She Asks IT, He Answers IT

Remote Access: Get to Your Data Anywhere, Anytime!

She Asks IT

Advances in mobile devices and wireless technology have completely re-defined office space. In fact, according to a recent article by BusinessNewsDaily’s David Mielach, offices are on the verge of “extinction.”

An office used to be an easily identifiable, four-walled area. Desk with computer, monitor and printer…check. Filing cabinet filled with labeled manila folders…check. Stapler, paper clips, pens and Post-its…check, check, check, check.

Those checklists are now non-existent. Simply turning an orange “open” sign to “closed” and locking the door no longer means work for the day is done. Customers may need help. Emails may need attention. Emergencies can happen. So, business owners and managers need access to their data anywhere, anytime.

Laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other devices have, in essence, created “virtual” offices. I myself have worked online at desks in hotel rooms, booths in McDonalds, even in the driver’s seat of my car (safely parked, of course.)

But what if I want to access more than just the Internet? What if I desperately need to access company files, important emails and/or presentation documents on my business’s server from another state or another country? How can I ensure that no unauthorized person has access to the same data?

In other words, what exactly can I access remotely and how can I access it securely?

He Answers IT

In today’s business world, there is no such thing as “too much” access - or, at least, “too much” secure reliable access by your “need-to-know” employees. Depending on what kind of access your business needs and from where, simple, effective, and secure remote access solutions are available, and they are probably more affordable than you realize.

So, what information can you access remotely? Absolutely everything. And what kind of devices can you use to access “absolutely everything?” Smartphones, iPads, MACs, laptops, home PCs, or entire remote offices.

I have helped a client use a MacBook to securely access marketing materials on an office server hundreds of miles away – and I have never even met the client, except over the phone. Your business's account representatives can update expense reports in QuickBooks from an interstate rest stop, using wireless internet cards from AT&T or Verizon. If you can imagine it, you can do it today with computers.

Your data may reside in two places: inside your private network or outside in the “cloud.” Either location may be accessed remotely.

To enable remote access to data on your private office server, you should first install a good hardware firewall. This will monitor and control access to your private network, and it can easily be integrated into your existing infrastructure. Remote Desktops and Virtual Private Networks (“VPNs”) are common methods of connection to corporate networks. All connections can and should be secure and encrypted. This is possible with just a little setup.

People are getting more comfortable with cloud computing and rightfully so. Large, reputable cloud providers excel at securing their customers data, mainly because they know they have to go the extra security mile in order to “secure” their users’ trust. These cloud servers can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. The most common cloud solution is remote hosting a large software application, but other services are available, such as Exchange email and the company collaboration portal, SharePoint. (For more details on what the cloud is and available cloud solutions, click here to read our recent blog post on the topic.)

Every company’s remote access needs are unique. What you need to access and how you will work with that data will determine how you should implement your remote access setup. But, rest assured, if you do find yourself requiring a way to access to company information away from the office, Relia IT can help you find the right secure and affordable remote access solution to get IT done.