In recent years remote access has gone from the IT support tool to unexpected hero of the workplace - overcoming geographical boundaries and connecting businesses from all over the world. This is due to a combination of new working trends and the technical advancements that the tool has gone through – which has proved to be an unrivalled match to help organisations thrive in new ways. Countless businesses have published reports on workplace trends over the past few years, and they have consistently pointed out that there will be a demand for flexibility, BYOD and that many trends will be driven by the employees and how they wish to work.
With the multitude of new technologies that are emerging every day, the role remote access plays, and how significant its impact will be on this evolving working environment can sometimes be overlooked. With this in mind, I will outline some of the ways remote access is helping to shape and empower today’s business, and the influence it will have on the way organisations work in years to come.
From support tool to business enabler
Remote access has often been seen as just an IT support tool, but the evolving workplace has created huge opportunities to apply the technology to a much wider range of use cases. Today it is helping to enable more creative collaboration, facilitating flexible working practices, and cutting costs for activities associated with traditional working practices.
Employees can do this ‘remoting in’ to most devices including office PCs, laptops, tablets or even mobile phones, so geography is no longer a barrier. As a result, staff are accessing resources and talent from across their own companies regardless of location. In addition to being useful for working internally, it’s enabling companies to work much more interactively with third parties including suppliers and customers.
For example, when data centre software company iQuate started getting an increasing number of requests for training sessions delivered in customers’ own offices, they faced the challenge of needing to accommodate these requests while also being able to access their QA Lab in Dublin. Their solution was to enable trainees to remotely access training exercises and course materials, providing a cost and time effective experience for their customers. What’s more, construction firms such as Arup are using remote access technology to enable engineers and other experts to ‘remote into’ systems, apps and devices to share IT resources and help and train colleagues in distant offices, from anywhere.
In both of these instances, remote access tools are creating a more efficient and effective experience for customers, as well as providing internal teams with the flexibility they need in a changing workplace.
A backbone for our on-demand world
Another way remote access is empowering businesses is by helping them keep up with the speed at which today’s workforce operates. More so than ever before people are relying on real-time tools to help their everyday tasks and do anything from sharing holiday pictures, to working on shared documents to manage their finances. We’re also now a society that is addicted to our devices, fueling our expectation of getting information, goods and services instantly. It is no longer acceptable for the information we receive to be delivered in anything other than real-time, and this appetite is further driven and enabled by advancements in technology such as the availability of super-fast networks like 4G, and soon 5G.
Like with many trends, this expectation in our personal lives also translates in the business world, and the need for businesses to operate in this ‘on-demand economy’ is growing. The role of remote access tools in supporting this on-demand culture is vital. By enabling businesses to see and manage devices all over the world in real-time, staff can maintain and service critical IT estates or share important documents at the drop of a hat, to keep up with the speed of the economy.
As organisations feel more pressure to meet the expectations of this on-demand economy, having a reliable way to deliver real-time support and management across an ever-growing range of devices and applications is putting the power back into the hands of the business.
Ensuring connectivity is safe
One less obvious way that remote access is supporting businesses is by helping to maintain high security standards. The active management of security and compliance must be taken more seriously in today’s world. News of cyber-attacks and breaches are paraded in the media, much to the discontent of affected companies. Moreover, increasingly hostile and large-scale attacks on corporate assets are exposing the vulnerabilities of some businesses. The explosion of new devices and users is further multiplying the potential security risk.
Securely managing rapidly growing numbers of increasingly complex devices and controlling the people that can access them is now critical to an enterprise security strategy. A secure remote access platform plays a big part in mitigating the risk that comes with distributed devices, and we’re seeing more demand for end-to-end encryption and multi-factor authentication from businesses establishing security best practices.
Ensuring that only authorised personnel can access restricted information is essential, especially when you think about the array of privacy and sector-specific regulations that demand compliance. Remote access is increasingly being called upon to help ensure that user access is managed, and helping to minimise the number of people involved in the device maintenance and management processes, reducing the need for expensive and vulnerable onsite support.
The power of remote access is apparent in all aspects of our changing work environment. Companies that adopt the technology can better support their business transformation process and operate in the increasingly interconnected commercial ecosystem effectively and safely. The stories illustrating this change will become much more apparent in the next few years as technology connectivity continues to gain momentum. The applications of remote access can often be vastly different sector by sector, and even company by company, so it will be very exciting to see how these trends unfold in the next few years.
Adam Byrne, Chief Operating Officer, RealVNC
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