Provide secured remote access to employees while balancing IT costs

18 Oct 2021

When employees work remotely, maintaining efficient business operations is critical for employee engagement and customer experience.

In this article, we outline best practices to help your people stay connected, your data secured, and your business running by leveraging:

  • access, security, and advanced threat protection technologies
  • collaboration and communication tools
  • business continuity built around the cloud

Access, security and advanced threat protection

You cannot separate access from security and threat protection.

When you or any of your employees work remotely, you need access to business documents and data. This makes secured, easy access to your applications essential. Best practices for access and data security recommend using the following to protect your information.

VPN (virtual private network)

A VPN offers a simple way to solve two key challenges that many businesses face with remote workers: security and access.

VPNs are one of the most proven remote connection solutions. It allows employees who work from home or work remotely with company-issued laptops to access the important folders, files and applications they use to complete their work and support customers, just as if they were in the office.

Endpoint protection

Every device in an organization should have the latest endpoint protection software. In a world of malware, ransomware, viruses, and other cyberthreats, not to have it puts your business, your customers, and your vendors at risk.

Often referred to as “next-gen anti-virus”, today’s endpoint protection solutions leverage AI technology to prevent data loss and breaches as they protect devices against known and unknown threats in real-time, even when disconnected from your network.


Password12345 is not a good password. Enforcing strong password protocols, using password creation and storage applications, or finding a system that works for your organization is essential.

You could deploy the most advanced endpoint and threat protection, but if your password is password12345, you’re at risk.

Advanced threat protection

Advanced security solutions can help protect against cyber threats, both internal and external, and help prevent your company’s credentials from falling into the wrong hands. This is especially important if you have large quantities of sensitive data.

Advanced threat protection can include monitoring of the dark web. It can also include cyber liability insurance policies. These policies provide coverage to help recover costs in the event of a data breach or if an employee should fall victim to ransomware.

Sometimes the term “advanced” sounds excessive, like it belongs in the realm of enterprise solutions. We recommend you think again. Savvy cyber criminals are feasting on the large – and growing – number of remote employees.

Today, business technology leaders in companies of every size must be prepared. Advanced threat protection is one of the simplest ways to ensure you are.

Virtual desktops

What do you do if employees who normally use desktop devices for their daily work need to work remotely, or from another temporary location?

If you can move the desktops, it might work. But what if you can’t. What if they need to work from home?

Virtual Desktop solutions give employees the freedom to work from anywhere. They provide a complete virtual application and desktop environment, just as if your employees were sitting at their desks.

You can run Windows, Linux, and web business applications or full virtual desktops from any cloud—public, on-premises or hybrid. Plus, with Virtual Desktops:

  • Your data never leaves the security of the data center.
  • You can upgrade applications and systems on the fly to address newly identified vulnerabilities.
  • You can expand “desktop” functionality by adding additional CPU and RAM, without needing to change any hardware on the host.

And to get these enhancements, all your employee needs to do is reboot their computer.

Virtual Desktop solutions offer a fast and cost-effective way to maintain some level of business continuity when you need it most.

Collaboration and communication

Business is built around communication and collaboration. Ensuring your people have secured access to the data, applications, and documents they need to do their job is essential, but that’s only one part of keeping employees productive. They also must be able to communicate and work together.

You can find a lot of communication and collaboration tools on the market. The following are two of the most popular solutions. Enterprises embrace them, but with today’s cloud-based systems, they can be used affordably by small and mid-sized businesses to stay connected and compete with anyone.

Microsoft 365®

Microsoft’s cloud-based office solutions have been available for several years. Yet, we’ve found many organizations are still stretching out the investment they made in the legacy, desktop versions of the office applications. While necessary then, these device-based applications reduce the agility of a business to adapt.

Cloud-based office solutions like Microsoft 365® provide employees with the full, feature-rich Microsoft Office experience on whichever device they choose — Android, Apple, Windows, desktop, phone or tablet. Being cloud-based, employees can also edit, review and collaborate with team members in real-time. Plus, with OneDrive all documents will be instantly saved in the cloud.

Your employees stay engaged and your IT leadership has the added benefit of more easily measuring engagement, helping to make sure their employees are working.
If your business still uses Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook from 2012, now is the perfect time to upgrade to Microsoft 365 to increase your business agility and continuity planning and keep your people productive.

Microsoft Teams®

Microsoft Teams takes collaboration to another level.

Perhaps today you rely solely on email or use a tool like Skype or Slack to chat quickly on a specific topic, get a question answered immediately with an instant message, or schedule a team video conference.

Teams goes beyond quick connections, offering a truly centralized communication hub. It features a suite of integrated applications that extend the functionality to other Microsoft, third-party and even custom-built solutions. Additionally, Teams supports Microsoft’s data loss prevention capabilities allowing you to identify, monitor, and prevent the sharing of sensitive information.

Business continuity built around the cloud

Do you have a business continuity plan?

If you answered, no, it’s time to seriously think about putting one in place. It’s never too late to start.

Business continuity plans minimize the damage when your daily business operations are interrupted.

Now, it’s important to note the difference between business continuity and disaster recovery.

  • Business continuity is a business-wide implementation plan that ensures the continuation of critical business functions in the event of a disruption.
  • Disaster recovery describes the recovery of hardware, applications, and data after a disruptive event.

All the items described in this article are important elements of business continuity. One of the best practices today, however, to ensure continuity is by reducing your dependence on in-house or on-premise IT infrastructures.

Internet bandwidths and cloud security have come a long way which is why so many business leaders have embraced cloud technologies from virtual desktops to disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions and more.

Businesses simply cannot afford any additional downtime. How big a difference would there be for your business between recovering in minutes versus recovering in days or even weeks?

If cloud solutions sound like they may make sense for your business, but you still have concerns about the process of migrating some or all your systems to the cloud, please read our white paper: Breaking Down the Cloud. In this white paper, you’ll discover the pros and cons of the three primary cloud models and find tips on selecting a strategic partner to assist in your migration and on-going support.