This week I received an email communication that stopped me dead in my tracks (and caused me to change the topic of this article). Probably, just like you I have received umpteen “Coronavirus deal emails” as some clumsy marketeer’s attempt to tap into the panic buying market. That said, I have also read articles from professionals advising on how to handle things like staff absences, which have been super helpful. But the email I refer to above was from my CDN Cloudflare.
And Faith is Restored…
The email came from the personal email address of Matthew Prince, Co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. In the email Mr Prince describes what they are doing to first and foremost protect their employees, second he details how they are monitoring and tracking the surge in internet usage patterns globally and describes all the measures they have in place to ensure their continuity of service. Very reassuring! The third point Mr Prince makes in his email is to reassure us all how they are monitoring and managing cyber threats (beware the phishing emails!) and advise that their system will remain fully operational. The final part of this email and the part that gave me pause, is better expressed by Mr Prince himself, he writes:
“Finally, we recognize that this emergency has put strain on the infrastructure of companies around the world as more employees work from home. On Monday, I wrote about how we are making our Cloudflare for Teams product, which helps support secure and efficient remote work, free for small businesses for at least the next six months:
As the severity of the emergency has become clearer over the course of this week, we decided to extend this offer to help any business, regardless of size. The healthy functioning of our economy globally depends on work continuing to get done, even as people need to do that work remotely. If Cloudflare can do anything to help ensure that happens, I believe it is our duty to do so.
If you are already a Cloudflare for Teams customer, we have removed the caps on usage during this emergency so you can scale to whatever number of seats you need without additional cost. If you are not yet using Cloudflare for Teams, and if you or your employer are struggling with limits on the capacity of your existing VPN or Firewall, we stand ready to help and have removed the limits on the free trials of our Access and Gateway products for at least the next six months. Cloudflare employees around the world have volunteered to run no-cost onboarding sessions so you can get set up quickly and ensure your business’ continuity.
Click here to sign up for a Cloudflare onboarding session.
Thank you for being a Cloudflare customer. These are challenging times, but I want you to know that we stand ready to help however we can. We understand the critical role we play in the functioning of the Internet and we are continually humbled by the trust you place in us. Together, we can get through this.”
And Faith is Restored…
I don’t know about you, but this email gave me a warm fuzzy feeling! Recognizing the need businesses the world over will have to increase their service levels with Cloudflare, instead of cashing in and raising prices, they have removed money from the equation for all new uptakes and opened up the limits for existing users. More, they are offering free set up support – it really does put the rest of us to shame! We can get so fixated on our own problems, that we forget to look out for one another. To be kind! For me this email has gone a long way to restore my faith in large corporates, despite having no need to take up their generous offer, it has made me a life-long loyal customer and advocate.
And Cloudflare aren’t the only large tech business lending a helping hand, Facebook is putting huge amounts of resource into supporting world health agencies, with Billions of dollars of free ads (have you seen the NHS ads in your Facebook feed?). They are also cracking down on misinformation and increased fact-checking and blocking paid ads that seek to exploit the situation. Mark Zuckerburg has run a serious of live broadcasts describing all they are doing to help keep users informed and The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub is providing resources and support to map the cell structure of COVID-19, with a view to developing a vaccine.
No matter how cynically you may view these actions by the tech giants, you cannot deny that any effort to help one another during, what is for some countries like Italy, China and France a massive deal, should only be applauded. Which leads me on to my point, what can you do to help? Any positive action, no matter how small could make a huge difference. For SMEs, it can be hard to see how you can make a difference. Take The Last Hurdle, we are a small digital marketing agency, how can we help? Perhaps one way we can assist is to share knowledge of some digital assets that might make the transition of your team working from home a little easier. Here are a few of the assets we use to help us work from anywhere:
Online File Sharing
If your team are working remotely then you are going to need a way to share files. You could email them of course, but that can be a little laborious. Try a secure file sharing service like DropBox or Google Drive.
Occasionally you will need to have an ongoing conversation between colleagues, whilst again you can email each other, a messenger service can be quicker and more effective. Need to set up in a hurry? I recommend creating a group in WhatsApp or Messenger. For video calls, Skype or Facetime are both great resources.
When you have multiple people working on projects you might need a way to track exactly what stage the project is at and who has it in hand. We use Asana with some clients as everyone can see the projects, tasks and when assigned to you, a handy email is generated to let you know. Definitely worth a look.
For larger companies I recommend looking at SharePoint, however this will take some time to set up and for everyone to learn to navigate. An alternative which I, of course love, is Workplace by Facebook. It looks exactly like Facebook but is private to your organisation. No cumbersome training required for most people as almost everyone knows their way around Facebook!
Cloudflare of course!