AEC GROUP LLC COVID-19 Pandemic and Business Continuity

 

Please see below for a list of solutions from AEC Group that will allow employees to remain productive and safe without compromising IT and regulatory policies inherent during normal operation:

Citrix

Expand Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) – This is best for organizations who already have the available infrastructure or have already migrated to the cloud. You can quickly expand your CVAD environment to cater to additional load.

For business continuity, customers can acquire Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service licenses on a one (1) year term. AEC Group can provide user-access in 24-48 hours. The Business Continuity licenses can be considered an insurance policy so that your business can have license rights on the shelf for displaced employees during the pandemic.

Remote PC Access – This enables physical desktops to be remotely accessible – like virtual desktop. This would deploy Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) to physical desktops to use in conjunction with an existing CVAD environment or new CVAD service.  This is a great option if the additional infrastructure for VDI is not available.

Use Citrix Cloud on Public Cloud – Citrix Cloud is an ideal solution for organizations with an on-prem CVAD environment without the available infrastructure or organizations that do not have a CVAD environment. Either Citrix Managed Desktops (Azure only) or the CVAD service can enable organizations to quickly ramp up VDI workloads on a public cloud of your choice.

IGEL

UD Pocket – Combined with IGEL Workspace Edition, the UD Pocket is a powerful integrated solution for Bring your own device workspace environments. No larger than a paper clip, UD Pocket offers high performance and enables remote and mobile workers access to cloud services, server-based computing applications or virtual desktops. Boot from IGEL OS on a PC, laptop or any compatible x86, 64-bit CPU based endpoint device.

Cisco

WebEx – Effective immediately, Cisco has expanded the capabilities of our free WebEx offer in all countries where it is available, not only those impacted by COVID-19.

Here are the additional features:

  • Unlimited usage (no time restrictions).
  • Supports up to 100 participants.
  • Offers toll dial-in (in addition to existing VoIP capabilities).

Cisco is broadening this offer to include security for remote employees by providing extended free licenses and expanded usage counts at no extra charge for three of their key security technologies that are designed to protect remote workers anywhere, anytime and on any device.

Umbrella – Cisco Umbrella protects users from malicious Internet destinations whether they are on or off the network. Because it is delivered from the cloud, Umbrella makes it easy to protect users everywhere in minutes. With this offer, existing customers can exceed their user limit to support an increase in remote workers, and new customers can access a free license. To have the initial 14-day period extended to 90 days.

Duo Security – Duo Security enables organizations to verify users’ identities and establish device trust before granting access to applications. By employing a zero-trust model, it decreases the attack surface and reduces risk. With this offer, existing customers can exceed their user limit to support an increase in remote workers, and new customers can access a free license.

Cisco AnyConnect – Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client empowers employees to work from anywhere on company laptops or personal mobile devices. It also provides the visibility and control security teams need to identify who and which devices are accessing their infrastructure. Existing AnyConnect customers can exceed their user limit to support an increase in remote workers, and new customers can access a free license.

These offers will be available from now until July 1, 2020.

Microsoft

Windows Virtual Desktop – Microsoft Azure Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a service on Azure that can be one part of a COVID-19 response plan.

With WVD, organizations no longer need to be concerned with the constraints of the physical hardware or a person’s location. If the worker cannot come into the office, they can request a virtual desktop which can be quickly and easily provisioned based on their profile, and within minutes they can connect through the Windows Desktop, Web, Android, macOS or iOS clients.

In addition to being fast and scalable, Microsoft Azure Windows Virtual Desktop has the benefit of ensuring that your corporate data always remains within your control.

While in a “normal” virtual desktop deployment scenario we need to consider bandwidth to/from the workplace, for a situation such as COVID-19 this is not an issue, as connectivity is from the remote workers home to the Microsoft Azure data center.

Microsoft Office 365 and Teams – Microsoft has recently announced that in order to help businesses through the impact of Coronavirus, it is currently offering Office 365 E1 free for 6 months. The E1 license includes Teams, which is a great product for employees to work from home (WFH) should they need to in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

Akamai

Today’s uncertain global environment has made it an imperative for companies to enable remote access to business-critical applications. In particular, the fluidity and uncertainty of the current global crisis triggered by COVID-19 have accelerated the movement to have employees work remotely. This sudden increase in remote users is a challenge for many customers. Corporate VPN setups are typically not scoped for large numbers of off-site workers, and scaling access is expensive, slow, and complicated for most businesses.

Akamai’s Enterprise Application Access solution provides secure and scalable application access for remote users. Akamai is offering a Business Continuity Assistance Program that includes complimentary 60-day usage of the Enterprise Application Access solution. Akamai’s enterprise security solutions can be globally deployed in less than 15-minutes to secure and manage remote access.

Palo Alto VPN & Remote Access

GlobalProtect is the built-in VPN solution for the Strata (firewall) suite. Every next-generation firewall is designed to support always-on, secure access with GlobalProtect.

Prisma Access (formerly known as GlobalProtect Cloud Service) is a globally distributed cloud service that can automatically scale for your remote workforce. It offers the same security functionality as traditional next-generation firewalls, but without the need to deploy new infrastructure.

Maintain business continuity while Prisma Access auto-scales to wherever capacity is needed. Prisma Access customers who need additional capacity for unanticipated spikes from mobile users can now enjoy no additional cost for 90 days. One of the advantages of using Prisma Access is that you do not need to deploy any new hardware to expand your capacity. We are offering free accelerated deployment and on-boarding of remote users.

Aternity

As companies shift to more remote work and increase their use of collaboration tools, providing exceptional service demands visibility into the employee and customer experience. Aternity Digital Experience Management unifies End User Experience Monitoring (EUEM) and Application Performance Monitoring (APM) to address the unprecedented changes that this crisis has created. Aternity’s AI-powered analytics and self-healing control enable IT to improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction, ensure the performance of collaboration and customer-facing apps, drive down the cost of IT operations, and mitigate the risk of IT changes brought on by this crisis.

Use cases and business benefits:

  • Remote workforce management Monitor the user experience of your remote and mobile users to ensure they have the same workplace experience as when they are in the office.
  • Ensure IT changes deliver better service Justify investments in IT changes like additional VPN or network capacity and prove their value by measuring their impact on end user experience.
  • Optimize collaboration app performance Ensure excellent end user experience for Office 365, Skype for Business/Teams, etc. as you shift to more virtual interactions with employees, customers, and partners.
  • Shift left in the service desk Manage increased volume of service desk calls by resolving issues at the lowest level possible, and as fast as possible.

Proofpoint

Proofpoint researchers have tracked attackers leveraging the coronavirus pandemic since January 29. Currently, attackers are using coronavirus themes for nearly all types of attacks, including (but not limited to) business email compromise (BEC), credential phishing, malware, and spam email campaigns. The targeting of these attacks has ranged from extremely broad to narrowly focused and campaign volumes have fluctuated between small and large. Attribution includes both well-known and unknown threat actors. While all industries have been targeted, specific targeting of healthcare, education, manufacturing, media, advertising, and hospitality organizations is occurring.

Attackers are actively abusing the names and logos of many companies and organizations within these campaigns in an attempt to manipulate recipients. Of particular note is the spoofing and brand abuse of national and international health organizations around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Canadian and Australian national health organizations.

Threat actors have launched coronavirus campaigns to spread remote access Trojans (RATs), keyloggers, information stealers, and bankers.  Credential phishing campaigns are also active with this theme.  For example, attempts to harvest credentials for Facebook, DocuSign, Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA), Microsoft OneDrive, and universities around the world have been identified.

Attackers will continue to leverage coronavirus themes in their attacks for some time to come. Proofpoint can help to mitigate these attacks by leveraging advanced AI to identify zero-day threats to your organization.