A Managed IT Service Provider’s Advice on Working Remotely

By Published On: April 29, 2022

Working from home existed prior to COVID, but the pandemic ensured it is here to stay. It not only helped lessen the spread of the virus but has many other benefits:

  • Avoiding your commute when there’s bad weather.
  • Staying home when your kids have to.
  • Being home when services such as a plumber have to visit.
  • Working when you are your most productive, especially if that isn’t your typical 9 AM to 5 PM shift.’
  • Gaining more free time if your commute is long.
  • Creating a healthy work-life balance, benefitting your mental health.
  • Having easy access to data remotely in case of a work emergency.
  • Depending on your personality, you may be more productive working from home!
  • The list goes on…!

That said, we often get asked by our IT service management clients why team members can’t simply get rid of their work desktop and tote a laptop back and forth, connecting to the network remotely. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as getting rid of your desktops and replacing them with laptops. It’s unfortunately very insecure.

When connected simply to the network, hackers can swoop right in and do the same as you—remote in with a laptop. They can pull data right off the network! Malware can get onto the network, servers can go corrupt, the bandwidth will be noticeably slower and data can get stolen. All these issues will require computer repairs that you don’t have the time or allocated funds for! Additionally, it’s never fun to think about, but if an employee leaves but keeps the laptop, they can pull precious company data off the network remotely and share it with whomever they’d like!

That said, you’re probably wondering what you’re supposed to do then, if your team is part- or full-time working remotely! What our managed IT services team suggests, and enforces for our clients, is that every work laptop be paired with a companion desktop at work. That way, they’re remotely connecting to the desktop, not just the network. In other words, you’ll be connected to a VPN and use remote desktop connections. This will highly increase security and speed! Doing it this way ensures closed connections between your employers and the network(s)—no open access to hackers! To note, if you use a VPN without a RDP, your data may be corrupt, it will take a long time to access files and applications, and you’ll be without a firewall.

Sound like an IT services company just telling you to spend more money on technology? Well, did you know that desktops are actually cheaper AND longer-lasting than laptops? Additionally, one laptop our IT outsourcing services team suggests are Chromebooks, which cost less than $300!

But what if the majority of your team is remote full-time? What do you do with all these desktops? Well, if your team is larger than three or four people, our IT consulting team highly suggests a server that’ll pretend to be all the computers! This is known as either terminal servers or Remote Desktop Services (RDS). That way, physical space is saved and you save money, while maintaining a safe and secure connection to the in-house network thru computers or RDS.

Will your team notice a difference between individual computers and Remote Desktop Services? Nope! They’ll be able to go about their day, accessing their files, applications and logins with ease, just as if they were sitting at the desktop in the office. Think of the desktop as a very necessary middle man!

With these systems in place, you’ll be able to securely reap even more benefits of flexible work locations. This can look like increased interest in working for your company, increasing your hiring capacity (no need for additional office space!), decreasing employee turnover, and having a larger geographical pool to recruit from, potentially increasing the level of talent as well.

Pairing the VPN with an RDP provides “[life-changing] speed.” [You can] take on more clients because of the time savings.” — Maria S., Accountant

Have any questions or want further recommendations on laptops, desktops and/or RDS from our IT consulting services? Text/call us at 302-529-3700 or email us via the Contact Form provided.

Bill Hogan - Partners Plus, Managed IT Services and IT Support

Bill Hogan is the Owner and President of Partners Plus. He has 40 years of experience in the technology industry, specifically IT support services. Bill has spoken at seminars all over the country about network management. Partners Plus was selected by PHL17 as the best Computer and Information Technology Support Company in the greater Philadelphia area in 2018.

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