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Virtual office an option in lockdown, says Samoan firm

A local IT company says it can set up virtual offices at home, to enable workers to securely connect to business applications and tools, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

Connect IT Samoa Managing Director, Dane Curry, said this in response to questions from Samoa Observer on the firm’s ability to continue to provide IT support services during the global pandemic and Samoa's state of emergency (S.O.E.). 

“Our company has been affected by the pandemic one way or another but no way near as bad as others have," he said.

"As an example, we provide IT support services on a contractual basis to most of the resorts and provide support services for restaurants and bars and this sector is suffering at the moment.

“However, we are here to give confidence and to keep our clients informed that we are committed to making sure that COVID-19 does not affect our level of services and that we are available to provide IT support services when needed.”

The firm’s core business involves providing IT support services and solutions, supporting a large number of local businesses as well as Government ministries and state-owned enterprises.

During the past few weeks, Mr. Curry said Connect IT Samoa have been able to provide solutions to clients, allowing them to continue their business operations without having to leave their homes.

He said some of their clients are businesses in Samoa but are actually working remote from their homes in Australia and New Zealand while others work from home here in Samoa.

“Essentially, no matter where you are and so long as the local ISPs are able to provide you with a stable internet connection, then we are able to provide solutions for your staff to setup a virtual office at home and connect securely to business apps and tools, that would normally only be available while connecting from within the office network.”

In terms of their employees, he indicated that nothing has changed and no staff were temporarily laid off during the S.O.E. he believes that they have not come to that stage yet.

However, the company has made changes to its normal operating hours in line with the S.O.E.

They now open from 9am to 4pm Monday-Friday and 9am to 12pm on Saturday.

Their services after working hours are available but only to their clients who have subscribed to an after hours contract.

The company has also implemented preventative measures against the COVID-19, according to Mr Curry and these include promoting and maintaining hygiene and sanitation. 

“Our team is practicing clean hygiene by keeping their hands sanitized throughout the day, making sure surfaces within our offices are kept disinfected and only travelling onsite to clients for critical support calls or if/when absolutely necessary,” he added.

“We have invested a lot over the years in our remote support and monitoring tools, and this has allowed for our team to be able to provide full remote support to all our clients, with at least 80 per cent resolution of all support tickets done remotely over the phone without the need of leaving our offices.”

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