How to Get Remote Access Your Work Computer from Home
Gaining remote access to your work computer from home or a remote location may be challenging depending upon your employer’s security polies and enforcement. Before trying to gain access, it is best to review options with the corporate information technology department.
There are going to be two primary options to gain access, one will be to access your desktop though a secure VPN (virtual private network) connection and the other is to use remote presentation software to bypass the corporate firewall.
Accessing a Work Desktop through VPN
In order to gain access though VPN you must first install and configure our VPN client.Each configuration will be different but the client software and the corporate information technology department should provide installation instructions.Once installed, the VPN software will allow the user to gain secure, remote access into the company network to access resources.
The next step will be to select a remote desktop software to display the work desktop on the remote computer.Among the options to consider are:
Windows Remote Desktop
Windows Remote Desktop software is installed on Windows as a standard component and is easy to configure.Since there is no additional software to install this is a good option for corporate users since desktop standardization policies may not allow the installation of additional software.
To make Windows Remote Desktop work you simple turn the option on in the computers property and then use the freely available client from the user home computer once connected though the VPN tunnel.The biggest challenge is either knowing the work desktops computer name or the IP address, which my change since they are typically dynamically assigned.
VNC (Virtual network computer) is a set of open source tools that are freely available for use both on Windows and non-Windows operating systems; like Linux and Apple OS.There are a number of options available within this class of product including Real VNC and TightVNC but each contains a client that needs to be installed on the work desktop and another that will be installed on the home computer to provide a remote connection.
Accessing a Work Desktop without VPN
In cases where VPN is not an option, there are some tools on the market that will provide a remote desktop connection over the internet. Generally, these tools are based on remote presentation software and have authentication integrated. They present the content though HTTPS (secured traffic) but bypass corporate firewalls and authentication rules so they may violate a corporate security policy.
There are a number of commercial solutions available but two of the more popular options are LogMeIn and GoToMyPC. The concept behind these products is that you install client presentation software on your work desktop that will communicate over the internet. As the user of the software you go to a webpage from your home computer to initiate a connection and are prompted for a user name and password; once authenticated, you will be able to run programs on your work computer from the remote computer.
While there are free trials available, there may be monthly fees associated with these options and terms of service for the free options normally bar commercial uses.
Regardless of the approach you take, it is critical to understand your employer’s security policy and the impact of each approach because some companies my view unsupported remote access as a breach of security.