The channel has come out in force to support customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The past few weeks have seen IT vendors rush to roll out a series of COVID-related measures to support partners. Just as importantly, however, is what channel companies themselves are doing for customer support during COVID-19. Channel Futures spoke to some key channel players about customer support during COVID-19.
“The channel’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been almost overwhelming in its generosity,” said Alex Louth, managing director of Logicalis UK.
“Our part was to help our customers make sense of those offers and get them implemented quickly and without disruption, so that they can focus on steering their business through this crisis,” said Louth.
Logicalis has implemented its Rapid Support Services to help maintain security and infrastructure readiness and to provide supplemental IT support for remote workers. Logicalis engineers can deliver all services remotely.
“While we are still engaged in long-term transformational projects, these Rapid Support Services are key to enable everyone to focus on the business at hand,” said Louth.
Elsewhere, Insight UK has been sharing its own experiences of remote working with customers. It is equipping them with devices such as notebooks, tablets, displays, headsets and wireless access points, and accompanying services. It is also helping them to use collaboration solutions and establishing secure remote working practices.
At the same time, the firm has been helping customers “keep a firm handle” on costs around remote working. That’s according to Matt Elrick, practice lead architect, workplace and collaboration.
“We offer rapid remote management tools for cloud services, providing data-driven analysis and guidance on how to reduce costs. We have been smoothing the path to remote working, so employees continue to see IT as a help rather than a hindrance over the longer term, regardless of wherever they are working, from home or in an office.”
With employees forced to work from home, there has been a corresponding sharp increase in cyberattacks. Some estimates note an 80% spike in phishing and malware attacks alone in March.
As a result, cybersecurity MSP Effective Cyber Security (ECS) designed a free external scanning service for customers. It includes a dashboard that enables customers to translate technical data into everyday language. It highlights vulnerabilities, ranks them in order of criticality and recommends remedies. All the work is done remotely, with additional telephone support if required.
“Everyone is having challenges at the moment, whether you’re on the front line doing amazing work saving lives or working frantically behind the scenes to keep your organisation secure and ticking over,” said ECS co-founder and CTO Simon Gray. “We wanted to help those often invisible IT staff, who do such an important job in keeping a company’s crown jewels safe yet are only really noticed when something goes wrong or doesn’t work.”
Cybersecurity is also top of the agenda at channel firm EACS. It is providing customers with free access to webinars with cybersecurity and privacy vendors, as well as cloud data protection. It also is offering free and discounted software application subscriptions from the likes of Sophos and Bitdefender.
In addition, it has established a system where it can sell refurbished hardware to customers, then offer to buy it back later in the year.
“This means that our customers are able to have the hardware they need to continue operating like business as usual at this difficult time, while giving them peace of mind that any investment now doesn’t need to be long term,” said Steve Dickinson, head of supply chain at EACS.
Richard Wyn Griffith, director of solutions, services and marketing at Softcat, explained that communication has played a key part in the company’s customer engagement strategy.
“We keep customers fully informed on orders, stock and deliveries, as well as additional advice and expertise through emails, blogs and personal one-to-one conversations. The aim is to …
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