Coronavirus Advice for VPW IT Customers

UPDATED: 14th May 2020

To assist customers with planning and dealing with impacts during the current pandemic and how we can help, we're providing information which we'll update regularly below.

Sales Orders & Provisioning

We're processing Sales and Orders on a near-normal basis, with some exceptions, outlined below:

- Deliveries - these can be delayed by courier and logistics companies and guaranteed delivery is not available. We do have our own in-house logistics assisting and making some deliveries where it makes sense to do so in order to allow us to keep customers operating and support them. We have seen improvements in the past week or so, and we're continuing to use additional in-house resource to aid logistics

- Orders for Connectivity - due to restrictions by multiple operators, some restrictions exist on some types of orders for service, especially where a physical visit is required. These are being handled on a case by case basis. We have seen improvements on some types of orders, and suppliers continue to work to adapt processes. We can process general speed upgrades, tariff upgrades without issue. We're also able to process some types of service change on near-normal terms, so please do get in touch so we can see how we can assist.

- Telephony Porting - some suppliers are delaying porting requests which may mean number transfers are delayed. We have a contingency plan to assist with this for affected customers. This continues to be a problem at this time, although we are seeing some signs of improvement.

Please note that due to exceptional demand across the nation, some types of equipment are in short supply, or more limited options may be readily available. This is an issue affecting all suppliers, and we're continuing to use all available options as well as our own internal stocks to fulfill orders.

Technical Support General Advice

Response Times

Our Support Team are operational on normal terms, and we're seeing good response times at present. However, if your case requires us to work with a third party, some are operating on reduced support hours, have reduced staffing, or are facing increased demand. This is particularly noticeable with some commonly used software vendors.

Equipment Drop-In Service

Drop-In service remains suspended and we will not accept visitors to our offices. However, a collection/drop-off service on a contactless basis is available, and in some cases we can arrange courier pick-up where necessary and will continue to operate on this basis to ensure we can still service customer needs.

Phone Support

Our Phone Support is operating as normal, and you shouldn't see any real issues at this time. We're operating on normal hours with normal capacity.

As always, we recommend for non-urgent queries you use our HelpDesk/E-Mail Support, but you're able to reach us however you prefer as usual.

On-Site Visits

On-Site Vists are limited in line with government guidelines and with the utmost consideration for the safety of staff and customers alike. Where you have a business affecting fault we'll do our best to arrange a safe way to complete works, and have been achieving this in the vast majority of cases, and options are continually improving. Customers should be advised they may be asked to make changes to suit our team and at all times, the judgement of our team will be the final determination and your cooperation with the reasonable requests they make would be appreciated.

Product & Service Specific Advice

Agility Desktop & Agility Office

We've continued to expand capacity and on-board new customers to this service as it provides a great platform for modern more flexible working, demonstrated perfectly by the current conditions we find ourselves in. If you're interested in migrating to this, we're offering additional discounts and assistance until 31st May 2020 to help customers transition.

If you already have Agility Office or Agility Desktop Customers that are interested in working remotely/from home can already do so and the service supports this functionality as standard. You'll need a computer running Windows 7 (with all updates) or preferably running Windows 8.x or 10, or a fairly recent Apple Mac (but strongly 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.

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'll handle these scenarios on a case by case basis, but to-date have been able to resolve all faults on close to normal terms.

We are aware that there is the potential for broadband performance to suffer as a result of huge increases in remote working. We're confident that our own broadband services are not suffering from any capacity issue, however if you're at home or using a third party service you may experience a poorer level of service than usual.

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.

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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