By Ben Weiner

What is remote access?

Remote access enables people to connect to a computer network from any location using another computer.

The purpose is to be able to continue to use the organisation's systems in order to retrieve information and send emails without the need to be office based. As long as you have access to the internet you will have the ability to work remotely. This can be achieved by using a wireless network, dial-up facility (though this is rare) or mobile phone access.

The main types of access available are via broadband or through a wireless network.

The future of remote access

It is likely that the number of employees working from home or remotely, (also known as telecommuting) will continue to grow. This means that remote access is an area where technology will continue to develop.

More and more organisations have implemented remote access because there are so many benefits.

Why remote access

By using remote access organisations can become more flexible and improve the way in which people work. This is because people are no longer restricted to using a desktop PC at the office but have the capability to travel or work remotely while still having the benefits using the organisations IT infrastructure or access data on their own home PC without actually being sat in front of it!

It has substantial benefits and a potentially fast ROI (return on investment) because it reduces the cost of travel, i.e. people no longer have to commute long distances to the office every day, saving valuable time as a result, thereby allowing people to become more productive.

Email productivity may also increase because personnel no longer have to wait until they are in the office before sending or responding to emails, as well as being to use other corporate resources such as VoIP.

Types of remote access

There are two types of [remote access, the first enables you to access files and information remotely and the second enables you to access and control your PC remotely.

The purpose of accessing your PC remotely using 'remote desk software' is to allow you to work from your home or organisational PC as if you were sitting in front of it. The only difference is that you will be using a third party PC or a laptop with internet access.

Benefits of remote access

• Improved productivity — personnel can work from home, hotels or anywhere where there is internet access. It's easy to access vital information such as documents, email and even applications that reside on the company's server. People no longer have to wait to get in their office before being able to access and read emails.

• Personnel can continue working on projects from home.

• Increased profitability. People can respond to emails and customer requests quickly, and regardless of whether they are travelling or not. This, as a result, can improve sales performance and customer care.

• Quality of life. It enables people who perhaps live a long way from their office to be able to maximise their days without necessarily spending hours travelling to and from the office. People do generally appreciate the flexibility that remote access systems give them.

• It also helps attract talented workers who perhaps work too far from an organisation's HQ to be able to commute on a daily basis.

• Retention of valued employees is improved. For example, a person who needs to move home to another area can still continue to work for the company because distance is no longer an issue.

• Improved efficiency. Personnel can stay in touch with their company's email and developments regardless of location and time zones

• Computer systems can be managed remotely. This enables experts to access computers to resolve potential technical issues without the need to be on site.

• Eliminates the need to synchronise files and other data between a person's laptop and desktop PC.

• Lower office overheads. Remote access systems enable companies to potentially use smaller offices than if all employees had to be in the office at the same time every day.

• It is not necessary to carry a laptop to gain access to a network. It is possible to gain access to an organisation's network via any third party PC or other device so this negates to need to carry a laptop all the time.

Ben Weiner is COO for Conjungo, the technology information resource and supplier search engine. Visit remoteaccess.conjungo.com to continue reading about Remote Access in plain English.

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