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How can I keep my team working from home?

April 14, 2020

Do you need to get your team working from home in a hurry?  If all your software, files and emails are currently on a server in your office (or elsewhere), you might not be able to connect to them. It is possible to get your systems available remotely quickly, and here’s some options.

1. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

2. Application Virtualisation software

3. Software as a Service (Saas) or “Cloud” applications

4. Microsoft Office 365

5. Google G-Suite

TechAbility is currently offering a free 15 minute consultation to help businesses get set up with remote working solutions during COVID-19.  Book your free consultation.  In the meantime, keep reading for more detail on these options and what might work best for your business.

1. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. In very simple terms, a VPN connects your PC, smartphone, or tablet to another computer or server, and allows you to access that computer’s resources such as files, emails, and internet connection. When you connect your computer (or another device, such as a smartphone or tablet) to a VPN, the computer acts as if it’s on the same local network as the VPN. All your network traffic is sent over a secure connection to the VPN. It might sound complicated and expensive, but it’s actually quite easy! Any network engineer could set up a VPN on your server, and then guide you through how to access your systems via a VPN client for your Windows PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, or iPad. 

2. Application Virtualisation software

This is a technology platform that allows you to access applications through a single portal login via a browser or application installed on a computer. When you access applications in the virtual platform, you are not using them as you would an application installed on your computer – they run on the virtual platform, so you don’t need a powerful computer or memory and you don’t need to install software on another computer. There are several application virtualisation platforms such as Citrix, Microsoft App-V, VMWare ThinApp, Turbo, Parallels RAS. The cost of application virtualisation software is higher than other options and does require some specialist skills to implement it, however it’s a great option if you have on-premise applications (you don’t have cloud-based applications).

3. Software as a Service / Cloud-based applications

Most businesses are now using SaaS or cloud-based applications for most of their business applications instead of on-premise applications that are installed on server or computer. There are a lot of reasons for this such as ease and speed of implementing SaaS, improved performance, ensuring that you have the latest features and updates for applications, reduced cost with flexible and scalable subscription licensing. If you are still using on-premise applications for your business, now would be a good time to consider some SaaS options. There will be upfront implementation costs, but far more long-term benefits and reduction in costs.

4. Microsoft Office 365

If you’re still using Microsoft Office applications installed on your computers, it’s time to switch to Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft are retiring all previous installed versions of Office in 2020, so they will no longer be updated, and Office 365 has a lot of great new features and tools that you don’t get with the older versions. There are a range of business options with various applications at different price points. The migration from older Office versions to Office 365 can be done quickly and easily by anyone with some good instructions available on the Microsoft Learning application and 24/7 support available.

5. Google G-Suite

Google’s G-Suite is an alternative the Microsoft Office 365 which has become very popular in recent years. It’s very easy to get started with minimal administration required and is competitively priced. It is possible to migrate from Microsoft Office to G-Suite however there can be some incompatibility issues where G-Suite doesn’t have the same functionality. Google also has comprehensive online training and 24/7 support. If you’re not sure if you should get Microsoft or Google for your business productivity suite, check out this really good (albeit long) article which provides an unbiased Office 365 vs Google comparison. 

So, there are plenty of options to get your business systems available remotely, and it won’t cost a fortune or take a long time.  TechAbility is currently offering a free 15 minute consultation to help you get set up with remote working solutions.

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