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MIFFLINBURG — A Valley provider of communication and IT services announced it is being proactive in helping small to mid-sized businesses transition to a remote workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contrast Communications, based in Mifflinburg, has been setting up remote workforces for years, which allowed the company to become a leader in enabling organizations in making a successful transition in a short period of time.

“These are unprecedented times for companies and employees alike,” said John Uehling, CEO of Contrast Communications. “Organizations have been asked to transition to a remote workforce, which is totally new for them. They don’t know what to do or where to begin. That’s where Contrast Communications comes in. We have had tremendous experience in this area because we have been doing this for our customers for many years. We have the technology and a team of professionals that can rapidly take a company remote quickly."

Plus, he said, customers are provided guidance on how to the use technology to manage a remote workforce and ensure collaboration and productivity happens.

Today’s technology that is a must for collaboration, communication, and productivity includes voice, videoconference, instant message, Office365, Microsoft Teams and access to files whether cloud-based or via VPN. Cybersecurity solutions is a necessity as well because there has been a substantial increase in cyberattacks. Hackers are sending a flurry of COVID-19 phishing attacks and are preying on workers sitting at home hoping to gain access to personal and company information, said Uehling.

Contrast worked with the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way in establishing free access at a handful of places to their internet service through guest log-ins for anyone without access to reliable service during the COVID-19 crisis. Contrast provided the necessary equipment to boost WiFi signals around the building.

"They have been an incredible partner," said United Way president and CEO Joanne Troutman. "We are a client of theirs, too. When we moved to Arch Street, they installed our phones."

Contrast and United Way will continue working together in efforts to expand the technologies moving forward, said Troutman.

"Folks are unsure what's going to happen," she said.

June Campbell, the administrative assistant at Villager Realty Inc. based in Northumberland, said all agents are still working remotely.

"We have a new phone system (from Contrast) that allows the agents to not only work remotely, but it's easier for me to transfer their calls to their cell phone," said Campbell. "If an agent is on call, all calls that come in go to that agent."

With real estate, Campbell said it doesn't matter where the agent is. They don't have to necessarily come into the office to show houses or work with clients.

"They don't have to come in, I'm in the only one in the office," she said.

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