“The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.” (sba.gov, 2020)
So what does this mean exactly and how can small businesses benefit from this? Here are some details:
- “Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.
- SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
- Once a declaration is made, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state.
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
- SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
- For questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail email@example.com.” (sba.gov, 2020)
Aside from the companies that may need a loan to stay afloat during this time, others are transitioning to fully remote status, and are unsure of how to fully adapt. When working from home, it is important to be alert as to what emails, links, sites, and other shared content are real versus what may be a cybercriminal’s attempt to attack while you’re vulnerable. Here are a few cybersecurity tips for remote workers from the European cybersecurity agency, ENISA:
“ENISA’s security advice for home working for employees includes:
- Ensure your Wi-Fi connection is secure. While most Wi-Fi is correctly secured, some older installations might not be, which means people in the near vicinity can snoop your traffic.
- Ensure anti-virus is in place and fully updated.
- Check all security software is up to date: Privacy tools, add-ons for browsers, and other patches need to be checked regularly.
- Have a back-up strategy and remember to do it: All important files should be backed up regularly. In a worst-case scenario, staff could fall foul of ransomware for instance. Then all is lost without a backup.
- Lock your screen if you work in a shared space: ENISA said workers should really avoid co-working or shared spaces at this moment and that social distancing is extremely important to slow down the spread of the virus.
- Make sure you are using a secure connection to your work environment.
- Check if you have encryption tools installed.
ENISA said employers should:
- Provide initial and then regular feedback to staff on how to react in case of problems. That means info on who to call, hours of service, and emergency procedures.
- Give suitable priority to the support of remote access solutions. Employers should provide at least authentication and secure session capabilities (essentially encryption).
- Provide virtual solutions. For example, the use of electronic signatures and virtual approval workflows to ensure continuous functionality.
- Ensure adequate support in case of problems. This may require setting up special rotas for staff.
- Define a clear procedure to follow in case of a security incident.
- Consider restricting access to sensitive systems where it makes sense.” (zdnet.com, 2020)
How it Could Affect You
During such a time as this, all you can do is adhere to safety precautions for your own well-being. Additionally, you can stay hyper-alert and ensure that your employees are doing the same if you are now adjusting to a remote workforce. It is better to be prepared and stable, than under-prepared and battling to recover if something crashes, or your company experiences a cyberattack during this time.
To find out if your business can successfully manage the IT challenges of a distributed workforce, download our white paper (IT Challenges When Managing a Distributed Workforce) here. Or, call our office for assistance with getting yourself and your employees setup to work remotely, but still give your clients and customers a fully staffed office experience. Hodgson Consulting & Solutions is fully functional at this time, and we want to help ensure that your company can say the same!
Hodgson Can Help
During uncertain times, it’s important to know that your partners have your back and are focusing on the things that you can’t control on your own. Your IT solutions should be one of those things that you allow us to focus on so that you don’t necessarily have to. Here at Hodgson Consulting & Solutions, we specialize in securing data and information loss prevention for companies with multiple locations and/or a remote workforce. Contact us to receive a FREE Cyber Security Risk Assessment and also learn more about our Managed Security Service Plans. Contact our office today at 847-906-5005.