Every business needs computers to do its job and there is a continuous push for more software to improve and streamline business operations. It’s not uncommon for each employee to have multiple devices, including desktop PCs (opens in new tab)laptops, tablets and smartphones (opens in new tab). This creates the challenge of keeping all of these devices up-to-date at all times in order to maintain optimal functioning. Finally, there is a time factor as updates need to be done as soon as possible, especially when there is a zero-day exploit, but it is impossible to update every device at the same time.
One approach has been remote support, which allows a technician to work on the computer’s software at a remote location over the Internet. This is powerful technology that can fix computer problems without having to bring the computer in or have someone come to the place of business. However, this has two disadvantages. The first is that it is disruptive when the technician controls the computer since the user cannot use the computer at the same time while the remote support person takes control of the mouse and keyboard. The other problem is that it can pose a potential security risk since the technician is given access to the entire computer, so the vendor with a good reputation needs to be chosen carefully.
While remote support has its uses, the challenge is not to disrupt users’ workflow. We all have been in the situation where you are trying to do something, always in the middle of some important task and out of nowhere the message that Windows will shut down in the next few minutes pops up. The lesson from this common scenario is the importance of avoiding user disruption and downtime due to maintenance tasks, as a frequent remote support approach for routine updates would be too intrusive for routine maintenance tasks.
Keep it safe
Remember that one goal of any remote access is to make the environment and network more secure. Finally, organizations are concerned about network breaches, insecure passwords, and the constant threat of viruses, spyware, and ransomware (opens in new tab) and economic espionage. When choosing a provider for any of the remote access variants, it is crucial that they are a trusted partner when providing access to devices.
Decisions, decisions, decisions
This remote access can apply to all connected devices as they all need to be managed as well. Some remote support providers provide access to a PC, and if they only support a single platform, it will be Windows. Be sure to take an inventory of all PCs, both desktops and laptops (opens in new tab), and what operating system they use, e.g. B. Linux and macOS. Also, with the proliferation of mobile devices, there are now ways to remotely support tablets (opens in new tab) and also smart phones. When choosing a provider, make sure they support all the devices that need support, and it’s often preferable that it’s a single provider.
What is background access?
Background access is the process of remotely accessing a computer, but the difference is that it does not require permission from the user for the session to initiate. The advantage is that the user is not interrupted and background access is much more subtle compared to remote access.
Remote access is commonly used in both home and business environments to troubleshoot a specific problem with a PC on an episodic basis when needed to support the user. The typical background access scenario is to perform a maintenance task without interrupting the user’s workflow. In fact, the user may not even be aware that someone is on the computer with them! This is to minimize downtime and is better suited to the enterprise environment.
In fact, background access offers a number of advantages. First, support is streamlined as the support agent can access the machine at any time and does not have to wait for user permission to gain access to the system. this also makes it easier to work outside of working hours and on weekends if necessary. In addition, problems can be resolved more quickly this way because support can be provided faster, thereby increasing operational efficiencies. There is also an opportunity to reduce the response time to an issue because technical support can get into a system and assess the situation before starting a remote session. Also, background access is ideal for system maintenance to keep a system up to date with the latest security patches.
The hallmark of background access, along with its inherent benefit, is that the user is uninterrupted, and as the name suggests, it occurs in the background with no interruption to the end user.
What is unattended access?
Another variation on this theme of different ways to access a PC remotely is unattended access. Perhaps the variation of the term is a bit more descriptive, namely unattended remote access.
Unlike traditional remote access, which requires the user to have software installed and allow the user to access the PC session by session, unattended access does not have these requirements. Rather, in this unattended access scenario, the device can be accessed remotely and the device does not even need to be used (though it does need to be powered on). The popularity of this option is fueled by the need for online security as well as remote workers who can be spread across different time zones around the world.
Remote access in all its various forms, from traditional remote support to background access to unattended access, allows access to a device from a remote location. Understanding the differences allows the company to choose the best solutions to support its devices remotely.
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