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[SURVEY INSIGHTS]: 4 Types of Remote Working Challenges that a Remote Access Tool Must Address

[SURVEY INSIGHTS]: 4 Types of Remote Working Challenges that a Remote Access Tool Must Address

It will take years — and possibly decades — before we can fully analyze the impact of the pandemic on the workforce. However, even at this relatively early stage there is one firm conclusion that we can safely draw: remote work (in one form or another) is here to stay and will become even more prevalent in the years ahead. Consider these numbers:

  • 87% of workers who are offered at least some remote work embrace the opportunity, and spend an average of three days a week working from home.
  • 77% of workers who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time, and 24% doing more work in the same period of time.
  • A typical employer can save about $11,000 a year for every person who works remotely half of the time.

In light of these compelling statistics and calculations, employers that want more productive and happier employees — while significantly reducing costs — should fully embrace remote working, right? Well, yes…and no. Let’s start with the former.

Yes, remote work can be enormously beneficial for employers and employees alike — in fact, nearly 6 in 10 workers have said they will “absolutely” look for a new job if they cannot continue remote work! As such, employers who try and turn back the clock and ignore the rise of remote work will soon find themselves losing employees, customers, and market share. That’s hardly a formula for success. On the contrary, it’s a recipe for failure.

Bumps on the Road to Remote Work

However, despite the tremendous and in some ways transformative benefits of remote work (let’s not overlook the environmental advantages), it is not without some concerns and risks; especially around IT security.

To get a deeper understanding of the landscape, in the (soon-to-be-released!) Devolutions State of IT Security in SMBs in 2022-23 Survey we asked executives and decision-makers around the world to highlight the IT security challenges that remote work is creating or driving in their company. We discovered that there are four types of challenges:

  1. Security Challenges
  2. Efficiency Challenges
  3. Governance Challenges
  4. Affordability Challenges

What does this mean for organizations? It means that they must ensure that their remote access tool must significantly improve security, efficiency, and governance, while also being affordable. If any of these core aspects are missing, then organizations will face unexpected gaps, problems, and obstacles.

Critical Aspects of a Remote Access Tool

To help organizations identify and ultimately choose the right remote access tool — and steer clear of the wrong ones — we have prepared a checklist that covers all four types of challenges.

Addressing Security Challenges

Organizations should focus on remote access tools that feature:

  • Strong encryption: All passwords stored in the data sources should be encrypted using a strong encryption algorithm, so that if an end user attempts to access the data directly in the database, it will be rendered unreadable.
  • Account brokering: Credentials can be brokered on behalf of an end user when launching a connection, therefore preventing them from ever knowing the credentials.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): All restrictions can be predefined and enforced by granular-level permissions.
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enforce two consecutive authentication steps before granting access to a data source.
  • User Vaults: User-specific vaults give unique end users access to specific privileged accounts.

Addressing Efficiency Challenges

Organizations should focus on remote access tools that feature:

  • Centralized Password Vault: Store all passwords and credentials in a secure vault, and log in from anywhere via a secure browser plug-in.
  • Mobile Access: Launch sessions, manage desktops and servers, and retrieve passwords on-the-go with a secure, easy-to-use mobile app.
  • Offline Access: Launch sessions without internet connectivity by accessing an offline editable copy of the database that is as secure as the online version.
  • Automatic Connections: Launch secure and direct connections to privileged sessions, including remote servers, virtual machines and other critical assets.
  • Support for Multiple Tools and Technologies: The list of integrations should include RDP, SSH, VPNs, Web, VNC, Telnet, ICA/HDX, ARD, and so on.
  • Support for Multiple Data Sources: Easily share databases, including SQL Server and more.
  • Session Sharing: Easily and securely share all remote sessions across the entire team.
  • Multiple Vaults: Store and organize entries in an unlimited number of vaults to easily manage massive numbers of entries, documents, and other sensitive data.

Addressing Governance Challenges

Organizations should focus on remote access tools that feature:

  • Audit Trail: Monitor, verify and analyze time spent by an end user on a specific client or a machine for audit purposes.
  • Activity Log: Record when, what, and who performed an action on a session, and monitor all opened sessions for all users.
  • Real-Time Connection: now exactly who is connected in real-time for several types of sessions, and verify if an end user has connected despite receiving a warning.
  • Integrated Console: get a quick overview of machine state and facilitate management tasks through integrated virtualization consoles, such as Hyper-V, Terminal Server, and XenServer.

Addressing Affordability Challenges

Organizations should focus on remote access tools that feature:

  • Free Trial: Evaluate the tool in your own environment to verify security, functionality, usability, and other requirements before you commit to purchasing.
  • Per User vs. Per Installation Licensing: Ensure that licensing is per user and not per installation. This gives SMBs much more flexibility and control over their budget.
  • Multiple Licensing Options: SMBs should have the freedom to choose from a variety of licensing options, such as: site up to a maximum number of users; site for an unlimited number of users; and multi-site for unlimited number of users across multiple sites. This flexibility helps ensure that SMBs only pay for the access they need — and nothing more.
  • Demonstrated ROI: The total cost of ownership (TCO) should not exceed the ROI for risk reduction and productivity gains.

The Final Word

Remote work (and hybrid work) has moved from the sidelines into the mainstream. Now, organizations must step up and ensure that remote work is productive and profitable, instead of costly and risky. Choosing a remote access tool that addresses security, efficiency, governance, and affordability challenges is key to achieving this mission-critical objective — one that will certainly become even more crucial and consequential in the years ahead.

Laurence Cadieux

Hello! My name is Laurence Cadieux, and I’m a Communication Specialist here at Devolutions. My role includes overseeing the content strategy and development of our blog, managing the content and communication for our VIP advocate platform “Devolutions Force,” and working closely with our PR partners around the world. I also handle our off-site content opportunities (magazines, journals, newspapers, etc.). Academically, I have a bachelor’s degree in marketing. When I’m not working, I sing in a band, and I enjoy watching my favorite movies again and again. I also love cooking, and during the pandemic, I became a bread expert — I can now bake the most amazing key lime pie on earth (if I do say so myself!). Plus, I recently discovered LEGO and there is no turning back — I’m hooked! I’m always happy to help, and you can reach me directly at lcadieux@devolutions.net.

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