Remote IT access - profit versus peril? - Business Works
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Remote IT access - profit versus peril?

Clive Taylor, Operations Director, Quiss Technology Does remote access allow organisations to turn mobility into profitability and at what cost? Clive Taylor, Operations Director at Quiss Technology, looks at the benefits of allowing employees remote access.

Organisations are reporting increased productivity from individuals working remotely, often from home, with many seeing a faster response to client issues and an improvement in client relationships. But, this relies on individuals being able to access their work files and documents any time and that often requires IT support outside normal office hours. Any technical issues for employees would now equate to lost working hours, rather than just an inconvenience.

The unlimited help on offer from some outsource service providers ensures technical problems are generally overcome more quickly than with in-house resources and delivers the out-of-hours cover needed for individuals working at home or abroad.

Organisations operating from multiple sites that want a single system, accessible to all (rather than duplicate servers in separate sites) can allow individuals to collaborate effectively, despite working in different offices, or from home, by enabling remote access.

Talking to remote workers on the phone during normal office hours is essential and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the answer. This allows remote workers to be called with their office direct dial number or extension number as if they were in the office. This technology not only delivers real connectivity to remote workers, but also reduces costs and helps improve efficiency and productivity.

Anyone choosing or having to work from home can take an office phone home with them, connect it to the internet and all calls through the network are free and can be transferred as if the individual were in the office. Alternatively, workers can use 'softphone' technology on their laptop or PC to ensure wherever they are in the world a client can ring the same office number and get hold of them.

Mobile technology is blurring the divide between personal and professional time, with many individuals using their own devices for work, in the office and at home. In our experience, the key to a productive mobile working strategy is finding the right balance between safeguarding the system against security threats and creating an engaging environment for remote workers.

In terms of security, the theft of smartphones or laptops that contain remote access privileges can now easily be addressed with software that enables the remote wiping of devices or can render stolen or lost laptops totally unusable.

Individuals granted remote access privileges are another potential security headache, with many security breaches attributed to ex-employees that have not had their access rights removed. If we make security too complex, with too many passwords, then users are tempted to circumvent security, even if thatís just writing down their passwords.

If security is lax, then organisations can expect to be compromised. Cyber criminals can steal data and sensitive information from the comfort of their bedroom, with a far-reduced risk of discovery or capture. Setting different levels of access for different users is a good way of limiting any potential risk, as it's unlikely every remote worker will need full access to the entire system.

In conclusion, speak to the people responsible for managing your IT, spend time on this issue and rather than finding excuses for not creating a more productive mobile work force.

Seize the opportunity before your competitors do.

To contact Clive Taylor or for more information about IT outsourcing specialist Quiss Technology, please visit:

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