For the time being, working from home is a necessity for a lot of people. This is a daunting scenario if you’re used to working at the same desk every day. You’re accustomed to your computer, chair, and overall workflow.
To get work done away from the office, you may have considered transferring your files to a flash drive or other external storage device. This solution is only recommended if you’re working with small files that don’t include private information.
Keep in mind that these devices could be lost and then found by someone who would exploit them.
Instead, we’ve outlined our recommended solutions for to working from home securely:
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for Security
When you’re working remotely, you’ll still need to access files stored on a computer at your office. VPNs create an encrypted tunnel between your computer and your company’s office network, so your data is protected and secured.
Your business is likely already using a network router with VPN capabilities. To find out, Google the make and model of your router with the word ‘VPN’. You’ll be able to confirm whether its capable of doing a VPN, and find the steps to login and enable it.
Once your VPN is set up and running, you’ll be able to log in from a remote computer and access your business’s private network via the VPN tunnel.
One issue with a VPN is that its performance is completely dependent on your bandwidth and connection speed. The tunnel ‘size’ or bandwidth is limited by the size and speed of both your personal and business internet connections. Bottlenecks can form and lower your speed if too many people use the VPN at once, because each person is taking up part of the tunnel. It’s possible to increase your bandwidth but you’ll need to pay your internet service provider for a faster connection.
For a VPN, you’ll need high-speed cable internet at the minimum. If your home internet is DSL through a phone line, it will more than likely be too slow. If your internet speed is 5.0Mbps or higher, you’ll have no trouble downloading large files and streaming HD video calls through a VPN. To test your speed, Google the phrase “internet speed test” and click “run test.”
Using Remote Desktop Apps
Remote desktop apps work by displaying the screen from your work computer on your home computer. We recommend Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop. It’s a free download you install on each computer you’re accessing.
Once you open the app and log in, you can control your work computer from home. You’ll see your start menu, desktop, and work computer files, just like you were sitting at your work desk.
Using Web-based Apps
On your work computer, you’re probably used to using apps like Microsoft Word, Exel, and Powerpoint. It’s likely you don’t have this software available at home and the software is pricey.
Luckily, you can use web-based versions from Microsoft and Google. The service you choose depends on your current workflow. If you’re used to the Microsoft suite of programs like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook, you can use Microsoft 365. It lets you use these apps in your web browser, without downloading the software. Your projects will save to the One Drive cloud for easy storage and sharing. Log in or create a free account here to get started.
On the other hand, if you’re used to Gmail, and other Google products, they offer G-Suite. Google’s Docs, Sheets, and Slides are the equivalents to Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Your projects will still integrate with Office if your collaborators are using the other platform. Click here to log in or create an account.
Using Communication Apps
While you’re working remotely, talking to your co-workers isn’t as easy as walking into their office. Email comes to mind next but they’re easy to miss as they’re buried in our inboxes. We recommend specialized communication apps like Slack and Zoom.
Slack is an interoffice instant messaging app. You’re able to message individual co-workers and groups. You can create separate, secured channels for different departments so sales, marketing, and leadership can have their own conversations.
Zoom is a video-conferencing service similar to Skype and Facetime. Since webcams are built into most laptops, video-conferencing is accessible for your office. For those without video capabilities, they are still able to call into a meeting on a phone. Once you install the app, joining a meeting is as easy as clicking a link. You can share your screen, and record the meeting to share with those who can’t attend.
If you’re already working in the Microsoft ecosystem, they offer a service called Teams. Microsoft Teams has similar features to Slack and Zoom combined in one service. It’s the fastest way to get your staff working remotely if you’re using Microsoft products already.
We can help!
To get your office remote-ready, contact our IT technicians at [email protected].