With only a few remote workers to manage each worker can be managed individually and there are even free tools out there, you can use to set up access to their office computer from home.
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Files and Data Access
Access to your applications can be pointless if you don’t have access to your files and data. Depending on your access type you will have access to your files if different ways.
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Phones can be either super simple or mildly complicated. Be careful just assuming remote workers can and should just use their cellphones. That can create more problems both now as well as down the road.
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Other Tools That Might Be Helpful
Just having access to your files and data may not be enough for your company or team to work effectively from home. From team chat apps and video conferencing software to file sharing service and remote support options.
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Access from web apps to full desktop access is easy to get up and running. Check out the information below and let CHS Tech Solutions know if you need any help
Depending on the software your remote workers need access to you may be able to get away with just web apps. If you use Exchange, Office 365, Gmail, or a number of other email hosting services they will have a web access site where you can get access to your email, calendar, contacts and even shared files. additionally with Google docs, Microsoft Word, Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel and may other desktop applications available as websites you may even be able to get away with no additional software for standard office activities like creating a document or responding to email.
If your users have laptops and they need access to company files then a VPN is your best bet. Most routers and firewalls can do a client VPN setup and your laptop acts like it was in the office from anywhere in the work. Printers, Email, shared folders, and applications all work the same as if you were in the office, But things might be slower over a VPN as EVERYTHING must go over the internet and is then dependent on both the internet connection at the remote location as well as at the office. Youtube or your owners manual for you router should contain setup information for you VPN.
If your users will be using a home computer to access a desktop or computer in the office we need to look at a remote screen sharing application like the paid software GoToMyPC or the free MSP360 Remote Assist software. These programs allow you to “see” your office computer from anywhere in the world. You can work as if you were sitting in the office. Multiple monitors and home printers can be an issue with a setup like this but any issue should be able to be worked through.
File and Data Access
Depending on your type of access from above accessing your files or application data should be handled in a few different ways.
With access to web apps like Google Docs and Microsoft Word on the web and even email through outlook.com or Gmail your access files and data may need to be moved to a cloud solution like google drive, Microsoft one drive or dropbox. Moving files to this location will allow document access while working remotely as well as the ability to send and share that document with others both in and out of your company.
If you are accessing your company network over a VPN your files and data should be accessible very similarly to when you are in your office. If you usually access your document in a shared folder or maybe a mapped network drive you should be able to access these files the same way over the VPN. Please be aware your files and application may be slower than usual as the VPN speed is dependent on the internet at both the remote workers’ location as well as at the office.
Using Screen sharing allows the easiest access to your data and files. Your computer should look and act exactly like it does when you are sitting in your office. Application and documents will be close to the same speed as when you are in the office.
Phones remain an integral part of the daily business landscape. Take away phones and you may find your business struggles to communicate effectively with clients and customers. However, just replacing the business phone system with cellphones may cause their other set of issues. If no one is at the office, everyone is on their cellphones and the main number starts to ring, who can answer it. if you have it forwarded and someone answers it how do you transfer it to the correct person. If instead of transferring it you have the correct person call them back now your remote worker is giving out their private cellphone to a client that they may not want to have that kind of access. Or maybe you as the manager or business owner do not want your cellphone number to become public knowledge.
Cellphones are easy and convenent everyone already has one and maybe the company even pays for them. But hey also come with several issues. If no one is at the office, everyone is on their cellphones and the main number starts to ring, who can answer it. Same thing if a user has a direct dial. If you have it forwarded and someone answers it how do you transfer it to the correct person. If instead of transferring it you have the correct person call them back now your remote worker is giving out their private cellphone to a client that they may not want to have that kind of access. Or maybe you as the manager or business owner do not want your cellphone number to become public knowledge. Cellphones can work but be aware of the issues they may cause both now and down the road should this situation last a few weeks or months.
Remote Phone access to your office system
Depending on your office phone system you might have something called a DISA Number where you can call your main number from your cellphone then access your system, voicemail, dial by extension, even make outbound calls all as if they are coming from your desk phone. Your outbound calls will look like they are coming from your office. This may be a way to mitigate some of the issues of having your remote workers use their cellphones.
Cloud Based VOIP System
A VoIP Phone system or a Cloud-based phone system offers the greatest flexibility with regards to handling the phone issues with remote workers. In many cases you can just take your desk phone home with you and it will ring and function as if it was in the office. Depending on the system you are using you may need to make a few modifications to your router or the firewall to accommodate this voice traffic from the internet.