Remote Access Expands Your Business Reach

While Internet technology enables small business owners to work nearly anywhere, getting access to important files or documents stored in the workplace can be trickier. Remote access services enable business owners to access applications, files, emails and other network resources securely from any Internet-enabled PC.

Most remote access services use Web-based screen-sharing software that establishes a secure connection between your PC and any remote computer with Web access. Simply log in via a password-protected website and you'll be connected to your office or home PC.

If, for instance, you're at a client site or attending a conference, you can use any public or borrowed PC to access your machine back in the office securely.

Accessing your PC or network remotely offers a number of valuable productivity-enhancing benefits to small business owners:

  • Print remotely � You can access and work with important documents from outside the office, and send the finished work product to the printer back in your office for signatures, filing or collaboration with a colleague.
  • Security � Communications and file transfers using remote access software are protected by SSL encryption. You can safely access your computer without leaving electronic trails or data on the remote PC.
  • Technical support � You can allow a colleague or your company's IT consultant to access your computer to diagnose and address any performance issues you may be experiencing.

Microsoft and Apple both offer remote desktop access features in their operating systems, and remote access software from other providers is available through monthly or annual service plans.

Popular choices include TeamViewer, Parallels Access, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and others.

Smart Phone File Access

A new breed of applications and services is extending remote file and document access to smartphones and tablets to allow business owners to work with critical files from nearly everywhere.

Several applications allow business owners to access company files or shared folders remotely and securely, or to synchronize files and folders. The applications allow you to create a connection with a small program running on your PC or server, and to access files stored on that machine over a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.

While specific capabilities may vary, most remote access programs display small icons or thumbnails on your smart phone, and will reformat larger files for easier display on your phone's screen. Remote search capabilities allow you to find the files you need by entering keywords on your smart phone, and password protection can be used to prevent unauthorized remote access to sensitive business or personal information.

Remote access software can also provide some basic collaboration tools by allowing users to edit files remotely and synchronize the latest version to the shared or server folder. The revised versions can be accessed by fellow team members, ensuring everyone is working with and sharing the latest version.

Popular remote access apps include Microsoft Remote Desktop, Chrome Remote Desktop, Screens VNC, TeamViewer, Splashtop, and others.