COVID-19 Design Play Book

Navigating the post COVID-19 world is going to be a challenge.

New social distancing requirements, coupled with existing health, fire, and building code requirements create a whole new set of parameters for businesses to abide by.

Keeping employees and customers safe is the number one priority, and experts discussed how to do that in this COSE webinar featuring:

Watch the recording below:


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  • Next up: Creating a New Customer Experience
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  • Creating a New Customer Experience

    Why is Starbucks so successful in selling you a $4.00 cup of coffee when McDonald’s charges $2.00? Why does a stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel seem much different than a stay at the Holiday Inn?

    Why is Starbucks so successful in selling you a $4.00 cup of coffee when McDonald’s charges $2.00?

    Why does a stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel seem much different than a stay at the Holiday Inn?

    Today, many people would answer that it’s all about customer service but they are wrong!  Both McDonald’s and Holiday Inn offer incredible customer service. However, Starbucks and Ritz Carlton understand something that many brands don’t – it’s all about the customer EXPERIENCE!

    Customer experience has become a new small business buzzword, and I’m not sure that most organizations really get it.  Service is what you offer your customers every day as a trained professional; it is personal and comes from the heart.  Customer experience is about considering our customers’ experiences from the minute they make contact with our organization until they are done.  This involves so many more people than just you.

    Organizations that purposefully examine every customer touch point — the opportunities we have to influence the customer from the parking lot, to reception, to billing and many more — are those that will excel at customer experience. Companies that drive the experience messaging throughout every department and to every single worker regardless of title or contribution level (part time or full time) will inspire employees to help create a positive customer experience.

    2013 study conducted by Gallup found that only 50% of Americans were engaged at what they do every day. By having everyone consider their specific customer touch points and how they can make them better will become more engaged at what they do and ultimately, the customer benefits.

    The experience has to start with you as the business owner.  Talk with as many people as you can (customers, employees, stakeholders, etc.) and ask, “What is the (fill in the name of your organization) experience?”  Then figure out how to shatter the stereotype of the experience customers EXPECT to have with you, your department or with your organization.  Ask yourself, “What small touch point could I focus on this week that will ultimately shatter that stereotype?”

    Imagine going to a new restaurant that has been touted as the best in town.  You arrive at 7:50 for an 8 p.m. reservation and are seated right on time. You go on to have the best service and possibly the best food you have ever eaten.  At one point, the chef comes out to your table and explains how each of your dishes was prepared.  The manager checks on you a few times.  It’s perfect.  After dinner, you proceed to go outside, you provide your parking ticket to the car valet, and your car arrives 55 minutes later!  Isn’t that part of the overall experience?  Of course it is.  But let’s take this to the next step.  It is now three months later and you have told hundreds of people to go to that new restaurant because the food is amazing and the service is outstanding.  Then, you finish with one word. BUT!  “…BUT your car will take forever to get to you after dinner.”  I think my next book’s title should be, “What Comes After the But?”

    So, what does this have to do with you and your business?  Everything!  The minute we get ourselves and our employees asking “What comes after the but” is the minute we start to become 100% customer-centric. “The receptionist is wonderful but I got lost in voicemail after that” or “I have always purchased my clothes from them but they have no clue who I am.” We need to examine the touch points mentioned earlier and imagine what the customer could say.  To start to make a shift from service to experience, begin by examining those touch points and see the world through THEIR eyes not yours.

    Certified Speaking Professional Jeff Tobe speaks, consults and trains with health care organizations around the world in designing and implementing the ideal patient experience.  His latest book, “ANTICIPATE: Knowing What Customers Need Before They Do”,focuses on creating exceptional customer experiences.  Jeff was chosen as one of the top 15 speakers in North America by readers of Meetings and Conventions magazine.  For more information, visit

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  • Next up: Creekside Restaurant and Bar
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  • Creekside Restaurant and Bar

    Creekside Restaurant and Bar has been serving customers in Northeast Ohio delicious food and beverages for 24 years. As long time Brecksville residents, Matt and Shirley Harper have been dedicated to making Creekside Restaurant and Bar an integral member of their local communities. They take great pride in the business they have developed and continue looking forward to serving their customers for many years to come. As they continue to meet the needs of their customers and diversify their offerings, the restaurant offers a full range of services from delicious dining, carry out ordering, catering, hosting parties in their party room, happy hour specials, and offering special treats for dining in or taking home to enjoy for later and/or special occasions.

    Creekside Restaurant and Bar 

    Owner: Matt Harper


    Creekside Restaurant and Bar has been serving customers in Northeast Ohio delicious food and beverages for almost 24 years.

    As long time Brecksville residents, Matt and Shirley Harper have been dedicated to making Creekside Restaurant and Bar an integral member of their local communities. They take great pride in the business they have developed and continue looking forward to serving their customers for many years to come. As they continue to meet the needs of their customers and diversify their offerings, the restaurant offers a full range of services from delicious dining, carry out ordering, catering, hosting parties in their party room, happy hour specials, and offering special treats for dining in or taking home to enjoy for later and/or special occasions. 

    As part of their ongoing planning, Matt sought to learn how to reduce his energy expenses. The COSE energy team provided the Harper’s with a comprehensive energy assessment through Dominion’s Nonresidential Energy Program (link to site). It was important to Matt to better understand how the restaurant used energy, and to identify opportunities for reduced expenses.


    Matt learned of COSE energy services through the Brecksville Chamber of Commerce where he serves as an active board member.  “The process was pretty easy” explained Matt.  “The entire process took about a month from the first point of contact and scheduling, having the audit done, and reviewing the report with one of COSE’s energy advisors.” The process and audit report were  very beneficial because it informed us of the small things (low to no cost measures) that we could do ourselves that would have an energy saving impact all the way up to what the most expensive that may require a contractor.  What I liked most is that everything had a cost associated with it along with a payback or the ROI attached to it.  The report provided information that showed us approximately how long it would take us to recoup our investment by upgrading our space.”

    COSE helped Matt prioritize the reports recommendations, and maximize his resources.   Matt leveraged the energy audit to motivate him to do more research and dig into ways their business could save money.  In January of 2016 Creekside Restaurant will be closing down to undergo a four-day light renovation to switch out all their lights to LED’s along with replacing their dishwasher.  These changes alone will allow the restaurant to function at greater efficiency and will save a significant amount of money. 

    Other information:

    Total sq ft., 7300 sq ft

    Identified energy savings, $16,782  (31%)

    Top ECMs: Lighting, Kitchen Hood controls, HVAC controls

    Energy Projects: 

    1. Lighting project – switching out all lights to LED’s
    2. Replacing dishwasher (will reduce significant chemical usage, electricity, water)
    3. Replacing gaskets on refrigeration units – will save electricity
    4. Parking lot lighting (talked with landlord about having them replaced with LED’s which would save a significant amount of money)

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  • Next up: Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan Addresses COSE Advocacy Committee
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  • Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan Addresses COSE Advocacy Committee

    Councilman Greenspan recently joined the COSE Advocacy Committee, sharing his perspective on the work of Cuyahoga County Council and how he and County Council may focus on small business initiatives moving forward.

    Dave Greenspan has served as a Cuyahoga County Councilman since 2011 and he represents approximately 42 square miles of Cuyahoga County; his district includes the cities of Bay Village, Fairview Park, North Olmsted, Rocky River, and Westlake.  The Councilman has held leadership positions with Atlanta Olympic Broadcasting, Turner Media Consultants, and the PGA TOUR Radio Network. Currently, he is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Green Elk Consulting Services, a consulting company that focuses on emerging/start-up ventures and turn-around business entities. 

    Councilman Greenspan recently joined the COSE Advocacy Committee, and after the meeting recorded this video, sharing his perspective on the work of Cuyahoga County Council and how he and County Council may focus on small business initiatives moving forward.

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  • Next up: Cybersecurity: 5 Easy Tips to Keep Your Business Safe
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  • Cybersecurity: 5 Easy Tips to Keep Your Business Safe

    Cyberattacks do not happen in a vacuum; many variables come into play at every turn. It is critical to combat threats with a steady, ongoing campaign to ensure you’re never caught with your guard down.

    Another year, another run of cyberattacks.

    Advancements in technology are occurring at an increasingly dizzying pace. New technologies emerge to join the ranks alongside ‘new and improved’ functionalities of existing ones. And all the while, increased adoption of these technologies has led to an exponential growth of data breaches.

    Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report listed nearly 2,200 data breaches and more than 53,000 total cybersecurity incidents reported from 65 countries from April 2017 to March 2018—an average of six breaches and 145-plus incidents every day. However, this next statistic puts the issue into perspective whether you’re reading this in your office, sitting in a traffic jam, on a plane, or at home with your family. Look to your left and see one person. Then look to your right and see two others. By the law of averages, one of those three people experienced a compromise of their personal information in the U.S. within the past year.

    The problem is real, the problem is persistent, and it gains momentum the more technology becomes intertwined with the fabric of our everyday lives.

    The ever-growing trend of data breaches is in full force as several high-profile cyberattacks have crippled networks across the world. One instance that hit close to home here in Northeast Ohio: A malware attack installed on City of Akron servers resulted in a disruption of the city’s 3-1-1 information line, with a ransom demand in exchange for its unlocking.

    All organizations at some point will have to deal with a cybersecurity incident that can cause business disruption, lost productivity, lost data and lost money (the Ponemon Institute’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study put the average cost of a data breach at $3.6 million, with the cost-per-compromised-record at $141).

    Threats come in many forms, from many directions

    Cybercrime has grown into an estimated $600-billion industry worldwide. With every new functionality, feature and access port to technology comes new opportunities for cyberthieves and hackers to enter and corrupt networks. Here are the six most common types of attacks:

    Attack No. 1: Hacking/malware. Malicious software including spyware, ransomware, viruses and worms

    Attack No. 2: Phishing. The sending of fraudulent communications that appear to come from a reputable source, typically via email

    Attack No. 3: Man-in-the-middle attacks: AKA Eavesdropping Attacks, these occur when attackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction, most commonly through unsecure public Wi-Fi networks or malware

    Attack No. 4: Denial-of-Service attacks. Flooding systems, servers or networks with traffic to exhaust resources or bandwidth, leading to a fulfillment disruption of legitimate requests

    Attack No. 5: Structured Query Language (SQL) injection: Occurs when an attacker inserts malicious code into a server that uses SQL and forces it to reveal proprietary information

    Attack No. 6: Zero-day exploit: Hits after a network vulnerability is announced but before a solution is implemented

    How can you stay safe?

    Want to learn how you can take steps to protect your data from cyberthreats? Here are five quick but helpful tips to keep your IT safe.

    Cyber-security tip No. 1: Implement a cybersecurity training program

    In its survey of over 1,000 small business owners and C-level executives, information security company Shred-It’s 2018 State of the Industry Report found that 47% identified human error (such as unintentional loss of a device or document, leaving a device unlocked while unattended, etc.) as the catalyst of a cybersecurity breach at their organization. This evidence clearly indicates a disconnect between where employees currently sit in their grasp of secure technology practices and where they should be.

    Make it a priority to integrate a cybersecurity awareness and training program into your organization processes. Some ideas for protocol implementation include:

    • Creating a policy about the use of personal email accounts and social media platforms on work devices;
    • holding quarterly training seminars for recognizing threat indicators, app installs and updates, and Virtual Private Network setup and usage when working remotely;
    • making any training programs a core part of your onboarding program for new employees;
    • bringing in guest cybersecurity speakers and instructors for lunch & learns; and
    • scheduling regular data access audits to ensure that the right employees have appropriate access to information, and that ex-employees don’t have access.

    Cyber-security tip No. 2: Get a firewall solution that protects your entire network

    When evaluating your firewall product, there are many questions to consider, especially:

    • How effectively does your firewall monitor your network’s incoming and outgoing traffic?
    • How well does it prevent viruses and other threatening intrusions?
    • Does your firewall properly manage bandwidth so that your network can operate at peak performance?
    • Does its identity and access management protocols consistently weed the bad users out?

    Your network’s firewall is the dataflow and coverage epicenter of your IT. It needs constant monitoring to ensure that your entire network is both efficient and secure against advanced threats. Cyber-attackers are getting smarter every day, and your firewall needs to have every network entry point protected.

    Cyber-security tip No. 3: Make sure your employees are protected, regardless of where they’re located or connecting

    There has been a shift in workplace dynamics from only office headquarters to a structure involving multiple satellite/home locations, employees with non-traditional hours, and more mobile and remote workspaces—all requiring real-time connectivity on a multitude of devices. Protecting your information everywhere your employees go on your network becomes exponentially more difficult when they’re connecting in myriad places, on an increasing number of devices. Will your cybersecurity setup protect against a data intrusion over an unsecured Wi-Fi network at the local coffee shop? At an an airport gate? In an employee’s hotel room while traveling on business? While answering emails at their child’s soccer practice?

    Not knowing the answers to these questions leaves a huge gap in your cyber-defense and creates opportunities for breachers to leverage a singular entrypoint to create havoc for your entire organization.

    Cyber-security tip No. 4: Be more diligent in conducting ongoing internal threat tests

    Regular phishing simulation tests are a turnkey way to test the effectiveness and recognition of phishing attempts. Such attempts—which are becoming more sophisticated, especially with the explosion of social media platforms—can be successfully stifled using a variety of approaches.

    Additionally, penetration tests—commonly referred to as ‘pen’ tests—should be a dedicated part of your company’s continuing cybersecurity plan. A planned simulated attack on a system using the same tools and techniques that a cyberthief would, it reveals the strengths and vulnerability points in a cyberdefense plan. Such tests should be performed at least quarterly to maintain optimal security levels. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard mandates a regular testing schedule, including immediately after any system changes or upgrades.

    Cyber-security tip No. 5: Consider using single sign-on or multi-factor authentication to buoy password security

    LinkedIn’s 2012 data breach, which resulted in nearly 7 million encrypted passwords posted to a Russian crime site, yielded some interesting insights. Among them, more than one in three passwords were classified as ‘weak’ (easily guessed ones ‘123456’ and ‘password’ are still routinely among the most commonly used; a recycled one; one that can easily be decoded; etc.).

    Look into the advantages of Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) resources, which exist for this express purpose. SSOs leverage other trusted sites to verify users’ identities, then allows them access with a single ID and password (which, because they are verified by other trusted sites, are not held in that site’s database). MFAs grant the user access to a network only after successfully presenting two (or more) pieces of evidence from among:

    • Something they know (i.e. a password).
    • Something they have (i.e. an access card, chip, etc.).
    • Something they are (i.e. fingerprint, voice, etc.).

    A golfer and gamer in his free time, Frank Keogh is also a 15-year IT and cybersecurity expert who is a highly-certified Senior Systems Engineer for TEC Communications.

    TEC Communications is a Cleveland-based Cisco Premier Certified Partner—in fact, the first Cisco technology partner in Northern Ohio—and trusted IT solutions provider celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2019. Cisco’s solutions give employees top-level protection regardless of where they’re located or connecting, and TEC can help train your employees to identify cyberthreats that attempt to access your network via their endpoints. Go to or call us at 440.333.5903 to find out how TEC Communications can help you identify, combat and prevent attacks on your sensitive data.

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  • Next up: Data Disaster: 5 Backup Blunders to Avoid
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  • Data Disaster: 5 Backup Blunders to Avoid

    Your business is just one disaster away from losing all of its data. The key to mitigating this damage is to have a backup recovery plan—but don’t make these five mistakes when you put your plan together.

    At some point and at some level, your organization will experience a data disaster. When that happens, backup and recovery are two necessities you don’t want to have trouble with. However, mistakes do happen. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of data backup and disaster recovery and what mistakes to avoid to experience business continuity after a disaster.

    Malware, loss of power, a crashed server, fire or a disgruntled employee are all reasons you could face a data recovery situation. When that time comes, you will want to make sure you have a fool-proof disaster recovery plan in place.

    Think about it. Are you prepared to handle a disaster? Sure, you think you have it all covered. After all, what are those daily backups for? However, when it comes to restoring your data the trouble can come with how quickly and efficiently you can make it happen. Every minute of downtime could cost you another dollar.

    Many organizations are turned away by the time intensive nature of disaster recovery planning. When a disaster strikes, though, only a properly implemented backup and disaster recovery plan will keep your business afloat.

    Still not convinced. Well, consider that the Federal Emergency Management Agency states that 40% of businesses do not open after a disaster and another 25% will fail within a year.

    Here are a few other statistics about data breaches:

         • A total of 90% of all businesses have suffered a cyber attack.

         • The industry average breach goes undetected for more than eight months.

         • The average organization experiences 1,400 attempts to their network every week.

    Further, ransomware payments in 2016 hit $1 billion, which is up from 2015 payments of $24 million.

         • RELATED: Learn more about surviving a ransomware attack

    Unfortunately, the statistics are not in our favor. It’s important to ensure you have your bases covered when it comes to your organizational disaster recovery plan. Here are some of the most common backup and recovery mistakes enterprises make- and how to avoid them.

    Mistake No. 1: Going it alone

    The responsibility of creating a disaster recovery strategy may fall on the IT department, but it can not fall on them alone. Recovery is an enterprise-wide responsibility that should include users, leaders, financial managers, partners and legal experts. They can help define what common types of disasters to plan for and which applications/data is mission critical. Managed Service Providers can help create, test and implement recovery plans to properly protect business resources. They can help you, along with other members of your organization, prepare for all disaster types from hardware or system malfunctions to human errors.

    Mistake No. 2: Overlooking the people part

    Disaster recovery is heavily involved in IT equipment and data, but it must also account for your physical locations, power supplies, communications and people. Don’t forget to think of things such as offsite locations for employees to work and what they will need to continue operations in case of an emergency. Don’t forget to document your plan in detail and educate your employees on these steps. If your employees are properly educated on the steps to take during and after a disaster, you can get your business up and running quickly and efficiently.

    Mistake No. 3: Not testing for all scenarios

    The next step after establishing your disaster recovery plan is to test. And test regularly under what-if scenarios. If you can’t be confident in your plan under normal conditions, you won’t be comfortable under extreme pressure. Assess your levels of tolerance with each different disaster scenario. While doing this, create a clear recovery point objective (RPO) that will determine your tolerance for lost data. As well as your recovery time objective (RTO) which will outline how much downtime you can afford in minutes, hours and days. The answers to these will vary for different industries and organizations. One thing to keep in mind, the lower the tolerance the higher the cost. Conducting tests can help you identify and mitigate weaknesses while building confidence in your plan.

    Mistake No. 4: Have a backup plan for your backup plan

    What if something goes wrong to your backup plan? Have a backup plan for your backup plan. No disaster recovery plan is fool-proof. Continuously bolster yours by confiding in a managed service provider that builds robust redundancy at secure, off-site locations. At our organization, Netserve365, we have partnered with Iron Mountain, a concurrently maintainable Tier-III designed, 220-feet underground, data center located in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Data that is backed up is stored locally and is replicated to the Iron Mountain Data Center. If your original backup site fails or files become corrupted, you’ll have a secure and reliable data set to pull from.

    Mistake No. 5: Data recovery is a onetime deal

    As business naturally evolves and changes are made, it makes sense your disaster recovery plan must change to align properly. Revisit and update your plan several times a year, as well as whenever big changes are made. Once these updates are implemented, retest your plan to make sure everything is working smoothly.

    While there may never be a completely fool-proof backup and recovery plan, you can definitely create an effective plan that will get you through tough times. With careful planning, regular testing and consistent updates, your plan can withstand whatever comes your way.

    About NetServe365

    NetServe365 delivers a complete range of managed IT services, security services, hosting options and consulting services 24/7/365 worldwide, with our primary markets in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia. We never stop evolving our technologies and operational efficiencies so we can deliver a customer experience and network results far superior to our competitors’. We strive to deliver on every promise, every time because we know who we work for--the partners and customers who put their trust in us. Learn more about NetServe365 here.

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