Security

How to select the best remote access solutions in 2021

In our last blog we took a look at what is secure remote access. All the signs suggest that as we slowly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home will become the new normal. The World Economic Forum has pointed to recent survey results that showed 98% of people would like the option to work remotely for the rest of their career. The question is not whether an organization needs secure remote access capabilities but how to select the best remote access solution for your business needs.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce, and half of all ‘information workers’ are able to work from home. That estimate may be slightly low. Recent announcements show that companies across industries are increasingly comfortable with a remote workforce. Schroders has become the first financial services company to announce that all of its employees can work from home permanently.  Ford has said that salaried employees can work remotely until 2021.

What is significant about these announcements is that more organizations are looking towards remote business models. It speaks to the type of work that is now taking place remotely. Given the examples above, it means car designers are now collaborating and sharing information remotely and financial dealers and consultants are accessing trading information and trading dashboards from their home. We’re talking about a level of security, performance, business continuity and compliance that traditional remote access software lacks.

In this environment the best remote access solution has to be secure remote access technology. That’s what we will explore in this article.

What is secure remote access?        

Techopedia defines remote access as “the ability to access a computer, such as a home computer or an office network computer, from a remote location. This allows employees to work offsite, such as at home or in another location, while still having access to a distant computer or network, such as the office network. Remote access can be set up using a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN) or even a virtual private network (VPN) so that resources and systems can be accessed remotely.

While this is a good definition for traditional remote access solutions, it has limitations when describing enterprise remote access software.

While traditional remote access solutions may meet the needs for occasional home workers and your field sales team, the shift to remote work driven by COVID-19 means delivering a much larger IT infrastructure that can cope with enterprise needs in the same way as the internal LAN or WAN has done previously. This requires secure remote access software that offers the power, performance, scalability and availability a user would expect from their applications if they were in the office.

Security becomes fundamental as the remote working environment grows and the secure remote access solution is faced with a massively increased number of endpoints vulnerable to attack. While some workers are likely to return to the office or factory floor, the new normal in a post-COVID world will involve the most sensitive and compute intensive business functions and workflows being executed across a remote computing infrastructure.

Why you need a secure remote access service in 2021

You’ll often hear about a Remote Access Services (RAS), which refers to any combination of hardware and software that allows users to connect from their home device or a remote location to the corporate network. There are direct varieties of remote access services but the most secure use direct application access.

The benefit of direct application access for a secure remote access service is the user can only access the application for which they have the correct rights. After this, a secure, high performance tunnel is created between the internal server and the remote user device. Data never leaves the corporate server and the secure remote access solution you select can more easily cope with managing a large number of remote endpoints simultaneously.

From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies were challenged with the sudden move to remote working. The unprecedented stress put on traditional remote access systems left many with major bandwidth and security concerns. In a recent PWC report, the analysts suggested that the initial response for most companies was to focus primarily on their connectivity needs. PWC suggests this has led to security and control gaps as the pivot to home working continues.

From security to control, it’s important to also add performance. Connectivity by itself is not enough to keep workers productive if the applications they need are sluggish or unresponsive – or, worst still, continually drop. In order to address all those requirements, you need a secure remote access network built from the ground up to give secure, higher performance access to your most compute-intensive applications.

5 tips on selecting the best remote access solutions

So what should you look for when choosing your secure remote access platform? We’ve highlighted seven capabilities that will help, whatever your remote working strategy.

Remote access security

According to a recent cybersecurity study, an incredible 91% of global respondents have seen an increase in cyber attacks as a result of employees working from home. For the best secure remote access solutions – such as OpenText™ Exceed™ TurboX – there are three key elements to the software’s security capabilities.

First, the secure remote access must ensure that the network is safe, and every endpoint protected. Cyber attacks are inevitable so the solution must be able to quickly identify and remediate all potential security breaches. Taking OpenText Exceed TurboX as an example, leading secure remote access software includes sensors and alerts that notify an administrator of potential breaches.

Secondly, it is vital that the secure remote access platform you select contains advanced data protection facilities. Using direct application access, some remote access solutions consolidate applications onto central servers, preventing data leaving the data center via screenshots, file copying and data stream recordings. 
Additionally, the best secure remote access software encrypts and authenticates all connections, with support for FIPS 140 and 201 standards for government organizations and their contractors, to provide secure file access wherever it’s required.

Thirdly, the solution that you select must comply with the latest Internet security standards as well as other security and data protection regulations.

Application performance

For all organizations, remote access applications must be able to maintain or enhance worker productivity. This has been a major challenge as traditional remote access solutions often caused performance degradation with huge bandwidth requirements that lead to network latency and poor quality of service. It’s an issue that’s exacerbated when dealing with employees who have high power computing needs such as engineers, designers, product developers, healthcare workers, etc.

The best secure remote access software ­ such as OpenText Exceed TurboX – consolidate all applications onto high performance, highly available servers that can be managed centrally by your IT staff. This allows advanced techniques to be applied to ensure that the users could not only access their applications wherever and whenever needed but the level of performance was at least as good as they experience from their local workstation. For example, the OpenText remote access solution delivers load balancing to boost availability while ‘suspend/resume’ ensures that no work is lost if the user loses network connection.

To increase user productivity and application performance, the best software has mobility built into the solution so that it’s easy to use personal devices and access to cloud-based services. Employees can expect the same performance for applications and systems anywhere and at any time.

IP and data protection

Secure remote access means you keep all data in a central well-protected datacenter. Moving to this centralized access methodology is a big step forward in protecting sensitive data. Securing the information in the data center adds an essential layer of protection by requiring all appropriate staff with requisite privileges access through a firewall. Intellectual property is neither stored nor transferred to the end user’s PC, which greatly reduces the risk of IP theft. As organizations grow their ecosystems of suppliers, contracts and customers to drive agility and innovation, the ideal secure remote access solution facilitates effective collaboration inside and outside the business.

Cost optimization

Secure remote access lets you replace expensive workstations with centrally managed servers to concentrate more users across shared resources. For example, a single application can replace hundreds of workstations while still serving hundreds of users with high performance application access simultaneously. In addition, you can consolidate applications on high performance servers that reduce the cost and management associated with remote access. In many instances, the best secure remote access technology can consolidate numerous data center operations into a centralized resource. In this way, you can downsize, or even eliminate remote data centers, offering dramatic savings in infrastructure spending, power and cooling costs, systems management, and physical real estate.

Centralized management

The best secure remote access solutions allow you to consolidate thousands of user desktops and application servers into a single, centrally-managed environment. Secure remote access technologies provide high-speed access to these centralized systems, with streamlined management capabilities so that IT can deploy the proper environment for users to remain productive from any location or device.

Want to experience secure remote access for yourself? Try our free remote access software demo of OpenText Exceed TurboX.

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Martin Teetz

Martin is an experienced Product Marketing Manager with long history in designing and marketing development and database software, marketing remote access software including launching the first Windows software development IDE and Windows database. He's a keen content contributor to OpenText social channels.

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