It was only a handful of years ago that Managed Service Providers (MSPs) relied on traditional on-site IT support to address their clients’ needs. While this tactic worked when only about 17% of employees worked from home, the intensification of the flexible work culture and shift toward remote work have made on-site IT support less efficient. To that end, an essential tool for MSPs to have in their arsenal today is remote access solutions.
To ensure business continuity and customer satisfaction, MSPs must resolve unexpected issues—both big and small—as quickly as (or even before) they arise. When issues occur, remote access solutions enable MSPs to remotely access client systems to provide support and resolve issues faster, minimizing downtime.
What are remote access solutions?
Remote access solutions are software and tools that enable authorized personnel to securely access computer systems from another device at any time and from anywhere. These tools allow technicians to connect to and control computers, servers, and applications on another device remotely as if they were sitting in front of it.
Response and resolution times are some of the most critical support metrics organizations consider when shopping for the best MSPs for their business. With remote access software, MSP technical staff can remotely access their client’s network and systems to diagnose and resolve end-user issues, deploy critical software updates, ensure cybersecurity, and monitor network assets and resources.
Why is secure remote access important?
While remote access offers convenience, it also comes with significant security risks. Employees working from home may access company resources using an unsecured device or internet connection, leaving organizations vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hence, secure remote access is necessary to maintain company resources’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Broader attack surface
Generally, the large number of devices, web applications, and network nodes accessing an enterprise system creates numerous possible cybersecurity threats. When employees are permitted to access company resources remotely, the attack surface expands beyond the on-site network infrastructure as they often connect to the corporate network from various locations and devices. This gives malicious actors more entry points or attack vectors for potential cyberattacks, thus increasing the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security incidents. Secure remote access helps mitigate these risks by ensuring that only authorized individuals and devices can access company resources.
Who has access to what applications and data is a critical aspect of enterprise security strategy. Organizations without a standard security policy often give employees more access than they need, creating a heightened risk of unauthorized access to the company’s resources. Enforcing strong authentication and authorization protocols such as role-based access control (RBAC), multi-factor authentication (MFA), least privilege, or attribute-based access control (ABAC) to prove the identity of users and applications and control their access privileges lessens the risk of unauthorized access to enterprise systems.
Secure remote access solutions are designed to balance convenience and protection as they ensure business continuity after an attack, disaster, or downtime. It lets MSPs monitor client systems for any potential security threats, apply patches and updates at scale, and securely provide support remotely without needing a technician to be physically on-site.
Secure remote access enhances monitoring systems, as it allows MSPs to monitor different parameters and get alerted in the occurrence of a system failure or a breach and mitigate against them quickly, reducing the MTTR (mean time to repair/recovery) in the case of downtime.
What are the main remote access solutions?
Remote access solutions let MSPs, tech admins, technicians, or other authorized users remotely access and manage devices or systems from anywhere. The following are the top-rated remote access solutions.
Virtual private networks (VPN) are the most frequently used remote access solutions. They allow remote employees to securely access and use applications and data hosted in enterprise data centers. VPNs provide encrypted tunnels for data transmission over the Internet, guaranteeing that the connection between the remote device and the corporate network is secure. Some of the leading VPN protocols are as follows.
Secured socket layer SSL VPN creates a secure connection between web browsers through authentication and encryption. This VPN primarily runs on the browser and allows employees to access organization resources outside the corporate office.
Internet protocol security IPSec VPN creates an encrypted tunnel over the Internet. Unlike SSL VPN, this requires dedicated software that encrypts the network packet at the sender end and decrypts it at the receiver, securing the connection against external attacks.
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a Microsoft client-server technology that enables IT administrators to connect to a remote computer and control it via the Internet. This solution comes in handy when admins or MSPs need to perform certain operations, such as accessing files, troubleshooting, running applications, and providing technical support.
In remote work, a central server can be created where the organization’s data and application are hosted, and then employees can access this data remotely using RDP.
Secure Shell (SSH) is a cryptographic network protocol used to log onto remote systems securely. Administrators commonly use it for remote management and monitoring of devices from anywhere in the world. SSH establishes a secured connection over an unsecured network and allows for data transfer, automated processes, command execution, and remote access to private network systems. The standard method of establishing SSH protocol is password authentication and SSH Key, which helps protect data transfer over the unsecured network.
Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a cross-platform screen-sharing system that allows tech admins to access and control another computer’s desktop remotely. VNC lets users remotely access and control the graphical desktop of a computer. It works by transmitting keyboard and mouse input from one computer to another over a network, and it’s commonly used for technical support, collaboration, and remote administration.
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a desktop virtualization technology that allows users to access a virtual desktop hosted on a server or data center. In a VDI setup, the desktop operating system runs on a centralized server, and users connect to their virtual desktops remotely through a connection broker, which is a software-based gateway that serves as a go-between between the user and the server.
Simplify remote access with Syncro
Syncro, a comprehensive professional services automation (PSA) and remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform for MSPs, simplifies remote access with its integration with Splashtop – a remote access and IT support solution company.
Syncro allows admins and MSPs to securely access your client devices with a single click, making remote troubleshooting and support more efficient. It provides real-time alerts to notify you immediately of any issues on client devices, allowing you to respond and resolve them quickly before escalating.
Syncro includes all the tools you need to run your MSP business efficiently, including a remote registry editor, remote event viewer, remote file system browser, remote service and task manager, remote terminal, and remote PowerShell sessions.
You can take Syncro for a spin by signing up for a free trial — no credit card required.