Working away from the office/home doesn’t have to be complicated. A proper IT Support Team should be able to make working remotely fairly simple whether that be for an entire office, or a single Owner/Manager who needs to do additional work while at home or on vacation. Below are a couple options that we have set up for our Clients and continue to support. All options allow for the documents and applications to stay in a single location. That why there is never the question of “did I save that document to this computer or that computer?”
Option 1: Remote Control of a PC in the Office/Home
This option is very popular for users that work from a single Desktop computer in the office and have specific applications or documents on that computer. It is also an option most IT Service Providers can give you access to using their remote support tool. That way you do not have to pay for a third party software like GoToMyPC or LogMeIn.
How does it work?
– While the user is away from their primary location, they will open another application or website that allows them to remotely control that specific computer as if they were sitting in front of it.
– This can typically be done from any computer, anywhere with a good internet connection. Because of this the user is able to use their personal computer rather than being issued an additional one from the company.
– The computer at the location must be on and cannot be used while the user is accessing it. That is why this is best for someone with a dedicated computer in the office. If this is a shared computer, it does not work out as well.
Option 2: VPN Connection
This option is a little more complicated to set up but is definitely worth the work. It works best for a user that either only accesses data and resources at a specific location. For example, all documents they access are on a network share. Or the user utilizes a Laptop for their work.
How does this work?
– The user will take the laptop home/off site and before starting their work, they will need to start the VPN application and log in. Once that is done, the user has full access to all business resources as if they were sitting in their office.
– Only one computer resource is used. The user does not need to utilize the laptop AND a computer at the office.
– The office location will need to have a compatible router/firewall for this to work. Otherwise the VPN Server software will need to be installed on a dedicated computer that will never be turned off. Most business class routers support VPN connections and allow a certain number of licenses. We recommend TPLink or Netgate (depending on your budget and network complexity) as they support OpenVPN.
Option 3: Everything in the Cloud
This is becoming more and more popular lately. With companies like Microsoft pushing the “Software as a Service” (SaaS) model, they give the ability to keep everything in the cloud. Meaning the way you access your email, create documents and other content, share files, etc. Even applications like Quickbooks are moving to the cloud model, where you can access everything you need from any PC anywhere with an internet connection. One thing to keep in mind with this setup is that you should still have a proper backup of your cloud data.
– As stated above, most any computer from anywhere with an internet connection. I say “most” because depending on the web application, it may require additional software installed on the computer to function properly. If the company doesn’t have a version for your PC or MAC, then you may be slightly limited.
– You have to put a lot of faith and trust in the services you are utilizing. For instance, if you are using Microsoft 365 for everything including storing documents and their service goes down at a critical time, there is nothing that can be done other than wait.
CFLnet is very well versed in setting up any of the above, along with additional or combined options. If your business needs assistance with getting set up to work remotely, please feel free to contact us for a free evaluation.