Computer Service in the Age of COVID-19

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Computer Service in the Age of COVID-19

This is a message from Jack Eisenberg, owner of Safe and Secure Computing.

I want to begin by expressing my sincere hope that you, your family, your friends and co-workers are safe and that you have not been affected by this world-wide pandemic. Fortunately, as the world adjusts to this new reality, there are ways that we can protect ourselves and I’d like to describe the steps I will be taking to ensure that neither you nor I am placed in danger while performing my computer servicing duties.

From now on, until we get this pandemic under control, I will be performing my services a bit differently than in the past.

Prescreening Questions
I perform service for a large number of clients, in both a residential and commercial environment. My clients range in age from young adults to those well into their 90’s. I want to be very responsible in my interactions and not become a carrier of this virus. As such, I will be taking extreme precautions to avoid any reasonable possibility of becoming infected, or infecting others.

Can the issue be handled without an in-person visit
When you call for service, I will try to determine if your problem can be solved over the phone, with or without the aid of a remote control session. By minimizing the number of people I directly come into contact with, I can minimize my risk of becoming infected or passing on the virus to others.

Is it safe to visit your location
Assuming your issue cannot be dealt with over the phone or by using a remote connection to your computer, a decision will be made as to whether your location is safe to visit. The questions I will ask to determine the answer are similar to those being asked at medical clinics, retirement homes, and other venues where there are others who might become infected.

Have you developed a cough, flu symptoms or fever within the past two weeks?
Within the past two weeks, have you come into contact with anyone who has a cough, flu symptoms or fever? This includes family, friends, co-workers, etc.
Have you travelled outside Windsor within the past two weeks? If so, where did you go and what was the purpose of the trip?
Have you attended any venue within the past two weeks where there have been more than 50 people present (movies, sporting events, parties, social gatherings, etc.)?
If you can honestly answer “no” to all these questions, I will feel safe visiting your location.

Social Distancing
This pandemic has given rise to a new term: Social Distancing. This refers to steps that can be taken to increase the physical space between people as they interact with one another. Socially accepted greetings such as hand-shakes, hugs, air-kisses (a cultural greeting practiced by many) are no longer considered safe. While all of us may practice these forms of greeting, I’m trying to train myself to forego these rituals in the pursuit of safety and good health.

Beyond the initial greeting, social distancing will force me to change some of the ways I interact with clients. I have always encouraged clients to be involved with my work. You are still invited to watch me work, ask questions while I’m working, and try to “pick my brain” to help you learn how to better utilize your computer and its programs. However, you will need to keep your distance while doing this. I will attempt to enforce a six-foot no-contact zone so that, as we speak to one another, we won’t be close enough to be affected by coughs, sneezes or unintentional “spitting” common when mouthing words that start with the letter “p”.

I deal with all sorts of clients, from young people to the very old, from secretaries to CEO’s. I don’t want to feel responsible for making anyone sick, or for causing interruptions in businesses just because I couldn’t maintain a healthy distance between people to avoid contracting or spreading this virus.

There’s more than just the danger of personal infection
I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to warn you about the dangers to your computers and personal data resulting from this pandemic. Any time there is a “big story”, there are unscrupulous people who will use that as a pretext to do you harm. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been evidence of criminals creating websites that purport to offer news, when all they do is deliver viruses or ransomware to those who visit their sites looking for information.

During this crisis, it’s probably safer to get your news from the TV or radio. However, if you intend to use the internet to learn about the pandemic, be very careful of the sites you visit. Rather than doing a Google Search for information, try visiting trusted websites (such as your local newspaper, or reputable national news networks such as CBC, CTV, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, etc.). Go to their websites, and only after you get there, should you search for stories on their sites. Criminals have been known to invest massive amounts of money to get their “fake” sites listed at the top of search engine results. They know that whatever they spent to get their stories to the top of the list, will be more than paid back by the profits they reap by taking control of your computers.

Keep Safe and Healthy
I wish you all the very best. As we head into the spring, perhaps the warmer weather will bring us some relief from this virus. Hopefully, with the world working to find a vaccine, we will be better prepared should this virus become an annual phenomenon (like the flu). It’s too early to say, but I’m hoping for a happy ending to this mess.

Jack Eisenberg, Owner
Safe and Secure Computing

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Jack is the owner of Safe and Secure Computing and JEM Software, with 40-plus years of programming, system design and consulting experience in the computer field. His businesses provide computer security, website design and hosting services to clients in the Windsor-Detroit area.