Microsoft is giving free six-month access to its Teams app to help companies with connecting employees to each other.

Companies May Reduce Face-to-Face Deals, Ramp Up Web Security

Even though business meetings are falling off precipitously in the wake of COVID-19, some companies may benefit from long-term changes fostered by using technology over travel to cut deals, according to an opinion piece on by columnist Jim McGregor.

“The opportunity lies in changes to how business is conducted. Despite advancements in technology, a significant amount of business is still conducted “face-to-face” or f2f,” McGregor wrote. “Some of this is cultural, especially in Asia. Some of this is strategic (like being able to read body language during negotiations). However, much of it is due to the lack of an effective technology for interaction.”

While voice and video conferencing is popular for tech collaboration, it doesn’t seem to close deals like attending trade shows and conventions, he pointed out. Otherwise that sector would not have continue to grow to $15.5 billion in 2019.

However, McGregor, who lives in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona, said he thinks that his extensive travels could be reduced if tech companies are motivated to take advantage of the situation to develop and perfect online and AR/VR tech for businesses.

“If we can take that technology and combine it with the real-life experience of demoing new products and talking in real-time with company representatives, we may have a new model for trade shows and in-person meetings,” McGregor wrote.

While that could lead to new ways of doing business, now many tech companies that are sending employees home to work remotely are dealing with a lag time in improving security and training for employees who work on sensitive projects that hackers would love to intercept or sell, according to a story on

Silicon Valley companies Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce all sent many of their employees home to work. While typically more savvy than most companies about ensuring their online security, only 4% of 400 small business operators told Nationwide Insurance that they implemented special precautions to prevent hackers.

“Users in a telecommuting situation often cut corners in order to stay productive, such as using public cloud file-sharing and other services. All of these behaviors increase corporate cybersecurity risks,” Craig LaCava, an executive with Optiv Security, a Denver-based company that helps large global companies integrate cybersecurity tools, told

Remote workers are probably more susceptible to fall for opening what appears to be work emails disguised as urgent messages from executives about the virus, for instance. Such a scam worked effectively for hackers recently.

“Check Point Security, an Israeli cybersecurity firm, tracked a phishing email disguised as a World Health Organization message about the coronavirus that reached 10% of all organizations in Italy, the hardest-hit nation in Europe…” the online magazine wrote.

Already at least one company, Microsoft,  is promoting the work-at-home trend by offering customers and partners free six-month trials of the premium version of its Teams chat app in response to the virus threat. published a story on how AI companies are planning to adapt to presenting more information online, instead of at conferences, too.

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