What is remote access?
Remote access is the ability of users to access a device or a network from any location. With that access, users can manage files and data that are stored on a remote device, allowing for continued collaboration and productivity from anywhere.
Trends in remote access
Analysts have predicted that about 48% of the workforce will be working remotely to some degree by 2022. As a result, managing remote access will be more important than ever.
And just as remote work has exploded, so too has the use of technologies to monitor employees. Specifically, 16% of employers are using methods such as virtual clocking in and out, computer usage tracking and communications monitoring more frequently than pre-pandemic.
Advantages of remote access
As organisations across the world have rapidly scaled up remote work, they’ve reported improvements in overall productivity and employee experience. With a highly mobile workforce, remote access enables business operations to continue no matter where staff are located or when they want to work. In addition, as remote work has become more prevalent, businesses are able to scale back their physical office space, which saves considerable costs in rent payments or real estate investment.
Disadvantages of remote access
While remote access enables gains in productivity and engagement, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind:
- Efficiency: Accessing systems remotely can slow performance with higher server latency and a longer feedback loop when on-prem infrastructure changes are made.
- Reliability: Internet connectivity and speed impact productivity, as remote locations can vary considerably in service levels.
- Complexity: Permissions management and VPN configuration/authorisation can cost quite a bit of IT time. And handling remote access issues requires additional system admin skills that may be lacking.
Remote access and security
Until recently, remote access was limited in many organisations because of security issues. The reason is simple: Whenever a user can access a network outside of on-prem firewalls, it opens a gateway to hacking and malware. In response, service providers are adding tools that allow subscribers to control what workers can share along with a system to detect and notify users if a file they’re opening contains malware. The power of these tools has helped reduce the risks for enterprises expanding their remote access capabilities.
How does remote access work?
Technically speaking, a user can access any device via two different channels: the internet and local networks.
Remote access via the internet makes use of a virtual private network (VPN) that provides a secure connection between two devices. Essentially, the VPN functions like a tunnel that keeps traffic private and uninterrupted. The VPN server acts as a gateway at the edge of the network, sending it to the right hosts within the network.
Before a remote user can actually send information, a router with VPN software encapsulates and encrypts the traffic. Then, using a variable set of routes based on available network paths, data packets are sent via the internet to a receiving end. Because the traffic is encrypted, it travels to a VPN gateway, or endpoint, which then reassembles the packets into their original format. At that point, the VPN gateway sends an encrypted response back to the original VPN client via the internet, performing the reverse process.
By contrast, a local network, or physical network, makes a hard-wired connection between the endpoints using a single communication link, such as a private data channel, rather than the internet.
What are the types of remote access?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a common method used to provide remote access, with each user needing individual authorisation. To gain that access, organisations deploy a combination of software, hardware and network connectivity. Sometimes the remote desktop application software is incorporated into the remote host’s operating system, which can then use one of two types of remote access: modem or broadband.
Traditionally, analogue modems connected users to dial-up networks, which then connected to remote access servers that allowed employees access to on-prem office systems. Now, enterprises can use a hard-wired or Wi-Fi network interface to connect hosts.
Broadband is another common pathway to access business networks, offering connections at higher speeds than analogue modems. There are several types of broadband, including:
- Cable broadband offers shared bandwidth to many users, who may see their upstream data rates slow during peak hours.
- DSL (digital subscriber line) broadband uses a telephone network with a broadband modem to provide high-speed networking. However, DSL only works within a limited physical distance and may not be available in some local areas.
- Cellular internet services provide mobile devices with a wireless connection from any location served by a cellular network.
- Satellite internet services use telecommunications satellites to provide internet access where land-based internet access is unavailable.
- Fibre optics technology is appropriate for transferring large amounts of data quickly and easily.
How is remote access used?
Enterprises can use remote access to accomplish many tasks.
For example, technical support teams can remotely access devices that are malfunctioning or that need diagnosing and fix problems without having to go directly to the user’s location. This saves both user and technician time and gets the device back online as quickly as possible.
Another way to use remote access is to route network traffic between subnets on a local area network (LAN). With remote access, IT can move and activate data at any time, which enables greater IT agility and business innovation.
IT teams also often use remote consoles and analytics to manage multiple devices remotely, which can help increase efficiency. In this way, IT can manage and apply bulk firmware and software updates. And using remote support tools, IT can monitor server usage, performance, power and cooling as well as analyse and dynamically tune server resources to specific workloads. IT can also use remote tools to add a security layer that manages who can remotely control and install software on servers and devices across the network.
In addition, when a user is facing a particularly complicated task that a laptop or desktop PC cannot handle well, they can connect remotely to a more powerful computer to accomplish it.
Employees can even use a personal smartphone to remotely connect to a business PC or office laptop that is physically located somewhere else. This helps keep workloads moving despite unforeseen illness or commuting issues.
How does HPE help with remote access?
An industry leader for decades, HPE continues to transform the market by offering several products and services that enable workplace digital transformation, starting with simple remote access from edge to cloud.
For example, HPE GreenLake cloud services bring critical edge-to-cloud technologies to workplaces everywhere. With the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform, customers can tackle their most demanding compute and data-intensive workloads through a flexible, as-a-service platform from on-prem connections or colocation facilities, or in fact anywhere. These cloud services are designed for distributed environments and are based on pre-integrated building blocks so customers can choose the configuration that works best for their business.
Designed to accelerate mainstream adoption of digital transformation, a full suite of services are available with the HPE GreenLake platform, including services for containers, machine learning operations, virtual machines, storage, compute, data protection and the intelligent edge. With its unique metering, cost controls, cloud services, HPE Ezmeral software portfolio and backing from HPE Financial Services and HPE Pointnext Technology Services, the HPE GreenLake platform provides a differentiated solution that competitors cannot match.
And as part of the HPE GreenLake platform, HPE also offers a proven, world-leading portfolio of HPC solutions that enable customers to use the power of an agile, elastic, pay-per-use cloud experience while running AI and ML initiatives and more. With fully managed, pre-bundled services based on purpose-built HPC systems, software, storage and networking solutions, customers can match their workload needs with the right-sized configuration.