Long Term Effects of COVID-19 on Offices

Even as businesses start to reopen and life resumes a more normal pace, much has changed since the global outbreak of COVID-19 began. People have grown accustomed to staying in, take-out and delivery services have skyrocketed, and group video chats and livestream performances have become the new normal. 

Expectations and habits have shifted on an international scale.  

At this point, it’s safe to assume things will never be quite the same as they were before 2020, and office spaces are no exception. While remote working has risen in popularity over the past decade or so, it has now become firmly engrained in work culture. Things that were once an exception are now the rule. 

Whatever your personal thoughts might be regarding COVID-19 and the measures being taken, there’s no point in fighting the shifting work climate. The best thing to do is adapt. 

Even for companies who need high-performance, extra security, and 24/monitoring, cloud hosting solutions can provide dedicated server space that keeps up with all of their demands. 

But in-between cloud servers and in-house servers, there is another option: colocation. 

Colocation is when you house your own physical server equipment in a third-party data center. You handle the purchasing and configuration of the equipment. The data center keeps it secure, powered, and cooled.  

This has proven to be a popular solution, as it frees businesses from having to store their dedicated servers in their own buildings. Advanced systems can make noise and run hot, not to mention they need backup power sourcesextra security measures, and high-speed network access. 

By placing your equipment in a data center, you can free up your own real estate and remove the responsibility of keeping your servers powered, protected, and connected. It’s a best of both worlds approach. 

However, as cloud hosting and dedicated virtual servers have grown in capabilities, many have moved away from colocation. Some have even gone as far as to say that colocation is dead. This is not true. In fact, colocation is on the rise. 

Why is that? It’s simple. Some businesses need their own equipment.  

And others just like having ownership over it. 

Office Life After COVID-19

Precautions for Sickness 

The safety of employees should be a top priority for any business. Now more than ever, it’s important that your employees feel safe. As offices have started to open, temperature checks have become commonplace. While this likely won’t last foreverflexible sickness policies almost certainly will. 

Encourage any employees who are feeling unwell to work from home. Even if their symptoms are minor, or they passed the day before, it’s best to stay safe. Businesses will likely be establishing official protocols for what employees should do when they’ve been sick. 

100% Remote Readiness 

When quarantine measures started, many offices were forced to quickly (and radically) expand their remote capabilities. In March, approximately 30% of Americans were working from home in some capacity. By April, it had increased to 62%, and it’s only continued to rise. 

It’s safe to assume that many of these people have gotten used to the process of working out of their homes. Even before quarantine started, a Gallup poll found that 54% of workers would leave their job for one that’s flexible with where and when people work. 

As an office in a post-COVID world, you need to be ready for any given employee to be able to do 100% of their job remotely. There may be specific exceptions to this within your business, such as an IT worker needing to physically access a system. Even in these situations, however, you should look into solutions that would allow for you to operate 100% remotely. 

Employees Will Have Better At-Home Setups 

Part of the concern with employees working from home is that they lack the proper setup and tools to efficiently operate. With the months of quarantine, however, most employees have naturally adapted. Desks have been purchased, areas have been sectioned off, etc. 

Still, there is an opportunity for businesses to step in and further assist their employees in their abilities to work from home. You may consider supplying employees with at-home monitors, webcams, and other tools. 

More importantly, you need to ensure the devices they’re using and the networks they’re accessing are properly set up and secured.  

An Increased Need for Remote Cybersecurity 

While a loss in productivity is a big concern for employees working from home, cybersecurity is an even larger one. Employees working on their home network from a personal device are typically more exposed than if they were working from the office. 

To combat this, a greater emphasis on remote IT security is needed. 

Implementing a VPN is a great first step, but it’s not enough. Any devices being used for work, even if they’re privately owned, need to be properly updated and maintained. You also need to ensure employees have access to the necessary tools and software. Trying to manage all of these extra devices and networks can be very taxing for businesses, even if they have an IT team. 

This is where a third-party IT partner can prove to be very useful. 

At DataYard, we provide a full suite of IT and cybersecurity services that can keep your business protected and stable, whether your employees are at home or in the office. We can also handle your hosting and cloud-based needs, allowing your business to be 100% remote-ready, if necessary. Have your own server equipment? We have the perfect colocation space for you to house it in. 

In a post-COVID office environment, businesses will need an increasingly complex range of IT capabilities. With DataYard, the process becomes a lot simpler. For IT, hosting, and cyber security in Dayton, Ohio and beyond, contact DataYard today! 

DataYard is Here for You


Why Server Maintenance is So Important

Updates have become a regular part of our lives. Whether it’s your phone, your computer, your software programs, or even a gaming system, you likely receive a notification every week or two informing you that there’s an update available.  

In certain situations, these updates may be required before you can continue to use a particular device or piece of software. Often, however, they are “optional”. That is, you get to choose when (or if) they’re done. 

While these updates are important and provide critical functionality and security updatesignoring them won’t have immediate repercussions for most personal devices. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be updating your phone or that personal copy of PhotoshopIgnoring updates can lead to technical issues, and may even expose you to security risks.  

That’s why, when it comes to commercial devices, it’s critical to always stay on-top of updates and general maintenance for the sake of security and performance. This is especially true when it comes to your server systems. 

What Does Server Maintenance Look Like?

Updating and maintaining a server is more than simply installing a newer version of the OS that runs on it. A server doesn’t just involve a singular piece of software, but a network of software and firmware that works together to keep your systems running. Because of this, updates and patches are performed across multiple areas of the server. 

Additionally, servers need to be physically examined, cleaned, have their temperatures monitored, and more. 

The most critical part of server maintenance, however, is verifying and updating backups. With proper backups in place, a business is protected against any number of otherwise catastrophic situations. Should updates cause an issue or temporarily take your system offline, backups can be utilized to quickly get you up and running. 

However, to keep things running and updated, systems have to occasionally go offline, powered down, and/or reset so that changes can be implemented. Update scheduling and rollouts are an important part of server maintenance. This allows updates to happen during non-critical hours, usually late at night or over the weekend. 

While it might seem like a hassle to keep everything constantly updated and occasionally experience a brief loss in performance as your system is updated, it’s far better than the alternative. Server updates and maintenance are what keep your systems running optimally and protected from the latest in cyber threats.  

The strategies used by hackers and malicious programs are constantly evolving as system weaknesses are discovered. Constant maintenance and upgrading are the only ways to keep your systems safe. 

As you might imagine, this involves a lot of on-going work, often requiring a dedicated person (or team) to monitor statuses, schedule updates, and rollout changes. Because of this, many modern businesses rely on third parties to handle their ongoing monitoring and maintenance. 

At DataYard, we not only employ an experienced staff of IT professionals, but we have our own data center fully equipped to handle your hosting needs. With these two areas of service combined, we’re perfectly positioned to be all-in-one network solution. 

We’ll make sure that your systems are monitored, maintained, and equipped with the latest cyber security in Dayton, Ohio. Contact us today. 

Our Data Center is Here for You


Why SD-WAN Matters for Businesses in 2020

SD-WAN stands for “software-defined wide area network”. Whereas a traditional WAN typically operates at the point of contact, an SD-Wan is able to create a virtual architecture within the network, proving intelligent control. SD-WAN is designed for today’s network activity, bringing more customization, faster speeds, tighter security/privacy, and more.

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DataYard Network Maintenance 9/12

DataYard will be performing maintenance on our core internet infrastructure Thursday morning (9/12) at 12:00 AM to move connectivity back to our primary router now that we are fully recovered after last month’s outage. This will impact ethernet express, ethernet express metro, and regional ethernet services. Downtime is expected to be less than 15 minutes.

Let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat: 1.800.982.4539 or [email protected]. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@datayardtechops & @datayard)!

DataYard Network Maintenance 8/8

DataYard will be moving up a part Saturday’s maintenance on our core internet infrastructure to tonight (8/8) at 10:00 PM for customer on a few services. Tonight’s change will impact ethernet express metro and regional ethernet services delivered via Centurylink. Downtime is expected to be less than 15 minutes.  This is being done to prevent any business hours interruptions to service due to hardware that is in a degraded state.

Let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat: 1.800.982.4539 or [email protected]. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@datayardtechops & @datayard)!

DataYard Network Maintenance 8/10

DataYard will be performing maintenance on our core internet infrastructure Saturday morning (8/10) at 12:01 AM to replace suspect hardware. This will impact ethernet express, ethernet express metro, and regional ethernet services. Downtime is expected to be less than 15 minutes.

Let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat: 1.800.982.4539 or [email protected]. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@datayardtechops & @datayard)!


DataYard Network Maintenance 7/18

Due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts, DataYard will be performing patching on its core internet infrastructure in order to address some performance and security concerns.  This will take place tomorrow morning (7/18) at 12:01 AM and any downtime should be kept under 15 minutes.  This maintenance will affect customer on our Ethernet Express, Ethernet Express Metro, and Regional Ethernet products.  Make IT Better!

Let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat: 1.800.982.4539 or [email protected]. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@datayardtechops & @datayard)!

Keeping the Internet Safe

Earlier this month was Safer Internet Day, which is a day dedicated to creating awareness around safe internet usage mainly geared towards children and teens. I realized this topic didn’t exist when I was growing up. Think about it for a second. I am in my mid-late twenties and I have had more years with dial-up internet or no Internet at all, than I have with anything close to the high speeds we have today. I’ve grown up with the Internet quite literally. When I was a kid, teachers and parents were just trying to grasp the concept of the Internet and how it was used, let alone talk about how to safely address it. For this reason, I’ve taken it upon myself to catch all of us up on some quick Internet Safety Tips.


Creating complex passwords and changing your passwords regularly can go a long way. That means moving past the passwords like ‘Password123’ and ‘Jacob19’, onto more creative phrases and symbols. It is also beneficial to use different passwords for your different accounts and websites, rather than using the same one across the board. For this reason, I would recommend using tools like LastPass, KeePass or 1Password to help keep track of all of your different passwords. These tools can also be set up to remind you to reset your password every couple of months.

Public Network Security

Free public Wi-Fi has essentially become a basic utility, making the internet easily accessible virtually anywhere. This is also making users increasingly vulnerable. The challenge with public Wi-Fi is that it’s often unsecured, making it easy for hackers to access your device. If you want to utilize public Wi-Fi in a secure manner, you can purchase a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a software that will provide you with a secure connection to the Internet.

At Home Network Security

Taking a comprehensive look at your home network will allow you to have peace of mind when you are connecting to the Internet at home on your various devices. Changing administrative passwords and implementing a few precautions can make your connection much safer. For a checklist on securing your home network check out our Securing Your Home Network blog.

Safe Browsing

Many times, Internet browsers themselves provide Safe Browsing functions (see Google). However, you can go an extra step and retrain yourself on not giving away personal information, avoiding questionable websites, only downloading software from sites you trust, and increasing your browsers security settings.

  • Click Smart – don’t click on sketchy links or ads
  • Share Selectively – don’t just share your personal information with anyone
  • Shop Safe – when shopping online always make sure to look for https


Keep an eye on the addresses of the sites you are visiting. In the address bar for your website, you will see either HTTP or HTTPS (more about the difference) which represents how data is transferred between a web server and a web browser. With an HTTPS site, the data is encrypted, which keeps your information safe. This is extremely important for any online shopping or banking, and any site taking your personal information. You need to make sure that it has encryption.

Stay Up to Date

Staying up to date on the latest operating systems (OS) and software/application versions will ensure that you have the most up-to-date security measures in place. We recommend turning on auto-update when applicable.

If you have more questions about making your home a safe place please feel free to reach out to us on social media or at [email protected]

Other Resources:

DataYard – At Your Service

DataYard – At Your Service!

Now available by popular demand, DataYard has created a brand new offering under a brand new division, At Your Service.  AYS will help regional companies with all aspects of business IT – whether it is managing existing workstations and servers, migrating to a VoIP phone service, upgrading network equipment, or guiding your transition to the cloud – DataYard has you covered.

The DataYard Difference

For over two decades, DataYard has helped thousands of local businesses use technology to improve business efficiency and reliability. But we noticed that we were getting more and more requests from clients to assist with projects beyond just Internet services or hosting projects – they needed help with technology inside of their businesses, and turned to us for advice. AYS is an answer to those questions and needs, and DataYard can now bridge the gap between on-premise IT work and cloud-based hosting services.

We’ve built some great partnerships over the last twenty years – with Microsoft, VMware, and Cisco, to name a few – and these relationships make it possible for DataYard to be your full-service, end-to-end IT partner. If you have a problem, project, or just want to talk through an issue, give us a call – DataYard is here to help you make IT better.

Client Spotlight – Mikesell’s Project Overview

DataYard is proud to announce our latest partnership with the Mikesell’s Snack Food Company – the oldest potato chip company in the United States! Since 1910, Mikesell’s has been manufacturing and shipping delicious treats from right here in Dayton to the surrounding tri-state. DataYard and Mikesell’s were introduced via mutual partners and Technology First relationships, and we began discussing a full-scale technology redesign and refresh in May of this year.

Mikesell’s had an interesting predicament, albeit not out of the ordinary – recent restructuring of the internal technical team had brought with it a change in long-term vision and strategy. Mikesell’s new CIO, Steve Hangen, wanted to shift the focus of the internal technical resources away from supporting local servers and towards supporting internal processes. However that didn’t remove the reality that there were multiple (and fairly critical) line of business applications running internally on antiquated hardware. Pair that with an Internet bandwidth bottleneck and an outdated DR strategy, and the risk to business continuity was enough to make anyone sweat.

After months of planning and fine-tuning, DataYard and Mikesell’s finalized our strategy and partnership at the end of August. In a few separate installments, I’ll be describing the individual goals of the overall redesign – the how, what, and why.

  • Network topology redesign – DataYard completely re-imagined the WAN design, and has deployed a new network to centralize ownership and management of network services. We had to get creative in a few spots, and a description of these challenges will be an interesting read!
  • Active Directory Upgrade and Virtualization – Once the WAN was centralized, we needed to upgrade and migrate internal Active Directory (AD) services up into the DataYard cloud. One less administrative headache for Mikesell’s internal personnel! We’ll discuss the process, benefits, and challenges here in a later post.
  • Exchange Upgrade and Virtualization – After the AD project was completed we’ve now set our sights on the upgrade from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2016. This upgrade is happening simultaneously with the migration up to the DataYard cloud. The Exchange project will lighten the load on Mikesell’s staff, and the coming description of the objectives and execution should give valuable insight to anyone facing a similar challenge.
  • JDE Deployment – Mikesell’s is moving away from legacy line of business applications on an internal mainframe and towards the JD Edwards ERP solution in the DataYard cloud. This project will undoubtedly have its obstacles, but the resulting streamlining of operations will provide significant benefit and increased efficiency at Mikesell’s for years to come.
  • University of Dayton Project – DataYard is assisting seniors from UD and providing the needed infrastructure for the students’ MIS Capstone project. The development of this new application will result in the increased day-to-day effectiveness of Mikesell’s internal staff, as well as provide invaluable experience to future IT professionals.

I’m looking forward to sharing the details of these projects as DataYard knocks them out, one by one – starting with a description of the network topology redesign and deployment, coming soon.

Mikesell’s is a historic brand with deep roots in Dayton, and we are very excited to begin a long and successful partnership – stay tuned!