In today’s business environment, people are often on-the-go and need to access their applications and data from outside of the office. One solution is remote desktop access where a third-party service or operating system feature allows the user to see his or her desktop and interact with it from a remote location as if it were local.
Remote access, however, is not a perfect solution. Let’s look at some of the top challenges faced by users of remote access:
- Connection quality. If the user has a poor internet connection or a weak Wi-Fi signal, both of which are common at hotels or public hotspots for example, then the remote desktop connection will also be slow. Accessing applications or files becomes cumbersome.
- VPNs. VPNs, or virtual private networks, are very sensitive. Many public internet connections will not allow users to work at all, making remote connection almost impossible.
- Performance. There are many low-cost methods available, such as LogMeIn and GoToMyPC that simply do not have the speed necessary for accomplishing hours of work. The delays inherent in these solutions mean they are only viable options for quick tasks or small amounts of work. In addition, they may not allow for local file and printer access.
- Security. Public hotspots are common at coffee shops, airports, hotels, and even public parks. While they are convenient, they are also highly susceptible to hackers who would be able to access any of the data you’re working on while using the shared Wi-Fi.
- Application availability. Systems like Citrix and Terminal Server only allow access to certain programs that have been configured by the IT administrator. Often times, users need access to applications they installed themselves, special plugins, configurations, or files from their desktop, or other resources that are not on the remote access server. What’s more, these systems often work differently than the desktops. This change in habitual processes is inconvenient and sure to slow any user down.
- Open applications. If a user left files or applications open on their business desktop, they are locked there. It is impossible to log in to them a second time from a remote access system.
- HQ must be online. In the case that a natural disaster takes down the internet or power at your business, or worse, that the server crashes, the systems are not accessible remotely or locally. Instead, a business continuity system needs to be implemented, which is an additional cost in both money and resources to the company.
- Cost. Instituting and maintaining a remote access system is expensive. It requires hardware, software, ongoing maintenance, upgrades, training, and support.
Remote access is technology intended to make employee’s lives easier, but with the above mentioned challenges, it’s impossible not to see the irony imposed by such a solution: remote access is filled with inherent problems that are not easily resolved. Firms should focus their attention on better solutions that mitigate security risks and also lend themselves to an overall increase in productivity. One alternative solution to remote desktop to consider is Boxtop, our flagship product, that moves a company's IT to the cloud.