Are Hosted Desktops Safe for Remote Employees?
Thanks to COVID-19, working remotely has become more common. The transition has gone so well that many employers and employees are looking to stay this way.
While some businesses have been working remotely for several years and were ready for the pandemic, many other companies have had to adapt. They are now fully equipped with a remote workforce thanks to having to transition during the pandemic.
Still, COVID news eclipsed pretty much all other workplace news in 2020, the trend to workplaces moving some staff to remote working was already well underway. However, the pandemic did substantially accelerate this transition.
Companies worldwide are making their transitions permanent. New companies are popping up with a dedication to remote staff from the beginning.
Remote work is here to stay. This is why:
It is what employees want
When choosing a job these days, a company's remote work options rank up with other top benefits such as a 401K and health insurance. Like it or not, there are a substantial number of workers who see remote work options, whether wholly or partially remote, as a potential deal-breaker when choosing potential employers.
While working from home options are most popular with millennials and Gen Z, the choice is appealing to people of all ages. This is especially true for those tired of a long commute every day.
There are many reasons potential employees prefer remote work besides just working from home. Working flexibly gives people far more opportunity to get things done with a more flexible schedule than simply working where they live.
Some of the many reasons a job seeker would prefer to work remotely include essential family commitments, a draining long commute, medical and personal commitments, and simply having an overall more equitable work-life balance.
While some workers do not mind returning to the office, many others are attracted to flexible working options now that they see their freedom. Knowing this, employers can be losing their opportunity to attract the best possible talent by not having flexible working options.
Remote work creates global opportunity
Have you ever found a perfect candidate for an open position, but that person was too far away and not willing to relocate or commute? Without a remote work option, you have lost that potential recruit.
Whether or not a job seeker has to relocate is a top factor in deciding for or against a job. Some people will not even consider a position they have to relocate to get. Nonetheless, your company loses out on top talent because of a thinner applicant pool.
In contrast, other companies run results-driven recruiting where they do not care where the employee lives or works, as long as they can deliver company goals. Remote working options can deliver superior talent not limited by location.
Remote work is not possible for all businesses. Nonetheless, if it is possible for your company, it can be a game-changer.
As part of an ongoing process of finding ways to attract top talent, companies and employees alike no longer have to be tied to sometimes costly hubs of industry.
Working remotely is more cost-effective
While some businesses have a massive headquarters in a big city with plenty of room for everyone, most companies are not as fortunate. For the small and medium-size businesses where office space is carefully budgeted, having more remote staff means less office space.
In the modern workplace, there are even companies with a workforce that is 100% remote. These organizations are known as virtual, or distributed companies, which frees up the company to use little or no office space.
Lean budgets are a constant challenge for business owners; this means remote working offers potential cost savings. Whether or not your business makes the transition, it is worth considering.
The downside: A remote working environment can increase the risk of cyber attacks
Thanks to COVID-19, organizations across the spectrum, including data-sensitive industries such as healthcare, law, government, and more, depend on technology such as managed hosted desktop services more than ever before.
Virtual meetings on platforms such as Zoom have almost entirely replaced in-person working in some places. The forced experiment of working remotely has proven to be a success, with study after study showing teams are just as productive, if not more so, when working together virtually.
Now that employees have grown accustomed to this new trend, job seekers and employees are now demanding more flexibility with where they work. It looks as if remote work is here to stay.
Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit, organizations no longer had the luxury of transitioning to a remote work staff on their timeline. The result is that many remote workers are operating with unsecured equipment and networks. Many companies did not have time to upgrade equipment, implement a hosted desktop solution, evaluate vulnerabilities, and patch them accordingly.
Unfortunately, many employees continue to work without a proper firewall or secure cloud security. Thus, more data is being exposed to cyber criminals now more than ever before.
When the transition happened, cyber criminals wasted no time in exploiting these vulnerabilities. In the first four months of 2020 alone, cyber attacks had a reported 400% increase and a 278% increase in leaked government records. A large portion of these attacks were the result of employee error. Still, many more were due to the rise in security flaws due to increased off-premises working.
Zoom experienced multiple large-scale interruptions of service and data leaks in the first months of the pandemic due to the unexpected massive surge to the platform and inadequate cyber security protocols.
While cyber crime continues to be an ever-evolving cat and mouse game, businesses must pivot to remote work being the 'new normal.' There will always be a cyber criminal threat.
Sadly, cyber crime is here to stay, which is why managed hosted desktop services continue to protect against data breaches before it’s too late to businesses, governments, and infrastructure.
Today's organizations are re-evaluating their systems and infrastructures for their strengths and weaknesses in data transmission. Many executives are also looking more carefully at whom they trust to manage their data. Trust is critical these days.
Are hosted desktops safe?
Hosted desktops are often the safest and most secure option for remote work. A hosted desktop is even safer than the more commonly-used VPN for keeping data protected. With many VPN services and users, it isn't easy to know precisely how well protected you are. Several studies also show that some VPN companies do not keep the promises of data security they promise their customers.
A primary issue with a VPN is that you are still sending your data through a third party, and that party has access to your information. In addition, VPN's have other flaws:
- A VPN will not protect you from viruses and malware.
- VPNs are slow. Many VPN services can slow your connection by 25% or more.
- A VPN does not automatically protect all devices. Even if you use a VPN on your personal computer, a business center, or other location is usually inadequate.
While these issues were less a concern without a remote workforce, they're here now and need solutions. You cannot treat a remote workforce how you treat an on-site workforce operating within the same building.
A business's IT staff, system administrators, and users need to have access to the same software and information they have while in the office. In addition, the IT department also needs to be able to be in contact with users and each other to respond to support issues and threats as they come up.
The needs of staff to meet the job demands are complex enough when everyone is in one place, using internal computers and in a fixed location. However, the demands on both IT and users are significantly more difficult when people are working from home. Users are at any place they see fit, like a coffee shop or their child's ball game, potentially even on a cell phone.
For these challenges of delivering security and safety wherever users may need it, managed hosted desktop services are the most reliable and cost-effective solution.
What is a managed hosted desktop service?
Managed hosted desktop services are a combination of several technologies that allow authorized users access to the comprehensive resources of a business's information, software, and servers remotely through a hosted desktop portal. Users then access their host system from anywhere as if they were in the office using a company computer.
Unlike older technologies like a VPN, a hosted desktop offers a superior solution that multiple devices can use in any location. Managed hosted desktop services can help your organization address the challenges of the "Anytime, anywhere" remote workplace.
The hosted desktop supports the highest levels of encryption possible, keeping connections secure. Another benefit of a hosted desktop is that the interface acts as a mirror of the local server, making access as seamless and straightforward as actually being there.
Businesses can trust that their authorized connections are secure with a hosted desktop due to granular access control. Such features guard against unauthorized access. Another benefit is that thanks to widely available Internet access, specialized connections are not required.
Software installations and updates are managed through the hosted desktop. Hosted desktops give the IT staff control of implementing upgrades when choosing consistently and securely. Having this control improves security for the entire organization. A hosted desktop ensures all users and workstations are made aware of updates and can implement them properly to maintain access. A timely system of implementing software patches and upgrades is a top recommendation of cybersecurity experts worldwide.
Remote workplaces need hosted desktops
A modern remote workplace needs the right mix of skills, experience, technology, and commitment to stay safe. Invariably, the right managed hosted desktop service provider will take time to understand your businesses' needs and the continuing demands of cyber security. In addition, a reliable hosted desktop provider will demonstrate that they have the experience, ecosystem, and solutions in place to meet these needs.
SSI is thrilled to discuss your ongoing hosted desktop needs. Working with us, you will see not only what we have done to improve the data security of remote working environments for multiple industries, but also what we can do for your business.