Well, here we are again in level 4 lockdown. What a drag!
Every time we go into lock-down we get a bunch of requests from clients along the lines of “My work computer has all my data and the apps I need on it. What’s the best way to stay productive when it is at my office and I’m at home? How can I get remote access to my work PC?”
Fortunately, there is a pretty good remote access solution, and a pretty affordable one at that.
It’s a two-step process:
First you connect your PC at home to the network at your office via A VPN (Virtual Private Network – click here for more info ). This is very easy – you just click on an icon and (depending on which VPN client you use) maybe pop a password in and that’s it. Now your computer is connected to the network at your office.
Remote Access via VPN and remote desktop makes working from home easy as!
Step two is to remotely connect to your computer at your office. This is easy too – again you just double click an icon on your desktop and put in a password and voila, its exactly as if you are sitting at your desk at work, with all your files and apps right there.
This method has a few real advantages:
- You probably already have everything you need to make it work. Many office networks will already have something in them that will act as the VPN end point. This could be your router, your server or your NAS storage device. And even if you don’t, a replacement router that supports VPN’s is relatively inexpensive.
- Its secure. Back in the day we would just open up a pin hole in your router and forward remote desktop traffic right to your PC without using a VPN, but these days that would be considered highly insecure. Using a VPN allows us to keep the bad guys out of your network while allowing the good guys in. It also means that network traffic (that’s the data whizzing back and forth between you and your office) is encrypted, so it can’t be intercepted and read.
- It’s super useful even outside of a lock-down situation. Got a sick toddler and need to work from home for a couple of days? No problem. Feeling under the weather yourself? No problem. What to catch up with some work stuff over the weekend? No problem.
There are just a couple of caveats though. Firstly, your computer at the office does have to be left powered on – its frustrating if you’re all geared up to work from home and you find that the cleaner at your office unplugged your computer so he or she could plug in the vacuum cleaner.
Secondly, we do need to make a few tweaks to the settings on your office computer to allow this to work – we need to turn on the remote access permissions and we need to fix the address you PC uses on the network. Otherwise, every time it reboots it will come up with a different address. But that’s it – other than those it’s all pretty easy and as it’s based on tried-and-true technology, it’s very stable.
Of course, the one thing that is missing from this is access to your office telephone. Fortunately, we have a solution for that too. It’s a bit beyond the scope of this blog post, but basically if you have one of our Apteryx phone systems we can either put a telephone handset on your desk at home that is connected to your office number, or we can put an app on your cell phone that makes it an extension of your office telephone system – both of these mean you can make and receive land line calls from home and transfer calls to other people or branches.
Give us a call or use the contact us form if you’d like to know more about any of this. Meanwhile, stay safe and well. We hope the lock-down is not too traumatic for you. Kia Ora.