Remote Access Solutions for Businesses: What You Need to Know
Remote work, or working from home, is becoming more and more popular among several types of businesses. Sometimes called telecommuting, it helps companies cut overhead costs and facilitate a more “work on your own schedule” situation for their employees. And, in other cases, remote work also allows employees to get things done for work even when they must handle time sensitive personal tasks that would otherwise require them to take a day off (like going to the bank to handle a loan or going to driver services to change their license address). However, companies considering remote work solutions may find the breadth of options available overwhelming. Before making your company a remote work opportunity, consider these options in order to ensure you make the right choice for your company.
How Do You Want to Enable Remote Work for Your Business?
There are multiple ways to establish remote work opportunities for businesses. There are complete Virtual Private Networks, or you may choose to have remote desktop access. Other options may involve setting up a cloud computing network and simply sharing files between home offices to create a virtual office setup. How you want to operate your remote work solutions makes a huge difference in what kind of solution will be best for your company.
Virtual Private Network Pros and Cons
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, hold a number of advantages for businesses who want to provide remote work opportunities. For one thing, the VPN itself isn’t vulnerable to direct attack, and encryption protocols can make the transfer of information between the VPN and the end users (employees working remotely) very secure, but they are more difficult to set up than remote desktop access. Unfortunately, the biggest threat to a VPN-based remote access solution rests with the end users. PCs that aren’t protected could transfer viruses and malware to the VPN if they aren’t secure. Additionally, with an always-on broadband connection, connection to a VPN can make it vulnerable if employees don’t disconnect.
However, these threats can be addressed with proper software, passwords, security policies, and configuration (particularly, locking out users after too many failed password attempts and disconnecting PCs after idle for a certain period of time). These can be great options for those companies who want to offer either intermittent access or full-time access to remote work solutions, but only so long as the remote devices are secured and protocols are followed.
Remote Desktop Access Solutions Pros and Cons
There are three ways to enable remote desktop access: through remote access software, through enterprise remote desktop, or via direct remote access. Direct remote access can be done on most Windows computers through “Remote Desktop Connection.” By knowing the IP address or computer and network name (if enabled), an employee can connect to a computer and log in using their access credentials. This is certainly a simple matter, but again, requires that proper security protocols are followed to ensure that the system is not vulnerable to attack. Another problem with this is that it can be difficult to remotely restart a computer that has completely frozen and the hardware issues that may arise still need to be addressed on-site.
Remote access software solutions can create an even simpler option for accessing a single PC remotely, but these tend to be a bit less secure at their most basic (consumer) level. However, it is important to note that business-level options do come with significant security improvements, though there can still be limited centralized control of employee login and remote access. The company-level solutions do come at an increased cost, as well, whereas direct remote access is typically free. Still, for smaller companies, these options can be quite helpful for intermittent work-from-home opportunities.
Enterprise remote desktop solutions can be quite readily scalable, but they can also be more difficult to set up. What most companies like about these solutions is that they provide a seamless experience where the remote access feels mostly the same regardless of the type of device used. These may also operate through hosted solutions, which can come at an increased cost, but the ease of setup is also significantly higher than trying to establish this infrastructure on your own.
Overall, remote desktop access solutions are typically best for companies that offer intermittent work-from-home (or on the road) opportunities while still having a physical office space that is regularly used.
Cloud Network Remote Work Solutions
Rather than offering intermittent remote work options, some companies choose to forego the office space overhead altogether and instead opt to work from a complete virtual office. Again, there are many ways to do this, whether you want to work with a VPN or cloud computing network in order to enable this. Cloud remote work solutions may offer some additional flexibility and cost benefits, but they hold similar risks to BYOD policies, as it becomes more difficult to control what your employees do with their hardware.
The Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Remote Access Solution
When deciding on a type and provider of remote access and work solutions, it’s important to consider the following:
- Security: How secure is the option you’re looking at, how dependent is it on user ability to follow protocols, and have you developed appropriate protocols to protect your company’s crucial data?
- Ease-of-Use: Can your employees and your IT department easily operate and maintain this solution?
- Ease-of-Setup: How much time and effort are involved in the establishment of this solution? Will it cause any sort of downtime in operations during the transition?
- Cost: Do the benefits outweigh the costs? How much does it cost versus how much will it save your company?
Setting Up Your Remote Access Solution Infrastructure: Contacting Professionals
Setting up your remote access solution can be quite an undertaking, so you might want to talk to the professionals about properly setting up your infrastructure, whether you choose cloud services, a VPN, or remote desktop options. With our video conferencing, cloud services, network installation and design, and other specialties, Customer 1st Communications can help you decide and establish a remote access solution that works best for your company. For a free consultation, call 855-TECH-C1C (855-832-4212) or contact us online.