In the last ten years, more Seattleites are commuting to work by telecommuting, no car, train, bus or boat needed! The Seattle Times FYI Guy reports that 2017 census data shows that “roughly 125,000 people in our metro area worked from home most days.” The magic needed to work anywhere: remote desktop connections.
While telecommuting from a home or laptop to a work network feels normal, the first Windows operating system to include remote desktop capabilities launched in 2001. Windows XP revolutionized how people connect remotely to their office networks, with their desktop computer beamed to another computer with all their familiar programs, short cuts and work flows. Before then, businesses needed to buy a special server to manage their employee’s telecommuting needs. Or they paid for a third-party service like GoToMyPC to manage telecommuting. GoToMyPC is still the perfect program for connecting remotely for some of my customers.
That’s the rub: there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for every company when it comes to meeting their remote access needs. Since the 1990s, I’ve helped 100s of people connect to their office networks from other locales. I’ve helped customers work remotely from Europe and Asia destinations. I’ve set up telecommuting for businesses with branch offices in other cities and states. People have called me from Katmandu and Orcas Island when they needed to access files from their office computer on their laptops.
After two decades of working in IT, I can easily recite the history of telecommuting to anyone that asks me. But what do you need to know for your business needs when it comes to remote access? You need to know that the connection between your work network and your laptop or home computer needs to be secure. As soon as companies like Microsoft and GoToMyPC figured out how to connect remotely, hackers began to figure out how to hack into these connections. When you hire me to create remote work solutions, these connections will be secure.
Often creating a secure remote connection means setting up a VPN tunnel between your office network and all the computers that are granted access to this network. A VPN is a Virtual Private Network: your information travels back and forth through a safe, secure tunnel through the internet. Some of my customers are still best served by using their Microsoft small business server as a portal, along with a VPN, for their remote access needs. Of course, there are more remote access solutions I could describe here, including solutions that involve a server on the Cloud. But your time is best served when you explain your specific telecommuting needs to me during a meeting. I can look at your business’ telecommuting needs and figure out what system will work best for you. It’s my job to make sure you can work anywhere, from Orcas Island to Katmandu.
I expect the future of remote access will look like this: your work desktop will permanently be in the Cloud on a server hosted at your business or a third party that offers hosted desktop solutions. You’ll access this desktop from anywhere with Internet connectivity and your work computer will be a simple, low-powered device such as a laptop or a new style Dell Micro Computer. When the future arrives, you’ll still need an expert like me to set up, secure and manage your remote access connection.