Remote working: advice & free resources
By Neil Christie, Technical Director.
Mention home working and many people will assume that this is only a viable option for those with quality connectivity in terms of speed and reliability. But please don’t discount remote working because of a poor broadband connection. There are ways around this issue.
And what’s more a number of global suppliers are supporting business continuity during the pandemic, doing their bit to help communities work from home in uncertain times by offering free services.
Suggestions for getting connected:
Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
Many businesses will have utilised VPN for remote workers previously, but the need to increase home working is certainly driving demand.
If home-based staff require access to files residing on a company network server, that same server can often provide VPN access (with some configuration of the server and router).
Free VPN licenses:
- Cisco is providing free to use VPN licenses (AnyConnect) for customers who already have suitable equipment, and aren’t using VPN or need more VPN licenses: https://www.cisco.com/c/m/en_us/covid19.html
- Zoom already has free options, but is rolling it out further, free for use, to schools: https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/03/14/zoom-is-helping-schools-closing-due-coronavirus-fo.aspx
Those without a VPN, might find that with cloud-based services like Microsoft Office 365/OneDrive/Teams and Cisco Webex, they don’t need one anyway, as all of these services reside on the Internet, not on their internal network.
Free cloud resources include:
- Free Webex: https://help.webex.com/en-us/n80v1rcb/Cisco-Webex-Available-Free-in-These-Countries-COVID-19-Response
- Free Teams - allows group chat/audio/video conferencing/file storage: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2020/03/05/our-commitment-to-customers-during-covid-19/
Check for internet upgrades
Where a home user, or office, finds their Internet connection insufficient they should check in with their Internet provider about any available upgrades. Be aware that some supplier upgrades might be immediate or take a day or so, others might take a few weeks.
Try tethering to your mobile
For those not normally working from home, and finding their Internet too slow, the recommendation would be the same, but don’t discount 4G, perhaps via ’tethering’ to your mobile phone or with a dongle/router. In some locations 4G coverage may have improved unbeknownst to you, and now beat your landline/broadband Internet speed.
Speak to your IT provider
Check in with your IT provider for support or recommendations, and share tips with your colleagues on strategies you find work for you.
In the event that you're still having problems getting connected, please get in-touch. We're happy to help.
Take advantage of free resources