Large parts of the US are being paralyzed by this year’s first blizzard “Hercules” - Happy New Year! With temperatures far too cold to get out of your house and thousands of cars being buried beneath masses of snow, having to go to work can be terribly annoying. You might even end up digging out your car from the snow, only to realize that it was your neighbor’s. In order to prevent this from happening, you have three options:
1. Call in sick.
2. Take vacation and try to catch a plane to a warmer place. Maybe somewhere like Iceland or just any other place on earth.
3. Work from home, if you are lucky enough to work for a company that allows you to access your workplace from home.
Although options 1 and 2 seem tempting, this blog article wants to concentrate on option number three. Working from home offers a lot of benefits to employees. You can more flexibly arrange your work-life-balance, save on time commuting to and from work and avoid distractions at your workplace (also, you don’t have to deal with blizzards on your way to work). For companies, home offices help save energy costs, offer their employees more flexible working hours and can secure business continuity.
Home offices seem great, but we have bad news for you. According to a study from 2012, the chances that you are able to work from home are rather low . The study found that, even though more and more companies are claiming to offer possibilities to work from home, the proportion of employees that actually work from home remained essentially flat between the mid-90s and mid-2000s. The authors found that in 2004 only seventeen percent of the working population worked for an average of six hours a week from home. Another statistic reports that in 2011 forty-five percent of the US workforce held a job that was compatible with at least part-time telework .
The good news is that the technology to enable employees to work from home is already there and ready to be implemented. At HOB, we offer various software products that can help you set up home offices. With HOB RD VPN, for example, employees are able to connect from any computer with an internet connection to company servers or their desktop computer in the office. The access doesn’t require any admin rights or installation on the client side, which makes it perfectly easy for anyone to connect with their workplace. Thanks to Wake-on-LAN, you can remotely turn on and off your workplace computer and save energy. Remote connections over HOB RD VPN are SSL encrypted, so you don’t need to worry about security issues. Since HOB products are only software, they can be easily integrated into any existing IT infrastructure.
As one can see, there really is no point in trying to fight Hercules. Instead, companies and employees should start implementing and using remote access technology to enable home offices.
Finally, please let us know how you and your work life have been affected by Hercules and what experiences you made with home offices. We are looking forward to reading your comments!
M. C. Noonan & J. L. Glass (2012): “The hard truth about telecommuting.” In Monthly Labor Review
K. Lister & T. Harnish (2011): “The State of Telework in the US.“ http://www.workshifting.com/downloads/downloads/Telework-Trends-US.pdf
Even in an office of 20 or less employees, a VPN is necessary for secure connectivity anytime, anywhere. However, many small businesses don’t have an extensive IT department to make decisions regarding network security and remote access. By reviewing the basic types of VPNs and their features, a small business can easily decide which type of VPN is best for their needs.
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) VPN makes use of a web browser’s security capabilities to secure private network traffic. SSL VPNs are versatile and easy to use as they do not require the installation of specialized client software on the end user’s computer. This allows users to access solely specific application and services and is ideal for small business that want to provide, e.g., access to Web applications, Windows Terminal Servers and its applications or internal network connections.
An Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) VPN is generally more suitable for static or long-term connections, e.g., for tying a branch office to the headquarter. Reasons lie in the fact that most IPSec VPNs require an installation of client software on the end device. Thus, every device of every user needs physically to be touched and managed. For this task, often specific IT knowledge is required.
Both types allow you to remotely access network resources—providing a secure and private link to your network via the public Internet—but in different ways. Choosing the right one for a small business depends on the existing or anticipated network hardware and the type of users who need remote access to the applications and data on the network.
Because IPSec and SSL VPNs offer different features at the cost of security or convenience, HOB has developed a VPN that maintains the best features of each type. In contrast to other VPNs, HOBLink VPN Anywhere Client offers the advantage of installation-free SSL-based clients while maintaining the security of traditional IPSecs.
The installation-free feature of HOBLink VPN Anywhere Client is ideal for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to manage every device connecting to the server. Furthermore, this type of VPN is not dependant on the network hardware, enterprises resources or the applications the users will need access to.
What type of VPN do you have a VPN for your small business? Does it function effectively? Please share in the comments below.