Remote Access for Modern Enterprises: Overview, Needs, Benefits, Challenges

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    Even before the pandemic hit, the hyper-connected world of enterprise devices was humongous but was mostly operational within the premises of the corporate network. Barring the exception of frontline teams, most organizations did not have corporate devices that actively operated outside the office perimeter. And the pandemic changed everything, highlighting the importance of Remote working and remote access more than ever. In this article, we will be discussing the needs, benefits, challenges of remote access and how to streamline the same.

    What is Remote Access
    Remote Access for Android, iOS and Windows

    What is Remote Access?

    Remote access is the ability to access remotely operating computers, laptops, mobile devices, and other endpoints or a network. Remote access enables the connection between devices that are present in diverse geographical locations authorized by a verified user. Remote access is essential for remote working, telecommuting, and frontline teams that want to access business networks and resources from a far-off physical location.

    How does Remote Access work?

    Remote access is enabled with a hardware + software combination along with a network connection. The traditional ways of enabling remote access live via LAN (local area network) or WAN (Wide area network). But for enabling remote access of devices located far off from the physically connected networks, the simplest way of enabling remote access is via VPN or Virtual Private Networks. With a VPN, each individual user connects to the business network via a private network’s VPN server. The VPN network software routes any traffic to corporate networks via an encrypted secure connection. Alternatively, remote access is enabled via remote access software that enables a connection between a device and a remote resource where the remote host can view the target device’s screen on their desktop. These remote access applications are incorporated into the remote host’s OS as well as the device OS for a seamless connection and access to remote devices, their settings, and applications.

    Types of Remote Access for modern enterprises:

    • VPN/ LAN/ WAN – using a secure and encrypted network to facilitate a data tunnel between devices or servers.
    • Desktop-sharing software tools or apps to enable file-sharing
    • PAM (Privileged Access Management) tools to enable monitored access to privileged accounts
    • VPAM (Vendor Privileged Access Management) for granting secure and limited network access to vendors or contractors

    Remote Access Protocols:

    • Single sign-on
    • IPsec (Internet Protocol Security)
    • L2TP (Layer Two Tunneling Protocol)
    • PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling)
    • SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol)
    • PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol)
    • RAS (Remote Access Services)
    • RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol)
    • TACACS (Terminal Access Control System)

    Need for remote access for enterprises and remote working

    • To enable streamlined access to business apps and resources for remotely working employees
    • To enable authorized IT and tech support executives to remotely access enterprise devices for troubleshooting
    • To enable maintenance of unattended devices

    Conventionally, remote working was limited to a small set of the workforce that occasionally worked from home- to take care of personal challenges like kids, caring for family, or had personal limitations to commute to work every single day. Frontline teams consisting of delivery executives, remote healthcare providers, and traveling salespersons were the other set of employees who worked remotely on a more regular basis and needed remote access.

    With the onset of millennials and more particularly Gen Z entering the workforce, the culture of flexible working (which often involved location-independent working) was heavily getting popular. Modern employees wanted the flexibility to work from anywhere- anytime they found fit for their optimum productivity. While this was picking up and organizations were establishing a remote working policy and a strategy to undertake enterprise mobility with a more serious approach, the pandemic hit. Remote working, remote learning, and remote access became the new norm and are here to stay for an indefinite period. The initial hesitation against remote working is now heavily surfaced and while employees might return to the office sooner or later, the trend of remote working will not hit ground anytime in the future. Employees will want to continue working remotely, at least for a few days a week and hence, the need for remote access will increase exponentially.

    Also read: Unattended Remote Access for Windows

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    Challenges of Remote Access:

    Several challenges hinder the remote access functionality. A poor internet connection, for instance, is the first hurdle that comes in the way of remote access. The users trying to access the corporate network or servers need to have a strong, stable internet connection for the same. In public and shared networks, the signal is not sufficient and accessing remote servers or files is latent and cumbersome. Some networks also block VPN and if the remote access is sole via VPN, it cannot be established via these network connections. If the employee accesses a remote desktop, the users cannot log in if they have left an application open on their business desktop from a remote access system. Remote access is also heavily dependent on the application availability on both the user and the host devices. Additionally, remote access brings significant convenience and efficiency to modern corporate networks, but it also introduces new security challenges. Ensuring that the applications used for remote access are available and secure on both the user and host devices is crucial. A robust attack library and network security testing are essential components of a comprehensive security strategy.

    To simplify remote access, remote desktop software or remote mirroring software is widely used coupled with an MDM tool to gain remote access to enterprise mobile devices and endpoints.

    Benefits of remote access software powered by MDM

    • Remote access software that works with ease on managed devices- both corporate-owned and employee-owned.
    • IT administrators can monitor, track, and maintain the enterprise devices
    • Employees can have seamless access to business resources and files from corporate servers or networks whenever they need ensuring no hindrance to productivity
    • IT administrators can push files, apps, and software to enterprise devices without any end-user intervention
    • Enterprise IT teams can easily manage, maintain, and provision unattended devices used as kiosks
    • Troubleshooting device issues are simplified and IT admins can quickly resolve issues of remotely operating devices.
    • ITSM management with easy ticketing
    Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

    Scalefusion streamlines remote access powered via an MDM tool that enables IT admins to access remote files and devices via the Scalefusion dashboard. IT admins can enforce VPN connections and push digital identity certificates for the users and device authentication before enabling the employees to access corporate servers and networks. Pushing files, apps, and updates on remote devices is quick and easy and employees have access to the latest business resources at all times. The IT admins can remotely mirror device screens of managed Android, iOS, and Windows 10 devices and streamline troubleshooting remote cast.

    Further, they can take screenshots of remote device screens, record cast sessions, sync files and create support tickets on the integrated ITSM platform. Most importantly, IT admins and key stakeholders can access device performance, usage information, and security status of remotely operating devices, perform periodic security checks automate alerts for discrepancies, and address them before they impact the business continuity.

    Remote access is essential for modern working environments and is critical to employee productivity as well as enterprise data security. With remote access and support powered by MDM, remote access and remote device maintenance can be made cost-effective and pull in less manual resources- an important consideration for businesses.

    Renuka Shahane
    Renuka Shahane
    Renuka Shahane is an avid reader who loves writing about technology. She is an engineering graduate with 10+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for web-based startups.

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