Working From Home?

Working From Home

Working from home may feel impossible for some small businesses, we have seen accountants, recruitment agency, and even some marketing firms fail to vacate offices even during lockdown.

Here at Liberate IT we’ve tried to clarify the options for remote working, to help shed some light on solutions you may not have considered. These options could help your company work from home during lockdowns and keep your small business open all hours…

  1. VPN
    Probably the better-known option. A VPN works by tunneling traffic to your office or cloud resources. In a small business case, this means setting up a server, or firewall in the office to accept incoming VPN connections from your staff at home. You would pre-install a small piece of software on your laptops or home computers which then requires a username and password to connect – then it is as if you are in the office! Any traffic to servers, printers or file shares is sent down the VPN to the office, while internet traffic can continue to use your home internet connection to avoid excess traffic to the office. We advise using two factor authentication to improve the security of your VPN solution.
  2. Remote Web Workplace (RWW)
    Not quite as fully featured as a VPN, but this method doesn’t require any software or pre-configuration on your computer. An admin will set up a private website on your server, where you can log in to access file shares or even connect to a computer in the office. Once connected to a computer in the office this is as if you were working in the office, and can be faster than VPN, especially when accessing large applications such as Sage or LOB applications.
  3. Direct RDP
    This method is not advisable due to the poor encryption used by RDP, and it will open your office firewall up voiding any security certification. We have only mentioned this so you know what to look out for and can hopefully improve your remote access. Direct RDP will take the form of a simple shortcut on your desktop that you click, and this then connects you to a computer or server in the office (notice the .rdp extension on any desktop icons) RDP should only be used when there is an additional layer of encryption such as through RWW or VPN first. If you are worried you may be using direct RDP, please contact Liberate IT today and we’ll happily check your connection free of charge and help to point you in the right direction.
  4. 3rd Party Applications – TeamViewer, ScreenConnect, Splashtop, LogMeIn
    You have no doubt encountered at least one of the above remote working applications. These are typically pre-installed on your laptop, and on a computer in the office so you can work on the office computers as if you were in front of them. These are very effective and easy to use. Data is encrypted to enhance security and the connection is normally protected by a username and password, but we strongly advise using two factor authentication (2FA) or multi factor authentication, as these solutions are accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

In conclusion, we advise sticking to a securely configured VPN or 3rd party application. This should be only accessible to your employees, using two-factor authentication. Proper staff training is key to ensure your solution is used in a secure manner, and passwords are kept secure, complex, and changed often.

If you have any questions about the above IT solutions or are struggling to work from home, please email or call 0115 684 8800 and we’ll try to answer any of your questions and hopefully improve this article for future readers. Our award-winning IT helpdesk responds immediately to all our clients and community. We offer IT services covering The Midlands, including Nottingham, Derby & Birmingham.

Stay Safe.

Liberate IT Engineers

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