Working From Home
Now that we’ve looked at a couple of other technologies in the blog, let’s have a look at one that may become very important in the near future—working remotely.
Recent stories in the news concerning the coronavirus suggest that many office employees should begin to consider working remotely whenever possible. Being able to remain productive without having to come into the office will serve to deter the spread of the virus without significant cost to the business. This means that even in the event of a heavy quarantine, a business can continue to function.
Most company networks operate as a ‘private’ network. That means that none of the computers on the network can be directly accessed from the internet as they are. For small businesses, this is usually accomplished by assigning network addresses within a specific address range that is reserved for local area networks. These addresses are set aside by the TCP/IP technology and aren’t forwarded out over the internet.
But wait—the IT team showed you how to work from home and access files on the company server. So how does that work?
From a previous blog, Roaming Profiles:
A virtual private network, or VPN, is a way to trick your computer to thinking it’s at the office.
To explain how the technology works, imagine that the internet is a big field with a big fence, and your work network is a little field separated by another fence. Normally, these two fields are separated. However, connecting to your virtual private network is like digging a ‘tunnel’ between the big field and the little field (in fact, it’s actually called a tunnel).
Once you connect your virtual private network, your computer can reach your work network. In fact, it behaves exactly as if it’s in the office. That means you’ll be able to print, access your file shares, and otherwise behave just like you’re at work. Furthermore, your profile will update, which means your files will receive the latest updates to them if there has been a change!
In order to connect to your virtual private network, you’ll need to connect to the internet first. Once you connect to the internet, you can then click on the VPN connection to connect it as well – both connections are needed in order to work.
Once your VPN is connected, you’re off to the races! Just be sure your boss doesn’t actually think you’re at your desk today.
What This Means
VPN technology, video conferencing, email and cloud storage/applications are making it easier to work remotely than ever before. In this difficult time businesses should consider at this time to strongly consider allowing workers to work from home whenever possible.