More businesses, big and small, are considering the adoption of remote access service now than ever before. With remote access integrated into your business’ system and IT infrastructure, your employees would be able to access their email, files, and everything they need to perform daily tasks wherever they may be.
But is remote access service really something your business is ready to adopt? In this article, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages that come with integrating remote access with your systems and software, and the best ways to go about doing it.
What is Remote Access?
Remote access gives your teams the ability to access your business’ software and communications technologies from beyond your company’s local network. This gives you and your teams the option to perform tasks such as:
- Accessing, sending, and receiving their company email from any location
- Creating project workspaces that can be shared with clients through an online network
- Enabling remote login into vital databases from home or around the world
Simply put, remote access gives your staff the option of working on your company network without being on your premises. This comes with its own pros and cons, both the obvious and the not-so-obvious. For example, having some people work from home can make the office less crowded and thus more productive, but it can also make it difficult to keep certain team members plugged in and connected.
Remote access is a great option for most businesses, both large corporations and small enterprises. The type of remote access network you choose to set up (and the tools you set it up with) depend on your exact goals with remote working. Below we go into the advantages and disadvantages of working with remote access networks.
Advantages of Remote Access
1) Flexible Access
The first and perhaps most important benefit of remote access is the flexibility and ease. When certain complications make working in the office difficult if not impossible, ensuring business continuity is essential.
With remote access set up, your team can stay connected from the comfort of their own homes, meaning tasks can continue being accomplished without missing a beat. This also gives you greater flexibility with structuring your team – keep them plugged in and connected while they travel to conferences, and perhaps hire someone on the other side of the world.
2) Flexible Set-Up and Costs
As a business owner, you might be wondering: how much is all this going to cost? The good news is that the software, hardware, and tools you use to set up your remote access network are absolutely flexible and depend entirely on what your goals may be.
Smaller businesses generally take advantage of cloud computing services for easiest set-up of remote access. Depending on the level of access and control your team needs, you may be fine just connecting yourselves to online tools that are readily available.
Online collaboration systems like Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox are great ways to store and share files online, with the same authorization options that you could expect with your own network. There is also the possible option of remote desktop connection software, which would work as a direct remote control for your office computer. This solution is best when your office computers have certain tools or software that simply isn’t available on home computers.
3) Full Control on Authorization and Access
Different team members require different levels of authorization, and setting up your remote access network gives you the option of setting various levels of authorization. Your staff should only be able to access areas of your network that they have been given authority to access, meaning you can make certain sensitive areas available only to key senior members. For extra security, certain tools require two-factor authentication when accessing files.
Administrators have total control over who can go where and the histories of what people do on your shared network. In the unfortunate circumstances that an audit trail is required, administrators can track every user who has viewed and accessed files, as well as the timestamps of these events.
4) Centralized Storage and Backups
There is nothing worse than losing data due to a completely avoidable mishap like a computer crash. When critical data is stored on standalone workstations, there is little guarantee that your team is keeping regular backups of everything you can’t afford to lose.
Thankfully, transitioning to a remote access and the network that comes with it gives you the advantage of passively backing up your valuable data on a regular schedule. This procedure can be automated to create backups on a daily or weekly schedule. And with a centralized storage network, you never have to worry about a single computer crashing and losing all the data stored on that system.
Many businesses benefit from integrating remote access in ways that have nothing to do with remote work, but simply just by upgrading and updating outdated, vulnerable systems.
5) Shared Resources; Greater Efficiency and Collaboration
On a network, your team will become accustomed to just how easy it is to share and distribute information, making collaboration simpler and more seamless than it has ever been.
Even if your staff is working at the office instead of working from home, they will still benefit from the advantages of having a remote access network. No more papers or office-to-office distribution; simply share all your resources on the network and keep the tasks going.
Disadvantages of Remote Access
1) Security Issues
While there are many advantages to remote access, there are some disadvantages that must be considered as well, the biggest of which is potential security issues. Although remote working is safer than ever before, there are still plenty of risks that need to be addressed. According to GDPR legislation, any personally identifiable information must be stored in a secure, limited area.
For maximum security, every device that connects to the network needs to be protected and updated with firewalls and anti-virus software. This includes laptops, computers, mobile phones, and tablets. Every person on the team must also be vigilant with their passwords, creating difficult passwords that can’t be easily hacked. A single weakness in your system can make the entire network vulnerable.
2) Version Problems and Data Liabilities
Your staff can potentially cause issues with no malicious intent when using remote access service. One common problem we see with businesses newly adjusting to shared files on a network is version control – some people might have different versions of an important document, with critical variations on the different versions.
Another problem is the risk of team members storing data on their own devices, which can sometimes violate company policies. To avoid having issues like these, your staff needs to be educated on proper etiquette when dealing with shared files on the network.
3) Hardware Issues Still Need On-Site Work
For businesses that choose to use remote desktop connection software – where your home computer acts as a remote control for your office computer – you can run into the frustrating issue of sudden and unexpected hardware issues on your office computer.
If the office computer freezes up and requires a hard restart, it might be completely impossible to fix this issue remotely. Certain hardware issues will always require on-site solutions, meaning you should always have a Plan B to work around remote desktop connection limitations.
4) Difficulties with Work Culture
Businesses that are new to having a remote team – whether a team that is entirely remote or just partially remote – often struggle with the issue of evolving their work culture to accommodate staff who are not physically present in the office.
When setting up your remote access network, you need to think about whether your system of communication will keep your remote team members plugged in, connected, and totally informed. Help your team learn how to distribute and share information without having everyone in the same room. Lines of communication need to be redrawn; people need to know who is responsible for sharing what.
5) Complex Software and Hardware: Why You Need Abacus
Setting up a remote access service is never easy, especially without IT specialists on your team. There are countless hardware and software choices to consider, and knowing the differences between all available options is the best way to tailor a remote access setup plan for your business.
At Abacus, we are ready to help you integrate remote access service to your business. Whether you need enterprise remote desktop solutions with easy scalability but difficult set-up, or primarily a cloud-based solution for smaller businesses, our IT management experts at Abacus can help you find and implement the best remote access solution for your business. We will assist you in considering:
- Your security needs
- The ease-of-use for your network, and assisting your team in operating and maintaining your remote access service
- The initial setup
- The costs of your ideal software and hardware needs