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Clearwater cyber group calls for state action, Tampa-St. Pete companies lend a hand and other info you need to know

Margie Manning



ConnectWise has launched Hand Wash Karaoke to support small business IT providers.

(ISC)² Inc. is calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to implement a stay-at-home order statewide to limit the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.

Public health and the economy depend on swift action by the governor, said David Shearer, CEO of (ISC)², based in Clearwater and the world’s largest nonprofit association of certified cybersecurity professionals.

“Social distancing alone is not an effective solution to this problem, and residents are still congregating closely in great numbers on our beaches and in our public spaces, increasing the risk of further viral spread,” Shearer wrote. “By asking residents to stay in their homes and permitting only essential services and personnel to operate, you would be giving Florida a better chance to stem the tide of this pandemic and speed a return to normalcy.”

See the full letter here: (ISC)2 Letter to Governor DeSantis.3.24.2020_FINAL

DeSantis has said he does not think a statewide stay-at-home order is needed because some counties in the state haven’t reported any cases of coronavirus.

In lieu of state action, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties are putting in place their own “safer at home” measures, and the chairman of the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners, Mike Moore, is calling for a regional approach.

At Wednesday’s Pinellas County commission meeting, there was concern expressed about making sure the deaf community knew about the safer at home order. Commission Chair Pat Gerard responded, by making a video announcement, complete with captions and a sign language interpreter.

Several local companies have stepped up with products and solutions to address the crisis.

• With a growing number of corporate employees working from home, Spirion, a St. Petersburg data privacy firm, is making available no-cost resources to help both remote employees and business implement a “privacy-first” work environment. The products search remote workforce computers for sensitive data and help identify personally identifiable information such as social security, credit card and bank account numbers, so remote workers can take steps to secure it, Spirion said in a news release.

• MyArea Network, a Tampa company which publishes entertainment and lifestyle websites in cities around the United States, has launched a new voucher program to help hospitality and small businesses feeling the Covid-19 pinch activate customers and generate revenue.

The program is different from gift certificates, Scott Conlon, founder and CEO, said in a blog post. “With gift certificates, a customer may pay $50 now to receive $50 in the future. With vouchers, a discount is added so a customer may pay $50 to receive $75 in the future,” Conlon wrote.

The vouchers have no upfront costs, he said. More details are here.

• Here’s a little bathroom humor from ConnectWise, a Tampa software and managed IT services firm. The company is doing a Hand Wash Karaoke challenge to support small business IT providers — the companies that help local restaurants, cafes, doctors’ offices, marketing firms and others work smarter and more securely with technology. Participants can sing a song of their choice while washing their hands or can donate $50 to the ConnectWise Foundation at to donate.

Elizabeth Bassler, senior manager of media relations at ConnectWise, challenged me to take part.

• If you’ve got some time on your hands while staying “safer at home,” you might be taking time to declutter and cleaning out your closets, drawers and cabinets. To encourage spring cleaning while remaining at home, Clearwater-based moving and junk removal company College HUNKS is offering a new no-contact junk pickup program. Customers can reserve the service online or over the phone, then place unwanted items in the driveway, garage, backyard, or front yard, and one to two College HUNKS employees will haul the items away. The company said it is taking safety precautions to keep workers safe, including employee temperature checks and disinfecting trucks.

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