The evolution of the workplace has never been quicker, more dynamic and surprising as it has been in the past few years. 24/7 global business cultures and rapidly advancing technologies means that people have the opportunity to share knowledge from anywhere, at any time.
The reputation of remote access technology in the past has often been ‘the support tool that the IT guys use’, however the evolving workplace has created huge opportunities for the potential of remote access, and it has in turn started to create opportunities for the business as an enabler of creative collaboration and flexible working.
Keeping up pace with interconnected business environments
As businesses are increasingly living and operating in a shared ecosystem, trends like sharing office space and/or storage space via the cloud have been a great enabler for SMEs in particular, often keeping the traditional barriers for them – eg overheads – at a minimum. As this information and resource sharing culture continues to progress, we’ve seen SMEs use remote access tools to do anything from train people remotely, to monitor software infrastructures remotely.
The greater need for connecting business processes to partners, suppliers and customers, means that tools like remote access are also being called upon by organisations to facilitate secure connectivity between them and their customers.
As well as this, businesses are using remote access to allow service providers or vendors to access their systems in a controlled and secure fashion, ensuring systems are tuned, updated and resistant to downtime risks. Some organisations are granting their customers remote access to resources such as training and test environments, further reducing the expense and cost of training while improving customer service.
Internally within businesses, it is contributing to breaking down traditional team silos by enabling employees to participate in secure remote, real-time support or training from department experts in any location, or ‘remote in’ to office PCs or servers from laptops, tablets or even mobile phones.
Alongside this, companies are solving problems by crowdsourcing the best information and skills from the most appropriate places across the organisation, easily enabled by these remote access technologies.
Survival in an ‘always-on’ world
Having on-demand access to information as well as resources is becoming a growing expectation for people, and consequently businesses. With the excitement around 5G and the growing advancement of applications, there’s an expectation for many firms to be ‘on’ 24/7, regardless of their size or resources. With virtual reality and artificial intelligence coming to the fore, the need for this ‘on-demand’ approach to working will only become more of a necessity.
Organisations aiming to keep up with this pressure will be looking for ways to deliver instant support and management to devices. Remote access tools will play a key role in supporting this on-demand, real-time world that we’re progressively moving into, by enabling businesses to monitor and work on devices in all geographies in real time.
Maintaining and servicing IT estates, even when devices don’t already have software installed, may begin to become normal practice in some companies. Adapting to this changing expectation will be the key to survival for many businesses, along with adapting to the evolving security landscape.
With cyberattacks commonly being covered in the news now, it’s clear that they’ve become commonplace rather than isolated incidents, and with growing numbers of devices and the increasing attack surface that comes along with this, keeping a handle on security is now more vital than ever.
With this in mind, businesses will be looking to use more tools that enable them to manage who has access to what information so that only the authorised personnel have visibility of sensitive information, and more broadly address compliance considerations.
With this more collaborative and flexible business landscape, there has never been more opportunity for SMEs to take advantage for their own benefit. If they keep on top of evolving expectations, changing ways of working and ensure that threats are considered and managed effectively, there’s no reason why they can’t thrive.
Adam Byrne is chief operating officer of RealVNC.