By 2012 an estimated 20% of the working population performed their duties from the comfort of their own homes which equates to over 6.5 million people. This appears to be a substantial figure, but given the advances in technology over the last few years and the numerous benefits involved in avoiding the daily, rush hour commute, you would probably expect the number to be much higher. So this begs the question, if all the technology in place and the will is there, why are organisations not embracing the concept?

Remote Working

This could partly be explained by various personnel issues such as performance management where direct supervision is not possible; effective communication with colleagues and the isolation sometimes felt by homeworkers – all valid points that could affect a companies’ decision whether or not to offer remote working to their employees. However, with structure and adequate controls in place these need not be a barrier to the realities of home working

 

 

Benefits of Home Working

 

The more relevant concern appears to be the security risk posed by external access to secure systems that, if breached, could have dire repercussions on both the company and the individual. The very thought of remote access by a third party is enough to send many MD’s into a cold sweat and on lockdown mode. On the other hand, IT Managers worth their salt would shake their heads in dismay and probably indulge themselves in a small eye roll.

There a number of ways to ensure that all remote connections accessing your network are private and secure:

 

Cloud Workspace

With the introduction of software such as office 365, you can work from anywhere in the world on any device if you have an internet connection. Email is accessible, office documents are available from cloud storage and there are mobile and browser based Microsoft office applications for most operating systems and devices. As it is cloud based, it’s stored on secure servers using password protection (conforming to password restriction policies) synchronised across a company for each user.

Anywhere Access and Terminal Services

Using a remote desktop connection allows you to log into your office machine from your personal machine and gives the same access as being sat in the office. There are two security layers:

The client negotiates with the server to decide which method of security is available and most suitable.

SSL (TLS 1.0) SSL (TLS 1.0) used for server authentication and for encrypting all data transferred between the server and the client.

RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) Security Layer Communication between the server and the client will use native RDP encryption.

Terminal Services servers are similar however it connects to virtualised desktops on a server rather than a single physical machine.

VPN Clients

VPN (Virtual Private Network) makes your computer think you are on the local network. It allows access to networked resources while remaining a separate machine. Unlike remote desktop it doesn’t view or control a machine on site but uses tunnelled communications to talk to onsite servers to give it the effect of being logged into the network locally. There are all different kinds of tunnelling protocols and security and authentication methods. With network level authentication available, the ability to use smart card access features as an additional security feature is possible.

Home working - Ask me how

VPN can also use PSK (pre shared key) and certificate authentication (SSL) on addition to its variety of tunnelling protocols.

 

Beat the winter traffic blues – If you are interested in being able to set up remote working please give us a call or email solutions@www.digicomm360.com

For more information on the personnel aspects of home working, please click the link.