The top 9 features you need to implement remote access in your company

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To successfully implement remote access in your company, it is necessary to balance the needs and desires of employees against the needs and desires of the business. Most employees these days want the comfort, flexibility, and freedom of working from any location using their preferred mobile device, while companies need a scalable, easy-to-use solution that allows them to retain control and to secure access to company data.

Choosing the right remote desktop access solution can make it much easier to achieve that balance and help companies transition to a mobile workforce and/or adopt a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Here is a list of the 9 key features to look out for when looking for a secure remote desktop access solution for your company:

1. Remote access should be available from any device or browser

Because the concept of remote desktop access is based on the idea of giving employees’ the ability to work from any variety of devices that are available at their current location, your solution for remote desktop access should not place unnecessary restrictions on the users’ choice of device or browser. This means you should look for a browser-based solution that is platform-agnostic.

2. No client-side installation or maintenance should be required

Just about any type of remote desktop access solution that requires client-side setup will shut out users who need to work on site from a customer’s office or from a hotel business center, where they may not be permitted to install the needed software, or simply do not have the time, energy or technical know-how to deal with client installation and configuration.

Client-side issues with plug-ins, custom configurations and a variety of compatibility challenges can also lead to a ton of calls for technical assistance and support from your help desk, which will result in frustrated employees and frazzled support staff. While your team members can develop an expertise in the remote desktop access solution, it is virtually impossible to be an expert on all combinations of devices and operating systems — and they should not be required to be one.

3. It is user-friendly

Most employees who are working remotely will not be IT gurus. Since they are going to be out of the office (working from a home office, an airport lounge, a trade show, a hotel room, etc.), and maybe even working off hours, the support that is going to be available is likely to be limited. You can make things easier and simpler for employees by choosing a remote desktop access solution that does not involve a complicated setup or have a long or steep learning curve. The more intuitive and user-friendly the interface is, the sooner and more productively your remote employees can get to work!

4. It offers high levels of security

One of the biggest concerns about remote desktop access is often data security, with data potentially exposed during transit over the internet and on unprotected devices. The remote access tool should provide its own security features and also allow you to use your existing VPN and IPsec services. You should avoid solutions that rely on the users to configure the security settings, because you can’t be sure that they will get them set them up properly.

5. It should provide monitoring and reporting

Any remote desktop access solution should be required to offer insight for both the management team and the IT team into how the access is being used. You should look for a solution that offers centralised management and reporting that enables you to know who is using remote access and what applications they are using. Analytics and business intelligence reports can help you make use of this data to identify any suspicious activity and to troubleshoot any problems that users might experience.

6. It offers fine-grained permission control

Not every employee who has remote access should have the same permissions and privileges. Your remote access solution should allow you to set customised permissions and controls according to work roles and for individual employees. Because employee turnover and company growth can mean constant change, user administration should be as straightforward as possible.

7. It should be easily scalable.

A simple user management interface can help your business cope with a sudden increase in new employees, but you will need to be able to handle those new employees on the backend as well as on the frontend. You should look for a solution that can handle an increase in demand without the need for additional servers; this will help make support easier and more cost-effective. The remote access solution that you choose to implement should also allow you to manage servers at multiple locations, so that all branch offices can be easily incorporated into your remote office strategy.

8. It should be easy to deploy

While your tech team can cope with deployment issues more easily than end users can, you should still look for a solution where the backend is easy to deploy. Remote desktop access requires initial installation and configuration to set up servers, roles, and applications. Streamline your IT team's job by choosing a solution that has an initial setup that involves only parameters that are necessary and does not require months of setup and a team of specialists to avoid conflicting settings.

9. It should be a complete solution

Most obviously — and importantly — your remote desktop access solution should actually provide a solution to your remote desktop needs. Look for one product that provides the complete functionality your business needs, so that you will not need to mix and match multiple products from an assortment of vendors to get all the features you need. Using one product lets you gain a unified “bird’s eye” view of users and resources, and simplifies support.

When you consider implementing BYOD or workforce mobility in your business, be sure to evaluate your remote access solution for its impact on your IT team as well as your other employees. With the right choice of software, deploying and supporting remote access can increase employee satisfaction and enhance productivity, without jeopardising data security or overwhelming IT and help desk staff.

Ilan Paretsky is Chief Marketing Officer at Ericom Software

Ilan Paretsky is Chief Marketing Officer at Ericom Software and is responsible for the global marketing activities of the company. Prior to joining Ericom in 2005, Mr. Paretsky held various leadership positions in marketing, business development, project management, and software development in the global software and telecom industries.