Remote Working: Businesses IT Options

Network and Internet Support and Installation

We have had several customers contact us to ask how they can enable remote working. So that people can work from home and still access all the files at work. We thought you might find it useful if we summarised the most commonly used options.

Remote Working Using VPN – Virtual Private Network 

Remote Working: VPN for Businesses

Overview

VPN software enables you to connect a home computer to the work server via the Internet. So, although you are using the Internet, the connection will be via a private pathway (a VPN ‘tunnel’). A VPN connection encapsulates your data in encrpyted packets. This is a techy way of saying that you can access your data securely.
 
Note this only gives you access to your files and folders. It does not give you access to the software programs on work computers.

What Is Required

You will need a static/fixed IP address provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) at your work location. This means there will be a permanent identity attached to your broadband connection.

You will also require a router that provides VPN features, such as a work suitable Draytek Vigor model.

What It Will Give You

Access to your server folders and files.

 

Security and GDPR Implications

With this solution your files are kept on the server, not on the home computer. Therefore malware on the home computer can not be transferred directly to your server via the connection. Note, however, that your personnel would be able to copy files and folders from their home computer to the server (and vice versa) if they choose. Also, who has access to the home computer will be managed by the personnel at home, not you.

Remote Working using VPN And RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol)

VPN and RDP for Businesses

Overview

If you have VPN access you can then optionally use RDP to take control of your work computer. RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) is something that is available on all Microsoft Windows Professional computers and is free to use.

What is Required

The VPN access to your company network and then the work computer that you will be accessing requires a static IP address.

What It Will Give You

Complete access to your work computer – giving you access to all the files and folders on that computer.

Security and GDPR Implications

As for VPN.

Remote Access Software (GoToMyPC, TeamViewer, etc)

Remote Access Software

Overview

There are lots of companies that offer remote access software solutions to access computers from home. So, for example, at Technology Tamed we use Teamviewer to remotely access your computers. You would do a similar thing to access your work computer from home.

You will find that there are lots of choices, with differing costs. Be aware that some of them require you to sign up for a yearly subscription.

What Is Required

You will have to sign up to a remote access software solution.

What it Will Give You

Complete access to your work computer – giving you access to all the files and folders on that computer.

Security and GDPR Implications

As for VPN. 

Remote Working Using Office 365 Sharepoint

Remote Working: Cloud Options

Overview

If you have an Office 365 Business subscription, this normally comes with Sharepoint. This provides central storage for files and folders online. If you want these can be synchronised to home computers. Note this only gives you access to your files and folders. It does not give you access to your software programs on your work computers.

What is Required

A suitable Office 365 subscription.
 
Once you have the subscription you will then need to upload the files and folders that you want people to access remotely.

What It Will Give You

Access to your server folders and files.

Security and GDPR Implications

Note that in theory it is not necessary to set up synchronisation with the home computers, but this often happens without users knowledge. So, as your files can be potentially synchronised to home computers, you need to ensure Internet Security on the home computer is good. Note, that your personnel would be able to copy files and folders from their home computer to the server (and vice versa) if they chose. Also, who has access to the home computer will be managed by the personnel at home, not you.

Google Drive, Dropbox, etc

Remote Working: Cloud Options

Overview

There are lots of options for file storage on the Internet, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. These all provide central storage for files and folders online. Many can be synchronised to the home computer.

Note this only gives you access to your files and folders. It does not give you access to the software programs on your work computers.

What is Required

You need to sign up to the service provided – ie sign up to Google Drive or Dropbox.

Uploading of files and folders that you want people to access remotely. Note uploading a few files and providing access to a limited number of users is normally free. There may be costs though the more you upload and the more people who have access.

Remote Working: What It Will Give You

Access to your shared folders and files.

Security and GDPR Implications

As per Office 365 Sharepoint.

Rebecca Mansbridge
March 2020