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Remote Access for Home Workers

Blaze Networks offer a range of solutions to enable businesses to support remote access and home-workers in a controlled and secure manner.

Remote Access for Home Workers: Productivity, Collaboration, and Security

In the current challenging environment, companies are investigating and preparing for remote access requirements as employees re-locate to their homes. Changes are being planned which may become medium or long-term re-configurations of their business operations.

A distinction should be made between short-term, temporary arrangements which can be put in place in a matter of a few days and more productive and effective arrangements for the longer term. These may take a few weeks to put in place (because of lead times for corporate-grade broadband connections, for example), but the result will be much more cost-effective, efficient, and satisfactory from both the employee and company perspective.

While Productivity and Collaboration are the key goals in supporting teams of home workers, the business also needs to maintain the same degree of security and control over access to systems and data that is achieved for workers operating within its corporate offices.  The corporate network cannot be limited to regular business locations – it needs to extend to wherever employees are working.

Man working from home

Solutions to Immediate Challenges for Home Working

There are two main areas in which Blaze can help businesses to support the move to working from home: data network solutions and Unified Communications (voice and video) solutions.

From a connectivity and network perspective you may be facing the following issues (amongst others):

  • Ensuring that internet connections at home are good enough, and/or that problems with usage by other family members are avoided
  • Ensure remote workers devices are capable and fast enough to support business applications.
  • Enabling (and managing) security on connections back to Corporate systems
  • Terminal Servers within your network may not have enough capacity to support the number of simultaneous remote connections needed.

Blaze Networks can help in each of these areas. Depending on your needs, we can:

  • Implement new broadband connections for employees
  • Ensure your home workers are using IPsec VPN clients and required 2-factor authentication security
  • Dispatch firewalls to enable segmentation of family and work network communications and/or create secure VPN Tunnels for key employees
  • Implement antivirus and telemetry as and where required to protect the corporate network.
  • Increase the processing power, memory and licenses on Terminal Servers which remote workers need to connect to.
  • Implement new terminal servers to fully support your remote workloads.

Remote Worker Solutions – Access to Corporate Data Network

Blaze have three solutions designed to support different types of remote worker. We distinguish between these based-on; connectivity capability, role in the business and whether terminal servers are available.

1. Basic Remote Access

Our Blaze SA (Secure Access product). This allows a user to connect to corporate resources through an SSL tunnel. This basic option requires the person to own a PC or Laptop and have a good quality internet connection.

The remote user can connect into their work PC, connect to mapped network drives or connect into a corporate Terminal Server.  Please note: by using Terminal Servers companies can avoid situations where remote users are impeded because their work desktop PC is not switched on, making their files and systems inaccessible.  We recommend Terminal Servers are used wherever possible.

2. Standard Remote Access

Basic features as above plus providing the remote worker with a Blaze internet connect. The internet connection will come with a standard router that supports wireless. By providing Blaze broadband to your remote workers you enable them to have an end-to-end supported solution with guaranteed business broadband provided by Blaze.

3. Advanced Remote Access

Normally deployed for directors, senior business employees, and those in critical roles. Remote workers are provided with a Blaze broadband connection and a firewall appliance that separates the business and family networks. The business network would be directly connected to your corporate systems to provide seamless access to corporate resources.

In addition to the above, Blaze is helping businesses maintain team productivity with Microsoft TeamsTM, Mitel MiVoice Connect (our Unified Communications solution), and Blaze Cloud.

Microsoft Teams is great for enabling collaboration across teams of remote workers. Importantly, when running conference calls and meetings participants can either join via broadband or dial-in via PSTN phone numbers (providing a back-up method where individuals are having difficulty connecting via broadband).  Microsoft Teams is also an excellent method for remote workers to collaborate on documents across multiple locations, and even support point to point video conferencing (where broadband connections are in place).

Blaze Cloud

Blaze Cloud provides a highly available platform that we use to provision all our Mitel Unified Communications deployments and is available to businesses wishing to host their services. By using Blaze Cloud, a company benefits from immediate resource availability and great business continuity – beyond what is cost-effective when implementing Mitel as an on-premises implementation. For more details see Blaze Cloud or call us for more information.  

Whichever combination of solutions would be of use to your business, as business also needs to maintain the same degree of security and control over access to systems and data that is achieved for workers operating within its corporate offices.  As a Managed Security Solutions Provider (MSSP), Blaze is intently focused on delivering solutions which enable productivity, collaboration, and security to companies moving to a remote workforce configuration.

Dealing with Poor Call and Video Conferencing Experience

In all cases where calls are carried over the employee’s home broadband connection, the quality of the call is dependent on the quality of connection: Upload speed is critical for voice, yet this is usually an order of magnitude slower than download speeds on consumer broadband from pay TV companies and “value” suppliers. Where this is a problem (perhaps for key employee roles) a Blaze private broadband connection should be considered.  At present this has a lead time of 30 days. 

Planning ahead will allow Blaze to properly plan all elements of your remote workers’ needs, ensuring both the infrastructure and the business is ready to fully support your remote workloads without issue.

Please contact us now if you think we may be able to help.

 

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