Our Status

7th May 2020

April was an unusually taxing month as we worked through the significant increase in support requests. As this amount increased the team where hard at it to keep on top of the increase but also the unusual requests. Requests between the 27th and 30th plateaued and finally started to fall. We have kept a close eye on the requests and performance and as of today demand has continued to fall back toward pre COVID-19 levels.

What is left is now often complex queries or unfortunately attack related as both attacks and demand have increased.

For now our status and response will remain the same in order to deal with any erratic spikes in demand or complex requests.

Thank you on behalf of the entire for your continued support during this time. It has meant a lot to us all the positive feedback received and the constant patience as we all work through the demands of this unprecedented period.

Response

The team are continuing to work through an increased demand for support as well as a rise in complex queries. We're continuing to publish new information and general guidance on our help centre https://helpdesk.wardmanuk.com/. This includes help on frequently asked questions as well as our latest status and responses.
 
The team are currently prioritising queries as below:
 

  1. Emergency or critical site failures 
  2. Cyber incidents 
  3. Work from home provisioning 
  4. Routine support 
  5. Administrative queries

With your continued support we are managing the demand and the complex queries without building a back log. Please continue to help by sending all enquiries to helpdesk@wardmanuk.com to help us prioritise those in the most need and coordinate our efforts.
Thank you in advance for your patience and support.

13th April 2020

As we move in to the 4th week of the Coronavirus crisis support requests have leveled over the last 7 days, we are yet to see them return to their pre Covid-19 levels but we have know we are able to manage this significant increase in volume by continuing to triage support requests with the ongoing support from our clients.

Our response has been updated to reflect this.

Response

As the team continue to work through and unprecedented increase in demand for support we continue to publish new information and general guidance on our help centre https://helpdesk.wardmanuk.com/. This includes help on frequently asked questions as well as our latest status and responses.
 
The team are currently prioritising queries as below:
 

  1. Emergency or critical site failures 
  2. Cyber incidents 
  3. Work from home provisioning 
  4. Routine support 
  5. Administrative queries

With your support we are managing the significant rise in demand. Please continue to help by sending all enquiries to helpdesk@wardmanuk.com to help us prioritise those in the most need and coordinate our efforts.

April 3rd and prior below

03/04/2020

Having risen significantly on the 17th March 2020 support requests have not dropped. Given the mix of requests we anticipate a drop in the coming weeks as we all settle in to our new workflows and habits. We expect initial levels to remain high as some internal support staff (within our clients) are furloughed; as part of our support we will deal with a wider range of inbound queries from those clients affected by this.

We have today issued our first piece of security advice. This notice is below:

As the situation with Covid-19 develops we continue to respond to a wide variety of support requests. The team are continuing to triage all inbound requests to deal with the significant increase in volume.

We are continuing to update our help centre with all relevant advice and at the appropriate time will push out guidance on best practice.

In the immediate we wanted to quickly get news out to you about some of the most common issues we have seen and our advice.

As always if you have any questions or need support email helpdesk@wardmanuk.com we’re all here ready to help in anyway we can.

Zoom

As Zoom booms in popularity please be cautious as it has known security issues. Ex-NSA (National Security Agency) hacker Patrick Wardle identified a series of issues, including a flaw which left Mac users vulnerable to having webcams and microphones hijacked. This is in addition to the app sharing data with Facebook and LinkedIn, issues with encryption and “zoombombing” where uninvited guests join video conferences, usually to shout abuse, share pornography or make racist remarks.

Zoom are working to address these issues and have recommended you password protect meetings as well as limiting screen sharing to the host.

Our advice: continue using Microsoft Teams as it sits behind Microsoft’s security centre privileges. If this is not workable then follow Zoom’s advice and be aware of the risks.

Home Internet

Some home internet providers limit the use of VPN and remote desktop sessions. This compounds the fact that VPN with encryption slows down internet traffic making some applications difficult or slow to use over a VPN or Remote Desktop Session. There is little that can be done to resolve these issues.

Our advice: if possible migrate to cloud applications for example moving from Sage to Xero online accounting or from online file storage to Microsoft Sharepoint and OneDrive.

Azure and Microsoft

Brief. Datacentres are under pressure globally. Some services (Office and Microsoft 365, Power BI, Teams and servers running in datacentres) may perform differently or more slowly than normal.

Due to the mitigating circumstances brought upon us during the coronavirus measures being taken by our governments, the Azure platform and its services based in UK and EU datacenters are experiencing capacity issues. An increase of 775% across services. This means that creating and assigning new compute-based resources in these datacenters may fail as there are no further resources available to use, however this also applies to existing resources within the environment being turned back on after a period of being offline.

Microsoft have prioritised essential services in these regions to allocate datacenter resources during the crisis, as detailed in the following announcement:
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/our-commitment-to-customers-and-microsoft-cloud-services-continuity/

Existing resources in these regions will not be taken offline, but if you are experiencing difficulty in provisioning resources please continue to attempt to provision them as Microsoft continues to adds more capacity, or if possible assign the resources during the off-peak times outside of core business hours.

If you have further questions or concerns around Azure capacity please get in touch.

Our advice: existing Azure services are unaffected at this time. Consider carefully what future compute resources you may require and get in touch to plan accordingly. If performance within Microsoft’s cloud is slow, bear with it, they’re working 24/7 to increase compute capacity.

Response

We are receiving an unprecedented increase in queries, tickets and calls and are working through these as fast as we can. Our response times have slowed as a result. 
 
The team are currently prioritising queries as below:
 

  1. Emergency or critical site failures 
  2. Cyber incidents 
  3. Work from home provisioning 
  4. Routine support 
  5. Administrative queries  

Please ensure all queries are sent to helpdesk@wardmanuk.com to help us prioritise those in the most need and organise our responses.

26/03/2020

As our team continue to run at a hundred miles an hour to keep on top of the surge in request for support we would like to thank you all for your patience, support and kind words.

We are continuing to prioritise support and drive all requests for assistance to the helpdesk. Resolution times have increased from 1d 22hours to 3d 15hours. This is despite 73% of issues being resolved within 2 hours. This is a reflection only of the severity of disruption and unusual range of issues we have been asked to assist with; sabotage and disruption being but two of the serious items.

The team will continue to support any request they can regardless of remit.

I am delighted to say that support is rated at 96% excellent with the other 4% being rated as good.

We will continue to review our responses daily.

Response

Our response remains as per 23/03/2020.

24/03/2020
As our helpdesk and support services continue to help with an ever widening array of requests the team continue to make progress toward restoring our response times. Over the last 7 days we have resolved all queries within 1d 22hours. This is a very generic figure that encompasses a wide range of requests but is a reasonable guide for expectation.

We will continue to work tirelessly to get as many of our clients up and running from home as we can while supporting those other essential workers, victims of cyber attacks and critical systems failures.

Response

Our response remains as per 23/03/2020.

23/03/2020

As the world reacts and adapts to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, we’re working tirelessly to make sure your services run smoothly. To see how we’re keeping our people and customers safe, and protecting our network,https://helpdesk.wardmanuk.com/article/125/our-status

A surge in requests from our team is having a big impact on our customers’ waiting times, for which we’re truly sorry.

It’s incredibly busy, and only getting busier.

That’s why, for the first time ever, we’re asking that our customers work with us and only call if they have an urgent query that can’t wait.This is hard for us, and frustrating for you. We really appreciate your patience and understanding as we prioritise helping our most vulnerable customers.

Response

We are receiving an unprecedented increase in queries, tickets and calls and are working through these as fast as we can. Our response times have slowed as a result. 
 
The team are currently prioritising queries as below:
 

  1. Emergency or critical site failures 
  2. Cyber incidents 
  3. Work from home provisioning 
  4. Routine support 
  5. Administrative queries  

Please ensure all queries are sent to helpdesk@wardmanuk.com to help us prioritise those in the most need and organise our responses.

20/03/2020
3% further increase in all ticket types in the last 24hours.

Response

Remains the same.

We are receiving an unprecedented increase in queries, tickets and calls and are working through these as fast as we can. Our response times have slowed as a result. 
 
The team are currently prioritising queries as below:
 

  1. Emergency or critical site failures 
  2. Cyber incidents 
  3. Work from home provisioning 
  4. Routine support 
  5. Administrative queries  

Please ensure all queries are sent to helpdesk@wardmanuk.com to help us prioritise those in the most need and organise our responses.

17/03/2020

48% increase in user generated ticket volumes
52% increase in Beacon generated

Response

We are receiving and unprecedented increase in queries, tickets and calls and are working through these as fast as we can. Our response times have slowed as a result. 
 
The team are currently prioritising queries as below:
 

  1. Emergency or critical site failures 
  2. Cyber incidents 
  3. Work from home provisioning 
  4. Routine support 
  5. Administrative queries

 
Please ensure all queries are sent to helpdesk@wardmanuk.com to help us prioritise those in the most need and organise our responses.
 

Do

1

Email helpdesk@wardmanuk.com for everything

2

Check here for updates https://helpdesk.wardmanuk.com/section/117/continuity-and-disaster-recovery--covid19coronavirus

Don't

1

Email individual mailboxes. Your email won't be able to allocated to another team member nor prioritised.