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Demand for home office equipment has LI computer companies scrambling

RefurbConnect, which refurbishes electro-communicative devices, has seen a

RefurbConnect, which refurbishes electro-communicative devices, has seen a rapid growth in business due to the increased need for their servies, as more and more people are working from home.  Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware

Technology companies throughout Long Island are mobilizing to cater to a rapidly expanding telecommuting workforce, experiencing a boom as they look to provide solutions for employees now driven to work from home by the coronavirus pandemic.

Increasingly stringent mandates from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have forced companies of all types to accomplish their business remotely, leaving many Long Islanders grappling with a new normal — one that requires more laptops and computer screens, along with specialized software and an increased concentration on cybersecurity.

“We’ve been inundated with orders,” said Richy George, a partner at the Farmingdale-based RefurbConnect, which sells refurbished IT equipment. “People are contacting us from all different businesses and organizations to get their devices set up. . . That part of our business has been completely hit with orders — people saying, ‘We need your help. Can you help us?’ ”

Companies that weren’t prepared for large-scale telecommuting had to step up in a hurry. “Because I think it’s already too late if you don’t have a contingency plan in place,” George said.

He said the biggest demand has been for laptops and computer screens — people working in offices are sometimes used to having multiple screens, he noted — and though he expects interest in hardware to die down in the coming weeks, it seems likely that this virus could substantially change how companies view telecommuting from here on out.

No one, he said, is going to want to be caught scrambling in the future.

Michael Maser, CEO of the Plainview-based UOTech.co, which provides hardware and consulting services, said it’s taken constant effort to stay ahead of the pandemic and provide resources for companies that are only now realizing how the virus will affect day-to-day operations for the foreseeable future.

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“It’s hectic,” he said, and it’s “so tough” to make sure they keep a constant supply of the hardware companies need. “We’re seeing people from all walks of life trying to get computers, extra screens and laptops. They’re trying to make their lives as convenient as possible. It’s very difficult when you’re not prepared to work from home.”

Maser’s company also consults on the issue of cybersecurity, a growing concern with so many employees moving to cloud-based programs with their information.

Focus now is on Data Loss Prevention, or DLP, which is a series of various tools and processes that help ensure that sensitive data is not leaked.

Ed Eisenstein, CEO and CIO of UNA, an IT consulting firm in Farmingdale, said that “multi-factor authentication is now being taken very seriously.”

“It’s becoming a criterion that 100% of companies” are now moving toward, he said.

Eisenstein said his company has seen a 40-50% increase in calls and inquiries, but it has been able to handle the extra volume.

The biggest challenge, he said, is getting workers to carve out the full half hour it takes to set up their work-from-home station. With increasing unease around the epidemic, and children at home from school, completely uninterrupted work time is at a premium.

Paul Goldsmith, chairman of LISTnet — a sort of chamber of commerce for Long Island-based tech companies — said that all of this has been unprecedented.

The 24 tech companies he works with are seeing increased interest, yes, but are also facing new challenges.

“A lot of the companies are very, very busy right now trying to help as many people as they can,” he said.

“I’ve never seen something like this, where it’s affecting everyone.”

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