistulka 00:27
wouldn’t you know it the first one on my profile, and I got kind of hooked up because we were sitting here talking and Facebook deleted me, but good for them.
Damon Pistulka 00:41
I got with me today I’ve got Jacob Warren from Warren Research, really excited long term friend and business associate. Welcome, Jacob.
Jacob Warren 00:51
Thank you. Thank you for having me here. Today, Damon. Oh, man,
Damon Pistulka 00:55
it is so cool to get you on. And I mean, it happened out that that this was this was the first time on my live on my profile, they finally gave me LinkedIn live after I think it was like 12 tries. Not not giving it to me, right? So that sounds pretty funny. Because it was kind of on a whim. And then all of a sudden, I just send it in. And it’s like, hey, yeah, I was like, What the heck?
Yeah. What happened the last 11 times?
Damon Pistulka 01:28
Yeah, it could be the other 30 live streams we did on a company page. That might have been what it was. But anyway, so we got that going. We’re going to talk today about remote worker IT support, which I think has got to be a big deal. Now, with so many people that aren’t in the office anymore, not Not to mention, you know, just you think of hard work like that. But then you think about now, I don’t have all my computers connected in the same location for a lot of people.
And we’re trying to figure out how to transfer data. And then we’re trying to figure out, you know, that there’s always that one person in the company that always has trouble with their stuff? And how do you support them? And so it’ll be interesting to get into some of that stuff. But Jacob, tell me, let’s go back aways unless kind of, you know, what, what really made you want to be in it? Or where did you come to figure that out?
I think where it came from me is I think I was around 10 or 11 years old. And my dad at the time, it gave me some computer components. And I put them together and the system worked afterwards. And oh, yeah. And so that, that got me hooked. Before that I had just been more users started out on that the old Commodore 64 that some of us remember, and even the best round with the old amigos and things like that. It wasn’t until I really put together my own computer out of miscellaneous parts, that it really hooked me from there.
It was around the same time I was looking and picked up an interest in something called amateur radio or ham radio. Yeah, and then went from there. And so ever since then, I loved the idea of that if you put all these electrical components together, and you didn’t shock yourself, it worked. So it was a it was a I was hooked from then on that led into the doing it in the military doing it on my own and doing it for private companies. Just I think I’ve figured out been doing it professionally for a little bit more than 20 years. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 03:53
it seems just like yesterday when you started.
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Especially and to see the see what’s changed from back then till now. I mean, I remember when, you know, putting a processor, the old AMD processors in and accidentally overclocking a little too much in hearing that little pop sound and, and seeing a little bit of smoke come up and went going Oh, man, there went $400 Yeah, and, and stuff.
And so to where we are now where we’re talking about, you know, getting building systems with, you know, 16 cores and beyond, and it’s only going to get greater, I mean, now, now, quantum computing is the thing. So yeah, it’s pretty exciting to see how far technology has come over the years and that’s, that’s something that keeps me interested in as well is there’s always something new always some type of new way of, of breaking it, and also making it work better. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 04:55
yeah. And that’s no doubt I mean, because like when I started out run businesses years ago. I mean, that’s when you still have the days of having your email server in a room and your whole MRP system ran through that damn thing. And if something happened to that it was basically you got, you know, 50 people sitting around wondering what they’re going to do. Because it because you can’t, you know, nothing’s happening. And now, I mean, it’s with the the speeds, the internet and the cloud servers in the cloud services. With email web, it really has changed that so much.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And speaking of that, when you know, when you’d actually have four or five people running just the database portion of a server, not let alone email and everything else, then it would, it was a huge investment for companies. And the great thing about technology, it’s been, it’s become a lot less expensive, which has allowed smaller businesses to take advantage of those tools.
And when that happens, innovation happens. And so yeah, that’s the other piece that’s really exciting is I mean, especially with the businesses that you work with you you’ve seen where, like you just said, where it is that behemoth of a company, just a run something that we have in our in our palm now. And yeah, it was, it’s, it’s pretty awesome.
Damon Pistulka 06:27
Yeah. So when you when you look at the remote work environment that we have now, that’s both in office remote, because a lot of people are going to stay with this hybrid work design, I believe. You’ve talked before about Was it the attack surface? Is that what’s the word you use? There’s nothing like that, that that they have? How is that changing that?
Well, so an attack surface is just what imagine a surface laid out in front of you. And if you think of it as what are what are you as a company? Or what are you as a solopreneur? What type of vulnerabilities do you have in the applications and different things that you’re working with and using day in, day out. And so when we go into, we go from this environment where everybody’s within the same building, everybody’s using the air is able to use the same network resources?
Yeah, which network resources are different than your computer, when you start thinking about it, because, you know, you walk into a room, you turn on a light switch, and you just know that electricity got there. And so it’s basically when you go into an office, you have your you sit down in front of your computer, you know, you have a internet connection, and you you hope it’s as secure as possible.
And so by what this dynamic has done is is put us into an arena where those consolidated resources are no longer there, people working from their homes where you know, they’ll have an off the shelf, low end router with a with no security, or very limited amount of security, or in some cases, some of them lock it down so much that then you’re running into some other troubleshooting issues, and it’s blocking the wrong things. And so the overall attack surface and all this has gotten larger for some companies. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 08:34
Yeah. Because because you do have the risk of an employee now that’s logging into your secure company data over an unsecure connection?
Absolutely. Absolutely. And that introduced something called where there’s greater opportunity for what’s called man in the middle attacks, where you can you ensure, you know, the connection from your staff directly to that location, and if so, how, you know, how are you making sure that connection stays as secure as possible, and there’s things like VPNs, and things like that, that you can take advantage of. But there is also other security issues, because what happens after that, or after a user disconnects from your network and then turns around with that same device and connects to a site off that network. Now, how is the security being maintained on that device? Yeah, yeah,
Damon Pistulka 09:39
it’s a lot a lot of a lot of security stuff to go and and it’s something that a friend of mine Ron Craig talks about a lot and yeah, he he’s that you know, proponent of the two factor authentication which everybody you know, it’s good, it’s good. I know it’s fair we have to do. It’s a bit of a pain but it’s, it’s it’s a good thing to do and a lot of have other stuff I’m sure that you run into.
Now, one of the things that I think is, is really interesting now about when you you need look at, you talk about a small business and you look at the things that are available to them now, what are some of the exciting things that you see that are really changing the way that you can do business? In these smaller businesses compared to what used to be, you know, you had to have 50 or 100 employees, now, I’ve got 10 employees or five employees, and I can really take advantage of things that I couldn’t before. What are some things there that you see, that are pretty interesting for people?
collaboration, honestly, and what that boils down to is things like Microsoft Teams, and the way that people are starting to really utilize it.
Um, the exciting things with this technology is that even though there’s this tech surface out there that you have to maintain the cost to secure those network secure those devices, it is very reasonable to the sense that there’s no reason not to Now, with that being said, what I’m seeing a lot of people do is really take advantage of the cloud services are I have the cloud services that are out there things like office 365, Microsoft Azure, and different cloud services, on solutions that are available, and essentially only is scaling their business to only use what they’re actually using and not over buying or over investing in technology resources. Yeah, yeah. You know, throughout it. So yeah. And
Damon Pistulka 11:42
that’s and you make a good point, because the collaboration is something that I see a lot of people still kind of figuring out, but the ones that have figured it out are like, this is something I should have done a long time ago. Because when you when you add a tool like Microsoft Teams, and I know there’s zoom and other things like that, but but I really look at the collaboration tools.
And I think that if you are on a PC environment, where you’re using Windows based products, and I’m not a tech guy by Amy’s the things that teams does that other than other zoom or slack or, you know, we’ve been just there’s a bunch of them that are out there, don’t do or do differently, I think is is where teams really, yes, it’s a Microsoft product, everybody understands that.
So let’s get past that. But the but the thing about it is the file sharing the security, the built in video calling in normal calling, it really is a powerful product, when you when you’ve got an integrating with your catalog and your SharePoint and everything else behind it. And the way that you can share, I can then create a team for an outside person like you and I have some teams and in the the shared clients we’re working on. And we work in those just like it’s a normal ecosystem, that you would have had to do some funky thing a while ago to be a lot harder to share files, and that messaging and video calling and things like we do now.
Well in YouTube make a great point with that. But here’s one of the one of the I think, which is a huge benefit now, is the fact that you don’t have to have a PC anymore, the wefting integrations and things that happen. I mean, you can have an entire Mac environment, for example, and take full advantage of teams. And those features. And so because it’s it’s more web centric, they’ve made their software products more plot, more cross platform in that sense, you can use share files.
So really, the limitation only comes down to how are you going to use it. Because even when it comes to different CRM that you’re using, there’s usually some type of module that will tie into teams. So you can actually make teams your focus. And so that has a lot of advantages for smaller businesses. And when I say smaller, I’m talking about that 300 employee or under business all the way down to even if you only have a handful of people, it really becomes an advantage because you have one pane of glass you’re looking through.
And you don’t have all these miscellaneous applications. And so those integrations are really key and and the different companies like Microsoft zoom, there’s a one out there called blue jeans. That’s a web program as well. They all give us a they were scaling up their businesses to make sure that that cross platform that that truly if whatever device you’re on you You’re able to do the same activities. And so it’s, it’s, it’s really awesome to see in the market in general, is because when the tool is easier for you the end user to take advantage of, the more you’re going to use it, the more you’re going to accomplish with it.
And even when you look at teams, for example, one of the reasons I said collaboration is think of how often you’d get have the guy in an office that would get up walk over to Tom and the other office, or Sarah, and what other office and the amount of time that’s spent there, where they jump on teams, they send one message, boom, it’s done. Now, it does give some opportunity for some people to hang out there a little too much. But those things, there’s certain things and parameters you can put in place to help limit that as possible. So it’s really exciting to see that these tools are really able to be putting the hand of a small business, regardless of your size.
Damon Pistulka 16:04
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I was watching a video a while ago now it’s it’s long time ago now probably where someone is talking about the slack, the team messaging and how they think that’s gonna really overtake email in time. I don’t know if we’ll get there. But that yeah.
Yeah, it’s, it’s kind of like that, with the same with postal melamine emails so ingrained in everything that I think what will happen, what we may see is some type of team outlook merger of some sort. I see for the foreseeable future. Now. That’s not to say 20 years from now, but yeah, I mean, it. And that’s where, you know, from a technology perspective, it’s not always good to adapt to the latest and greatest technology, if it doesn’t fit your business objectives. Yeah.
And so look at VR, for example. That’s a little bit out there. I mean, there’s some early adopters that went full heart, full heart into it, and it’s not ready yet. And so things like when we say, okay, emails dead forever? Well, you know, not really, it’s still for that external communication internally. You could you could probably say that, yes, there’s companies that internally, no more internal company emails, it’s all in teams. I could see that being true now.
Damon Pistulka 17:32
Yeah. Especially when they when they start to do better file integration and teams and some of that other stuff. I think that’ll that’ll really get it, get it working better. The. So what else is interesting? There’s some wicked mobile stuff that’s coming out that that’s going to make us make us all go ooh, and ours, are we seeing more of the same? And in that environment?
From the mobile, it’s, it’s going to be more of the same with the exception that it’s going to be simpler, if that makes sense.
Damon Pistulka 18:07
Yeah. Because what it is, is there’s that, that there’s the point where most, we we understand that mobile first is a priority. Yeah, um, that kind of merger between desktop productivity compared to mobile, when I see where we’re leaning more and more towards is that your mobile device will be your one device, you’ll come pop it in something, and then you’ll have your desktop environment. So I think we’re going to move more towards that’s going to become your Epicenter rather. And for a lot of people it already has. Yeah. So
Damon Pistulka 18:53
that’s, that would that would be kind of cool, actually, to see that, that moving in that direction. So Ah, good. So what are what are some of the challenges that you’ve had to overcome when you when you went from these people that all of a sudden in office to now you got them all over? I know, you had to have some, some emergency calls that are like, hey, this, what’s going on here? So what are some of the more interesting ones if you had to deal with
it honestly, has boiled down to how do we secure securely access those machines when they’re not in a healthy environment, and then get them up to speed in a healthy environment for our clients. And so that boils down from our end, all the way to the clients. And so one of the great things about technology now, and especially when it comes to video is in providing remote support to people, um is the ability to have that To call and literally have somebody with a cell phone, looking at whatever issue they’re having, taking their cell phone, and actually being able to use their, their footage in real time and walk them through a some type of hardware failure.
There’s been complete network upgrades that have done with where it was done strictly with, you know, an owner operator there at the location, video call. And I’m sitting in front of looking at all their devices, and then making sure to secure their network and get them to do the network upgrade without actually having a technician go there. Yeah. And it’s only going to get more intuitive when it comes from that.
So for example, they the solutions that we use, we’re now able to take and do a live video call, kind of like that your personal assistant type idea where when you do a support call, I can have the video, talk to you straight face to face, so to speak, has given you more that personal experience, and then troubleshoot your issue and then move on to the next one. And so it makes it a lot quicker for it both internal and external, IT shops to be able to resolve issues. That’s been the the challenge and the most exciting stuff. Because when the tools are better, both for the user and the technicians, and it just, it makes everybody’s life a lot easier.
Damon Pistulka 21:46
Yeah, I imagine because now if you can resolve the simpler issues with a video call, or some sort of video interface, the discussion, whatever it needs to be, and then you would save your technicians time to, to go to the real difficult problems.
Well, yeah, and the other aspect of it is accountability. So with the the technology that we use, we can actually have an auditable view for the customer on what happened and what timeline with their devices.
And so what that translates to is, if you are within an organization that has compliance related things that you need to keep up on, you can now say, hey, when did a technician access this, there’s even as an area where we can for certain clients turn it on where each instance in each thing that we do is recorded in a play bankable video that they can then look at and make sure and so it, there’s a lot more accountability because of that attack surface, we want to make sure that our customers are, are not only satisfied, but are assured that hey, well, when we do something, we do it, we’re out, even though we have that access. We’re accountable to each one of our customers. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 23:18
yeah, it’s really cool. It’s really cool. I think that, that this is this is something that we’re going to continue to be learning over the next next couple of years here because and get your feedback on this. But I really think that the whole COVID this year has driven us into this hybrid work workplace, and I think it’s going to be somewhat permanent.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, and just at the conversations that, that we’re definitely starting to, or had been having, and starting to have with the different clients, not only our clients, but clients of other IT organizations and stuff is that their approaches, hey, we’re agreeing to be 100% virtual from here on out and, and it’s there becomes at risk balance that’s there.
So you know, when we talk about attack surface before it security and it products, it’s you can see where there is a similarity of when somebody is talking about COVID and the risk that they’re willing to accept a no with with or without a mask and so forth. It’s really it’s easier to digest now because there’s a will Unfortunately, there is a real world instance of why is it important to limit the risk factors. Yeah, it doesn’t eliminate it. But what it does is keep you safer and keep the effects more manageable. Yeah, yeah.
Damon Pistulka 25:03
So people that are listening now, right? They’re sitting at home, that better than home a while. What I mean, at your home network on your Wi Fi, just put a password on it. Is that the is that what we should be doing? Or should we be doing more than that?
Absolutely be doing more than that. So here’s where it comes down with home devices. So if you have a small business, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have advanced security software on the systems. Here’s one catch, though. If you just implement that, that means you’re preventing a threat after it’s already inside your home.
Okay, so what you need to be looking at is the cost of firewalls, especially if you’re any type of professional are so low nowadays, and you can get the smaller devices that there’s no reason you shouldn’t for the I mean, when people are looking if you have a Netgear Nighthawk for example, um, it’s a, I think, depending on where you buy it, it’s anywhere from three to $400 Plus, for the device. I mean, that’s the same ballpark you are for these smaller firewall devices.
And what that firewall has that’s different is it’s, it specializes in making sure that the traffic or the things that are supposed to get to your network are the only things that get to it. Yeah. And so, it’s really important to think, hey, even when you go to bed at night, you still walk the front door? Um, it’s the same thing, the firewall, is that front door, do you want to door that, you know, everybody in their uncle could lean up against and it would fall over? Or do you want to door that, you know, hey, it’s gonna take brute force of many, many different types in order to do that. Yeah, to break it down. Yeah, yeah, that’s
Damon Pistulka 27:10
a good point. That’s a good point. Because it is getting and I know that you’ve, you’ve helped some of your clients with that, in the past is actually implementing that, that type of firewall app for their remote workers as well.
Yeah, and, and the great thing is if you have a diverse mobile workforce now. So we work with a company called sofas, there’s a lot of other vendors that are out there. But both the endpoints and the firewalls and the rest of the network, they’ll come under a central dashboard, where you, as a business owner, have one set of reports that you’re looking at one set of results that you’re getting from it. And so the manageability of it is a lot lower, which translate to where if you’re not quite big enough to have an internal IT staff, person dedicated to it, it makes it a lot more reasonable to then have a professional vendor manage that for you.
Damon Pistulka 28:13
Yeah, yeah, that’s cool. Because I never thought of it like that. But you’re the guy who’s ever talking or working on your it or managing it can manage all your remote workers firewalls, as well make sure that that’s gone like you want to wanted it to.
Yeah, because and and that gets to where you as the let’s say that you’re a work from home professional now. You can, they can actually split up the network into two different environments, one that’s for your home, that’s however you want it to be with, you know, less security than a lockdown network. When you plug in a device. It’s it only allows, you know, a couple devices on.
Damon Pistulka 28:53
Yeah, that’s really cool, because I never thought of it like that and never considered the fact that how handy that would be for if you have a lot of remote workers to be able to deploy those devices at the security part of it like that. And then basically the device that they used in the office, if they’re using a laptop, they can use it from home and you got relatively relatively solid security there.
Yes. And well in one of the the pain points, so to speak, that a lot of people ran into is that when they would do this, it would be a slower internet experience for the professional. Well, there’s technologies like SD win, and how it’s managed and stuff where it will actually hand off the traffic to the shortest route possible. And so what that means is if you’re using these cloud services, it’s been a route that traffic efficiently to them and then the, the traffic that needs to go back to a central location.
It’s going to successfully do that. All in the back Round where you as the end user are running into a performance impact. And that’s the other thing that’s really exciting through all this is that with how, how the connections where it can how fast the internet it has become for the access? Really, when some when a company wants to commit to be remote, they are able to do that.
Damon Pistulka 30:29
Yeah. Yeah. It’s not like you have to do the the infrastructure upgrades like we used to. And when everything was slow. Yeah.
Yeah. Going over a T one lines. Yeah. Have $1,000 internet connection. Yeah, just to get it. So. Yeah, that’s definitely exciting.
Damon Pistulka 30:47
Yeah, yeah, that’s cool. Well, you know, Jacob, I think it’s been cool to talk to you. So you’re worn research? what’s the what’s your website? We’re in research. inc.com.
Yep. Warren research inc.com. And you can go there and connect with us directly. We specialize. And so we’re a Microsoft partner. So we fully work with their, their office 365 suite. So including their email services, we’re actually a company that is authorized to work with government agencies as well through that, and so makes it really awesome for the that’s the other thing that we we’ve skimmed over is you’re seeing a lot of your minutes, polities and stuff take advantage of these resources as well.
Damon Pistulka 31:40
But I forgot about that, because you support municipalities and police stations and fire departments and other things like that. And that, and because people don’t realize they have the same kind of needs that everyone else does, but they’ve got a lot different security needs as well. So
yeah, and and a lot of times cost is a huge factor. And they’re able to now migrate their systems over to hybrid cloud solutions. But yeah, Warren researching.com. You can connect there. We’re also on Facebook and LinkedIn. And yeah, we’re we’re able to help you with your IT needs and or connect you with a specialty organization that can help you in key areas as well. Awesome, Jacob, wow.
Damon Pistulka 32:25
It’s great to get to talk to you again. And it’s it’s always good to learn from you. Because hell, you keep the you keep the stuff running. I mean, that’s what it does and works better. And, and at the end of the day, we all we all get to get to do what we really want to do. And, and that’s do our business. And you you keep running in the background. So thank you. Yeah, no, thank
you for having me on. I’m looking forward to future events as well. So yeah, thank you tech. Technology is only going to get more interesting. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 32:57
Yeah, that’s for sure. Thanks a lot, Jacob. We’re going to go for now. Thanks, everyone, for watching.