Over the last few weeks we’ve seen a number of events which have led to more of our clients needing to work from home. From storm Ciara to storm Dennis, storm Jorge, and now to the potentially much more disruptive Coronavirus Covid-19 it’s worth investigating your options around working from home.
Anyone using Office 365 already has a number of tools at their disposal. There are online versions of all the essential office applications available via https://portal.office365.com and if you use OneDrive, SharePoint or Teams to store your data then that’s all available there too. If you have an Office 365 Business Premium or an E3 license or higher these also entitle you to install the full office suite on your home PC for work use. Check with your internal company policies first though, as some organisations do not permit the licenses to be used in this way.
For those clients with on premises file servers there are secure ways to gain access to your data using VPNs and Remote Desktop Gateway servers, but bear in mind these will be very dependent on the quality of your internet connection both in the office and at home. If you host your email on premises then Exchange and many other on premises mail systems will have a web based mail system that you can use to keep in touch.
For those with laptops or hybrid tablets like the Surface Pro it is simple to take these home. You can even replicate your docking stations and monitors at home. Even if you have a fixed desktop in the office, if you have a Mac or a PC at home it’s possible to connect to your office PC safely and securely and work as though you are still sat at your desk. Remotely connecting into your office desktop can give you access to data heavy applications such as Sage 50 Accounts, which will not run efficiently over a VPN unless you have very fast connections.
Be mindful to ensure your home network is safeguarded against malware, connecting any device directly into the office network carries a risk which your IT provider will want to keep to a minimum.
There are a number of options, you may already have facilities you don’t use, or you may want to take the opportunity to review your approach to data storage, licensing, your internet connections and setting clear policies around home working. If you need any help, we’d love to talk to you and walk you through your options.