It’s Time to Consider Remote Hosted Desktops

For many organizations, their ability to remain afloat in 2020 and for the foreseeable future, very much depends upon supporting a remote workforce. While there can be many advantages to work remotely or on-the-go, this relatively new form of working especially in such volume, likely makes more than a few employers a little nervous. Not only do they not have direct physical oversight of their employees, they also don’t have as much direct control over the workstations and devices their employees are using either. In this article, we will discuss some of the benefits employers can expect to experience by using remote hosted desktops. In the end, many organizations will likely view them as an effective way to regain a significant amount of organization and control over valuable assets.

What is a Remote Hosted Desktop?

A remote hosted desktop has its infrastructure, consisting of working memory, software, data, and operating system, residing in the cloud. One of the obvious advantages to this is that IT administrators can now have easier access to the configurations of desktop machines throughout a company even though the employees using computer equipment are all working throughout a broad geographical region.

Powerful and Affordable

Employees that use software requiring significant amounts of computing power can benefit from using a remote hosted desktop model. Anyone that uses graphic-intensive apps such as Adobe editing software or AutoCAD will appreciate both the scalability and affordability of hosting these processes in the cloud rather than from an independent machine. Computing consumption can be more economical as businesses only have to pay for a virtualized GPU. Hosting subscriptions can often be less expensive than buying the high-powered workstations required by such power-intensive apps.

Manage Anywhere

Anyone that works in retail knows that managing inventory, along with assets and supply chain components typically means working between both online and mobile environments. By using a remote hosted desktop configuration, employees can manage processes from any device in any location. Retail processes that especially benefit from a remote hosted desktop include deploying software updates and evaluating warehouse inventories across multiple locations.

New Options for Healthcare

Healthcare has always been slow to adopt technological changes, largely due to heavy regulations intended to protect confidential patient data. However, with the advent of COVID-19, the use of telemedicine has skyrocketed throughout the globe. Now physicians and other healthcare experts can deliver helpful medical care to patients through the use of virtualized desktops. With the great demand for and overall success of telemedicine, it’s likely that the delivery of effective healthcare has permanently moved in a new direction.

Call Centers

It’s already fairly well known that call centers were one of the first groups that moved to working from remote locations. Since this type of work typically has a high employee turnover rate and available bandwidth has substantially improved in the past few years, it should come as no surprise that this type of work will also likely permanently shift to remote positions only.

A cloud-based workspace is ideal for these types of positions since employees typically require all the same applications. Multi-factor authentication and data encryption security features which can be built into remote hosted desktops, also provide greater incentive for companies to switch to cloud-based workspaces for these types of positions.

Freelancers

Although companies continue to operate mainly outside the traditional office setting, they still may need to contract with freelancers, especially during the upcoming holiday season. Remote hosted desktops allow companies to hire the temporary employees they need, without being burdened by some of the more traditional steps associated with onboarding new staff.

Cloud-based remote desktops offer employers much in the way of tighter control and security over valuable data. IT administrators can easily limit freelancers by only giving them access to the tools and files they need to perform their duties. Onboarding is also simplified, as companies can bring freelancers on simply by providing them with a username and password.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of remote hosted desktops, pleaseĀ contact us.

Remote Hosted Desktops and Security – How to Protect Yourself and your Data

Remote Hosted Desktops and Security - How to Protect Yourself and your Data

With so many people working at home, remote hosted desktops are particularly useful. They can allow an employee to access everything they could in the office smoothly. However, they are also open to potential abuse and vulnerabilities in remote desktop protocols are significant and growing.

Here are some tips on how to protect yourself when you have employees using remote desktops:

Limit Devices

The best practice for remote desktop is to issue the employee a company-owned laptop and allow only that device access to the remote desktop. This means you control the security software on the laptop and can prevent employees from installing personal software that might cause problems. You can also use this as an extra layer of security by enforcing a password on the device.

In general, users can be easily discouraged from using phones and tablets for remote desktop specifically, as it seldom works well and they have alternative methods for things like quick email checks.

You can also restrict access to only locations where your employees are likely to be. Locking to specific IPs is possible, but can cause problems; for example, even if your employee only ever works from their home, rebooting their network router will change their computer’s IP and lock them out. However, you can restrict by geography, disallowing connections from overseas.

Control User Permissions

Many companies are careless about granting permissions to users, and give employees carte blanche access. Compartmentalizing user permissions and allowing them access only to the files they actually need can go a long way towards ensuring that a hacker can’t get to all of your data from one compromised account.

Obviously you need to make sure you don’t negatively impact productivity, but making HR files read only, for example, can be useful in protecting from malicious actors.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is good practice for all accounts. One good way is to use token-generating software that texts a code to the employee’s cell phone. These codes can only be used once, so are unlikely to be compromised.

You should also limit login attempts so as to prevent brute force attacks and encourage the use of good password hygiene. Passphrases are better than passwords as they are easier to remember.

Monitor Suspicious Activity

One concern with remote work is that supervisors can no longer do random check on employees in their offices or cubicles. However, it is possible to keep at least a basic check on odd behavior. Obviously, you should not micromanage people, which reduces engagement and productivity. Things you can monitor, though, include connection attempts from odd locations or at times when the employee concerned does not normally work. VPN systems can generally spot unusually high network activity, which can also be a red flag.

Use Encryption

Requiring files to be encrypted during remote work can improve security on top of using a VPN. The files cannot be read in transit even if an employee forgets to connect their VPN or turns it off because the system is so slow they are unable to work, both of which have been known to happen.

Use AES 128 and/or AES 256 as the gold standard to protect your data.

Choose a Good Provider

Finally, make sure that the provider handling your servers is using up-to-date security methods. Ask about firewalls and rolling or incremental backups. Also make sure they have a good record in terms of uptime; it’s even harder for remote workers to continue to operate when the network is down, and if they are using virtual desktop they may not be able to access any of their files and may not be able to store stuff locally.

If you have employees using remote hosted desktop or similar protocols and need advice on how to keep things secure, protect your data, and sustain productivity, contact Bluwater Technologies today.