Summertime is the time to recharge and relax with family and friends. As autumn quickly approaches and families prepare for school to start, business owners and employees alike are working to squeeze in that one final vacation. However, today’s always-connected business environment means unforeseen emergencies might come up which would require an employee – whether it’s the owner, accountant, PR manager or IT specialist – to access the company network urgently while away.
In this case, it is important to have tools in place for remote access to prevent profit-killing issues from crippling the business. Small businesses in particular can be significantly affected by any disruption to the IT infrastructure or delay in addressing business critical issues. However, the need for secure remote access goes beyond summer vacation. In fact, according to a recent survey released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23 percent of employees completed some or all of their professional work at home last year. This percentage includes home businesses, which employ employees working remotely full-time from dispersed areas.
Whether at the beach or at home, the need to secure remote access to company networks is critical. And, because every employee deserves to enjoy their time off, they should have the tools to make certain processes automatic and only be alerted if something goes wrong. Almost as importantly, they should have the ability to quickly resolve issues so they can get back to their much deserved vacation, or back to their what they were working on before the alert came through.
To help small businesses improve remote working capabilities, TeamViewer, provider of software for remote support and online meetings, put together a list of ten must-have technologies and features for leaders to implement:
Remote Access Solutions
Be it for spontaneous technical remote support or remote access to office files, users should utilize solutions that allow them to control their computers remotely as if they were sitting right in front of them. With workers constantly on the go, access to company network from a mobile device is a growing need. Remote access solutions that best fit business needs often offer apps compatible with a breadth of mobile devices, including Android and iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch).
Leveraging web-based applications to handle business tasks allows employees to work from any location, while transferring most data-security responsibility to a third-party vendor. These groups are often better equipped and staffed to protect company data and mitigate security issues that may arise.
Security and Privacy
Ideal remote access solutions should provide high security for users. There are a number of different security standards a vendor may have in place to protect business information, including client-to-client encryption. This means that the data is encrypted before it is transmitted to the server keeping business information secure.
The two-factor authentication is another important security feature; especially important for a company in a regulated industry that needs to stay HIPPA or PCI compliant as it creates an added layer of security to protect accounts from unauthorized access. This generally requires employees to log in using a password, as well as a uniquely created passcode delivered to a designated device for one time use. File transfer functions which require additional, manual confirmation of the remote partner, and solutions which do not allow invisible control over a computer also lend additional security.
Wake-on-LAN allows users to wake up unattended computers even when they are turned off, anytime and from any location. Some remote access software enable users to configure their office computers, so they can work within their trusted network while away from the office. This requires certain high security standards to be met, but with Wake-on-LAN employees can access the data on their work computer directly from any location. And with the option to turn off an office computer before leaving for vacation, knowing that the employee can turn it on remotely if they need access to it, businesses can also save energy, and ultimately budget.
File Transfer Capabilities
With the ability to wake up a computer from any location, businesses should also implement the capability to transfer files to and from a remote device. If there is a document on an employee’s computer at the office that they need access to while away, certain software allows them to drag and drop, copy and paste, or use cloud storage to copy individual files or entire folders within seconds to any location. This feature allows for increased productivity and efficiency when working remotely. It’s also a great way to circumvent the size limit enforced by email servers.
Online Meetings and Online Presentations
Even when employees are on vacation, the need for a last minute meeting to join in on key decisions can sometimes be unavoidable. The best remote access solutions for businesses are those that allow them to participate in or start an online meeting, video call or teleconference with great ease. And if the solution has a mobile app, employees can easily take part in an online meeting while they are on the road.
Some software includes a wide selection of tools to make meetings lively and interactive, including video call, VoIP, chat, teleconferencing, whiteboard, file sharing and screenshots. This turns any last minute online meeting into a productive team experience from any location. With all the key players able to meet from any location and see the same information in real-time, thereby fostering collaboration. According to a survey from ClearCompany, 97 percent of employees and executives surveyed believe that lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a task or project.
Remote access solutions should include a management platform to streamline all remote support aspects from an administrator standpoint. With a management console in place, the IT administrator can keep track of all accounts under his watch and will be able to determine who can remotely access certain computers, create new user accounts for new employees, and define and enforce settings for all software installations.
Along the same mindset of having a management console that acts as a central database for remote access accounts is the need to implement application monitoring. Application monitoring solutions provide all the information businesses need about the availability and performance of their applications, servers, and databases from a single dashboard, and eliminates any problems associated with user experience before they impact the business.
Automatic Alerts and Notifications
Employees may also want to be able to monitor their applications and devices remotely, in order to oversee important hardware and software status information from afar. The best application monitoring solutions include automate alerts and notifications to accomplish this. Low hard drive memory and outdated antivirus software are examples of notifications that should be automatically delivered to the user.
As companies look to grow in today’s competitive marketplace it’s essential that the solutions they choose to fit their needs today, in addition to meeting their needs as they grow. Solutions for remote access should have the ability to support ten to tens of thousands of concurrent users on a single system. The software provider should not set any boundaries for company growth.
The fast-paced business world requires employees to quickly react to the demands of a competitive environment. To succeed in any business, whether being run it out of a home office or operating on a global scale, it’s imperative that technologies are in place that allow business owners and their employees to securely access networks remotely and keep businesses operations functioning properly – such as those provided by TeamViewer – whether from the beach or a home office.