Coronavirus Advice for VPW IT Customers

UPDATED: 23rd March 2020

To assist customers in planning for potential issues during the Coronavirus outbreak that might cause staff shortages or office closures, we're providing guidance on your options to help you with planning and update you on the latest information we have.

We will update this information as/when the situation changes or new information becomes available - we advise customers to make a note of this page for future reference.

Sales Orders & Provisioning

Based on the latest advise from the UK Government, we will NOT proceed with any further On-Site Sales Orders or provisioning. Where possible our Team will attempt alternative ways to deliver your projects, but there will be delay - we are receiving record levels of enquiries from customers and are doing everything we can, but ultimately there is a limit to the number of customrs we can service at any one moment.

In addition, some orders may be delayed either because equipment is not shipping to us in a timely manner or because third party suppliers are restricting activities that cause delays to the provisioning process.

Customers asking us for Laptop Computers in particular may have difficulties as supply of many models is low or entirely depleted across most distributors. There are many low quality devices in stock which are unsuitable for the majority of customers, and some premium devices.

Technical Support General Advice

Response Times

Due to the significant increase in Technical Support from our team to support customers planning and implementing contingency arrangements, we're currently experiencing delays in responding to ALL types of support case. Our team is working hard to handle all cases in priority order, but we ask for your patience as a result of this increase in demand. Some queries may be 2-3 days behind your initial contact. We ask customers to be mindful when they contact us - we're working hard to get everything done, and help you as fast as we reasonably can.

Equipment Drop-In Service

Drop-In service is now suspended and we will not accept visitors to our offices.

Phone Support

Due to the demands on our Support resources, please allow for wait times when contacting us by phone, please be patient - we are trying to get to everyone as quickly as we can. Please wait for a member of the team, but at peak times, a 10-20 minute wait is not unusual

To help us, please make sure you log tickets via e-mail/online rather than phone wherever possible (for non-urgent cases), and make sure if we're already discussing a case with you, you rely to the last e-mail you had so that all information is available quickly, reducing the administrative burden on us, remembering to provide as much information to help us resolve your case as we can.

On-Site Visits

On-Site Vists will ONLY be performed where (a) It is required to fix a fault that is critical to keeping your business operational, (b) Your business performs a function deemed a critical service by the government or our team at our sole discretion and (c) Where our Team are happy to visit your premises and you comply with any specific requirements we make of you to keep our people safe.

Any Service Level for response is SUSPENDED and we cannot guarantee our response times.

Product & Service Specific Advice

Agility Desktop

Customers with our Agility Desktop service interested in working remotely/from home can already do so and the service supports this functionality for all customers already. You'll need a computer running Windows 7, 8.x or 10, or a fairly recent Apple Mac (but we recommend using Windows where possible). For ad-hoc access nothing needs to be setup in advance, but you'll need your Agility Login details. Visit My VPW Services to connect to the service. Support is available for helping you connect/work remotely as usual.

We are offering customers who wish to migrate to this service for flexible working fast setup without additional charge and offering any discounts or incentives we reasonably can to help.

Agility Mail

Customers with Agility Mail (any version) will be able to use Web Mail to access e-mail from any reasonably modern computer even if you're not normally setup on it for access. You'll have most of the core functionality you need to access E-Mail, Contacts & Calendars, and you can see your folders and Sent Items etc too. No setup is needed, just your Agility login details. If you're using any version except Agility Mail Light you can use a Smartphone or Tablet as well - if you're not already setup for this support can assist in doing so. Finally, if you have a laptop computer with Outlook for Agility Mail access that you would normally use within your office, providing you can connect to the Internet from elsewhere (for example via Wi-Fi or plugging into a home router), you should be able to access Agility Mail as normal once you're connected.

To use Web Mail, visit My VPW Services.

Agility Web Files

Customers with a Standalone Agility Web Files Service, or an Agility Desktop integrated Web Files service can login from most modern computers in a browser and access, download and upload files using the Web Interface for Web Files as usual. if you usually have "Mapped Drive" access this might be possible to configure, but we recommend using only the Web Interface on personal/home computers in any case. To access, visit My VPW Services to connect.

Agility Voice Trunk Customers

Some customers have asked about the ability to divert calls to another number (for example a home number or mobile) to support a scenario where an office is closed. This can be done on Agility Voice Trunk. You would either configure this like any other divert on your phone system as you would usually, or if you cannot reach the office we can setup an "adminsitrative" divert - there is no charge to set this up beyond normal support usage, but like any other divert you'll pay for diverted calls. Please note that this service can take 24 hours to configure due to factors outside our control, so we advise you use this only as a last resort - and bear in mind we can't make frequent changes to this type of divert.

In some cases we might also be able to provide a service to allow you to pick up calls via a smartphone using a special app. Get in touch with our team to discuss your options.

Agility Voice Customers

Customers using Agility Voice can take advantage of the following options to help them be more flexible during this time:

- Ask us to setup a Call Diversion - for example to a mobile or home line to allow incoming calls if you can't reach the office

- With a suitable smartphone, setup your Agility Voice extension so you can use it as if you're in the office and make/receive calls normally

- Call Voicemail remotely to check for any messages left for you.

- If you are able to get to your office, you may be able to setup Diverts yourself depending on your service and phone setup. Ask support for guidance, but we recommend using our suppotr team to set these diverts to avoid needing to be in the office.

Get in touch with our support team for further advice on how to implement these optons for your business.

Traditional ISDN or PSTN Telephony (Business Lines)

If you already have Call Diversion features (either Call Divert or Smart Call Divert) you can setup a divert as usual and the normal charges apply. If you don't, contact our Support Team and we can add the Diversion facility to your line(s) - there is a monthly charge for the feature, and you'll pay for diverted calls. It typically takes 24 hours to enable the feature if you don't have it. Once you do, we can provide instructions on how to setup or change diverts yourself at any time (you need to do this from the phone line in question).

Broadband and Connectivity Services and Faults

If you have a problem with your broadband service we will troubleshoot it as usual at this time - however, if an on-site visit is required this may not be possible - both our team and third party suppliers such as Openreach have guidance that may cause visits to be restricted or delayed. In some cases we might attempt to ship equipment to you rather than dispatch an engineer to minimise the risk to our team.

We are aware that there is the potential for broadband performance to suffer as a result of huge increases in remote working. Whilst we are unaware of any issues that would cause immediate issues to our services, third party services you connect to may be under pressure, so we urge customers to consider bearing in mind this type of risk when considering home/remote working. Suppliers across the nation are working to ensure sufficient capacity exists, but ultimately we have no control over every third party service on the internet.

Web Hosting Services & Linux E-Mail

If you have Linux Web Hosting services with an e-mail package included, you can connect to the Web Mail Interface for your accounts. We recommend you login to the cPanel Account and access from there - instructions are provided within the Control Panel. This will provide basic e-mail access. To access, visit My VPW Services to connect. You won't have comprehensive e-mail functionality.

If you're a Windows Web Hosting customer and have a Basics EMail package included, there is a basic webmail feature available. To access, visit My VPW Services to connect. You'll only have basic access to new e-mail and the ability to send messages. Historical mail won't be available.

You should also consider if you have restricted locations that administration of your web site (typically via a Wordpress Plugin), you might need to make some changes if you need to maintain the site from another location

In all other respects these services should operate as normally although there may be support delays due to the overall pressure on the team.

Basic, Legacy and Essentials E-Mail Services

These services should work as usual, and support will resolve issues via the usual channels. There is a basic Web Mail service you can access too if you need to. If you want more comprehensive e-mail services, contact us and ask about upgrading to our Agility Mail service. To access, visit My VPW Services

Customers with VPN/Remote Access

If you already have a Remote Access/VPN setup in place, this should operate as normal - bear in mind that if your office is shut down and you do have any service fault, someone might need to visit in order to restore service. If you need more users to have Remote Access, contact our support team in the first instance. The costs for this (where applicable) may vary depending on the number of licenses you have, and any equipment capability or limits that exist, so our advice will vary on a case by case basis

You should also bear in mind that not all types of service may be accessible remotely or work well due to connectivity constraints and delay accessing via the internet.

If you DO NOT have this type of facility already and would like to do so, please get in touch with us and we can advise on the options available to you. We are receiving a lot of demand in this respect currently, so please anticipate there will be a delay in our response. It is likely that if you have no suitable equipment or services, options may be limited or require additional work to get implemented. We don't advise customers try "panic based" approaches to getting remote access as they risk introducing security risks to the network and we would fully expect attacks on systems to increase during this type of incident as miscreants attempt to take advantage of quickly implemented and poorly secured remote access.

SimplyFi Wireless & Public Hotspot Services

These services should operate as usual, subject to the guidance above concerning Broadband Connectivity in the event of a fault. If you would like your usual restrictions on access times or usage amounts lifted to support people taking advantage of your service to connect during this incident please get in touch with support and we'll advise on options - this would be on a case by case basis.

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