March 2020: State of IT


tl;dr version: COVID-19 has slowed things down — a lot.

COVID-19 is affecting all of us.

That goes for individuals and businesses. Business operations that we’ve taken for granted for a long time are being thrown out of whack across all industries.

And that includes IT.

Whatever your business’ IT needs are… they’re probably being disrupted right now, and not in a good way.

That’s why we wanted to let you know what’s going on behind the scenes and why IT services aren’t firing on all cylinders right now.

Understanding why this is happening isn’t going to magically solve the problem. But we figure that the more informed we all are, the better off we all are.

So here we go — full disclosure. Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes.

Production has slowed way down

Electronics are largely made in China.

We all know that.

Thing is though… China has stopped a lot of its

And that has affected all of us.

A lot of the factories that produce electronic components (capacitors and resistors for example) are shut down. So we’re stuck.

The companies that use those parts to create communications equipment can’t maintain production. So all the equipment that we used to be able to get ahold of within days — equipment like firewalls, routers, and switches — is now on backorder.

Two things about this:

  1. Money can’t fix the problem. This equipment isn’t expensive — it’s simply unavailable.
  2. Nobody knows when things will be back to normal.

Until overseas production resumes, we’re looking at 1–12 weeks of delay for all equipment — even equipment that we used to be able to get in a few days.

Demand has increased 

Stopping the spread of COVID-19 means isolating ourselves as much as possible.

That means more and more businesses are asking their employees to work from home.

And that can be a challenge.

There are a few ways to support remote work successfully, and each of them requires setup.

For example, before you move dozens (or even hundreds!) of employees onto VPN infrastructure, you’re going to need the right VPN devices and licenses.

That’s a hurdle when even just one business needs to do it.

When thousands of businesses across the country are all trying to do it at the same time, well… we don’t really know what would happen.

Or rather… we didn’t know what would happen. Now we do know. This is the first time in history that so many businesses have mobilized to enable their employees to work remotely all at once.

And because of the production problems we mentioned above, the transition to remote work hasn’t been easy.

You see, Cisco, Juniper, SonicWall, and other network-appliance companies only sell their devices through distribution centers.

And with so many people calling in and ordering devices to get their employees working remotely, distribution centers are getting backed up.

In fact, most distribution centers are at least four days behind when it comes to fulfilling orders.

And even when those orders get fulfilled, setting up the devices and licenses that you’ll need takes time — somewhere in the ballpark of 15–30 hours.

And on top of that, remote employees need equipment like headsets and power bricks/PoE (power over Ethernet) cables for their phones.

That leaves businesses high and dry. Or it at least leaves them waiting longer than they’d like to get employees set up to work from home.

But with distribution centers backed up and appliances in short supply, all anyone can do right now is wait.

That’s the reality of the situation.

And it’s an unfortunate reality, no question.

But that’s why we wanted to be upfront about things.

This is a strange time for everyone.

Hopefully we’ll be able to paint a brighter picture as we keep you informed in the coming weeks.

Affant is a managed IT service provider. Located in Orange County, California, we’ve offered our clients best-in-class IT services for over 20 years.

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