Operations Update: Working from Home

The past several emails from NWCM to clients have focused on the pandemic and on the bear market. Staff have been getting an extra hour or two of sleep lately with the recent market rally. (Hopefully, clients have been sleeping better, too!) In the near future, client emails will most likely revert to our thoughts about the market.

Each recent conversation we have had with clients, friends and family usually starts with the question, “How are you doing with staying at home during this pandemic?” This blog posting is to report how NWCM is faring operationally during these difficult times.

Almost two years ago, NWCM undertook a project to move its computer network from our offices to a “co-location” at a secure data facility just west of Portland (along with backup capabilities in the Midwest). Although it was an expensive proposition, we deemed it critical to our business continuity planning. Our goals were, one, to make certain client data was stored in the most secure manner possible; and two, in the event of a disaster, to have the capacity to efficiently work remotely.  A disruption due to global pandemic was not even on the list of potential scenarios where remote operations would be necessary. We were thinking about a fire in the office, severe weather or an earthquake.

Once our servers were relocated, access to our computer network was through an Internet “terminal server”—access that requires multi-factor authentication. For the past 18 months while we were working in the office, we were effectively accessing NWCM’s computer network “remotely”. During the past month since all of us at NWCM have been working from home, we have been logging into NWCM’s network through a terminal server connection—again, using multi-factor authentication—in the exact way we did when still at the office! We have experienced no loss of computer access or functionality while working from home.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, we also began using a Microsoft software product called Teams to establish working groups of staff, and to coordinate efforts among ourselves on various client projects. Integral to Teams are video conferencing and chatting. The functionality of this software allows us to interact well with each other while we are at home adhering to “social distancing”.

Apart from the lack of daily access to our color printer and copy machine, it is pretty much business as usual for us here at NWCM—at least operationally. We are benefiting from the advanced planning for “business disaster recovery”. This functionality ensures that we can continue to serve clients when they need us most.

If you have questions about our cyber security protocols, please call us.