8 tips for successful remote computer access

Posted:
03/05/2020
| By:
Dee Cater

When you’re an IT solutions provider, clients and colleagues are counting on you to keep their systems running smoothly—and to repair issues quickly when they’re not. One of the key tools in your technical arsenal? Remote computer access.

You likely already know that a user doesn’t have to be present to enjoy the benefits of remote access. If the device is on and connected to the internet, they can access their files, and you can conveniently and completely fix a problem by accessing the machine at any time.

But just how safe is remote access? It’s essentially as safe as you make it—and that all depends on your approach. Whether you’re evaluating your options or looking to get the most out of your solution, a security-first mentality can prevent vulnerabilities and headaches down the line. Here are some tips for success.

1. Control who has access

Role-based security: Here, your administrators are in the driver’s seat, deciding who has access to specific features, functions, and groups of devices—down to the most minute detail. With hundreds or thousands of employees, security is easier to manage by limiting unnecessary access to sensitive information based on each user’s established role within the organization. Access can be based on anything from authority to responsibility to job competency. Plus, you can limit specific tasks, such as the ability to view, create, or modify a file.

Audit logs: Looking for built-in accountability? With detailed logs of each session, you can reference host names, guest information, and timestamps. You can also pull session activities like transferred files, sent commands, and running tools. All notes and activities from a session can be automatically synced to a centralized area for quick future reference.

Video assurance: For even greater insight into the session, video logging takes audit logs to another level. This gives you a visual record to use for compliance, auditing, and training with optional configuration.

2. Put clients at ease

Believe it or not, some people don’t feel completely comfortable handing over their computers or servers to a stranger (we get it!). You can provide some peace of mind by giving users control over session durations and keeping everything transparent. How?

Enable permission-based security: With this option, end users are the gatekeepers of their machines, granting technicians access on their terms.

Request consent: When you send a user a request to control their device, you’re putting them in control when they’re ready, rather than interrupting their work.

Open the line of communication: Give users a glimpse into repairs by allowing them to monitor the work and interact with techs throughout the session.

Remove the footprint: Completely remove the client once a session has ended and clients never have to look back.

3. Get serious about security

Protect all data passing between host and guest systems—including data, file transfers, keystrokes, and chats—with security measures that rival banking and government institutions. Look for:

AES-256 encryption: An AES-256 encryption algorithm protects all data transmitted between the user's browser and the server, plus cloud instances can be automatically secured with SSL certificates.

Server-level auditing: Store audit logs, data, and optional recordings in the server's SQLite database for future use and reporting.

Self-hosted application: If compliance prevents you from operating in the cloud, consider self-hosting in your own environment.

Two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA), also known two-step verification or as multi-factor authentication, is an added level of security that keeps your accounts and important information safe. Users will have to use a combination of a password, mobile phone or bank card, and fingerprints to log into a system. This way, even if a cybercriminal cracks your password, they would need knowledge of other methods of authentication to gain access to your account.

4. Track assets

One of the looming threats with the flexibility of remote access is that devices can become ports of corporate data. It’s essential for employees to be able to view and work on important projects on the go, but it gets risky if one of the devices gets lost, stolen, or simply lands in the wrong hands. You must track and manage all connected devices, giving your IT team visibility they need to spot potential problems before they become full-blown issues. You should also be sure that devices can be remotely wiped if they should go missing.

5. Integrate with major third-party vendors

Your business management and support products should work in harmony to prevent inefficiencies, wasted time, and errors. The most successful remote access solution will easily integrate with the other systems you use, like ticketing, billing, and project management platforms. Otherwise, you could be creating more problems than you’re solving.

6. Customize the experience

Set users at ease from the start by customizing the experience. Most remote access software allows you to maintain brand continuity by uploading logos, matching colors, selecting themes, and choosing from many other white labeling options. Users can then look for these indicators before accepting remote session invitations and instantly feel at ease.

7. Educate users on standards

It’s great if you’re knowledgeable on the security of remote desktop access, but this becomes moot if other users aren’t—and don’t use it responsibly. Users must be educated on best practices and standards of operation. Be sure new end users/customers understand they have ultimate control over when and how it is used, and that new technicians understand the proper procedures for remote access. Every use of remote access software is a teaching opportunity, and it works both ways. Work with your information security team to make sure they have the ability to audit remote support sessions and make recommendations. Be clear with users about the benefits and make sure they understand their level of control. Consider creating a procedure guide, sharing dos and don’ts on logging in and out, keeping passwords private, and more.

8. Create a remote computer access policy

Along with education, consider creating and enforcing a remote access policy. Ideally, this will outline and define all the rules concerning accessibility into the company’s intranet server from remote locations. To be fully enforced, distribute the policy and have it signed by each employee that has rights to remote computer access. There should be a chosen group of individuals or an IT department that is in charge of enforcing, maintaining and updating the policy.

Access means progress

For employees, accessing information has never been easier. The advent of cloud computing makes working on-the-go and collaboration as seamless as being in the office. The same goes for remote access software, where the benefits are tangible:

  • Your business can save big on office space and IT infrastructure costs
  • Employees and technicians avoid travel costs
  • Regional and global offices connect easier
  • Organizations become more agile and productive

Choosing the right remote access solution assures you reap the benefits and minimize any risks. With ConnectWise Control®, you get easy-to-use remote access for easy-to-swallow prices. That means reliable, secure, and quick repairs that boost productivity—and bottom lines.