We live in an age where people aspire to be connected all of the time. Some of this connectivity is for personal purposes, however a lot of our desire to be “Wired In” is to stay on top of our work.
It all started with the smart device that allowed us to receive our emails no matter where we were which gave us the precious flexibility to respond around the clock. From there we continued to become more and more connected with smaller more powerful laptops, netbooks for surfing and now the iPad and tablet devices that can basically act as your office on the go.
Office on the Go?
Nowadays, businesses want their employees to have complete flexibility. Meaning they want for them to be able to have access to 100% of their files, applications and data from anywhere so they can work from not only the office, but from their home, their car (in park of course) and while at their children’s soccer games.
The problem is providing this type of continuity requires more than just a killer device. It requires integration between the company’s various business applications in a way that is easy to use but also secure. Begging the question, what does it take to make remote work, work?
Working Remote: Securing Local and Cloud Applications
One of the biggest challenges of setting up remote work is making sure it is done securely (we will talk more about this soon!). The reason this is such a big challenge is even with the proper tools for securely accessing remote files or application in place, many times the user makes it far too easy for someone to gain access to their secure environment.
Usually this happens because password restrictions aren’t set up tightly enough so people use generic passwords like “Password” or “1234” etc…
When setting up secure access for employees so they can work from anywhere, it should be done using SSL based VPN with password restrictions. The VPN will create a secure tunnel between the public internet and the local servers that are being accessed while the password restrictions can be used to force the employees to change their passwords regularly and setup passwords that are strong enough not to provide an outsider with easy access.
Of course now we must also consider cloud applications.
Many companies are moving some of their productivity or business systems to the cloud. Often creating a hybrid environment where some tools require VPN but many others do not.
Cloud is great for flexible remote access from anywhere you have internet access, however this also can greatly limit IT’s visibility into securing data.
While you cannot control the security of the cloud vendor, we recommend due diligence as to the providers security practices and setting up a very strict password policy for cloud applications so employees make it difficult for outsiders to gain access.
Making Remote Work Easy
Perhaps the most important thing when it comes to remote work is making it easy for the employee to embrace. Whether they are telecommuters who work from home every day or an onsite employee looking to use flex time, remote work is a powerful way to work more effectively and efficiently from anywhere you may be.
This means setting up simple steps for the employee to follow in order to gain access to their required tools, files and data and of course having a team to support remote workers when things just don’t work the way they should (Trust us when we say this happens).
As an IT Service Provider, we have found that deploying remote workforces is something that can be done but takes a lot of consideration. In many cases we work closely with clients to help them deploy a secure and easy to use remote work solution so they can know that their data is safe and that the support will be there when they need it.
Going remote, if you haven’t already is great for allowing your business to be more productive. If you are ready to learn more about making remote work, work then we’d love to hear from you.