What is a VPN Router?
One of the big things we’ve been working on over the last month is setting up VPN routers. VPN routers allow users to connect to their work computer remotely, to access all their work from anywhere. The key is that the VPN capabilities pf the router. They make remote access as safe as possible for the user, and for the company. We’re proud in the fact that most of our clients actually have these routers already, as we’ve advised them to over time. This means that instead of there being any added cost, we could simply just change a few settings remotely to enable whatever tools they need.
Often this means that the staff members working practices don’t need to change. It allows you to offer remote working to your staff. As I’m sure you’ve seen over the last few weeks – this is definitely needed now to run your business effectively. In fact, any forward-thinking business owner will know that this was actually needed long ago. Any staff who might need to go on maternity leave, are off sick, or otherwise cannot get into the office need to be able to work from home.
Microsoft’s Remote Working Package
I often use and recommend Microsoft’s remote working protocol. You log in to the PC in your office, and you can do anything. From a security perspective, you’re not pushing your internal information out to a third party device. This is an answer to a really common problem. Many businesses will turn to their staff and have a conversation a little like this:
Business Owner: “Do you have a laptop at home?”
Employee: “I do, yes”
Business Owner: “Great, let’s get you logged in and connected to our entire infrastructure so that you can access it from home!”
While this sounds great, you’ve now got a potentially unprotected piece of equipment engaged in your business’s systems. What happens when that computer has a virus, that travels into your system and holds your entire company hostage? Having that control and safety is vital, a remote desktop can often offer that. You can monitor the antivirus systems, you can monitor who accesses what, etc.
There are some people who are scrambling, without too much thought about the situation. People are panicking, and just trying to get things done. These moments of panic are where you will slip up as a business. You need to be focusing on what you can do long term to improve things. Make sure you’re not going to get attacked by malware. Make sure you’re capable of safely connecting to your systems from home. Make sure your staff can carry on working in case something like this happens again.
How to get Microsoft Teams for Free
It’s also really important to note, Microsoft recently announced that Microsoft Teams will be available to everybody. Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. The service integrates with the company’s Office 365 subscription office productivity suite and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products.
Teams is a part of Office 365. If your organization is licensed for Office 365, you already have it. But we want to make sure everyone has access to it during this time. Here are some simple ways to get Teams right away.
If you want to get started with Teams, we can get you up and running right away.
- If you have an email address through work or school, sign in using this link. We’ll get you into Teams in no time.
- If you’re using an email address like Gmail or Outlook, you can sign up for the freemium version of Teams by following this link.
The self-service links above work great for individuals, but if you’re an IT professional who wants to roll out Teams centrally, here’s what to do.
- If you work for a business that isn’t currently licensed for Teams, we’ve got you covered with a free Office 365 E1 offer for six months. Contact your Microsoft partner or sales representative to get started today. (Note: the same offer is available in the Government Cloud, but not available in GCC High and the Department of Defense.)
- If you work in education and want to set up teachers, students, and administrators on Teams, use Office 365 A1. This free version of Office 365 is available to all educational institutions. Sign up by following this link.
If you’re unsure of where to go from here, get in touch with me. Business is running as usual on our end, as we follow our own advice!