Rich Widelski

Service Desk Manager

As we all know, there are enormous changes happening across all industries at the moment and these changes have to happen quickly out of necessity.

Our team of Engineers have been working very hard to facilitate remote working for the vast majority of our customers.  Understandably, there are compromises that we have been asked to make given the nature of the situation.

When it comes to remote working, there are a number of methods that we would recommend, they all have a different cost and also depend on what the nature of the work that you perform is.

Across all of them, we would recommend company laptops, and the whole company having the same model, it makes troubleshooting and configuration of the machines far simpler and faster.

Having company laptops means that your staff have the flexibility to work from either home or the office.  They also have wireless technology built in which makes life a great deal less complicated and provides them with far more flexibility as to where in their homes they can work.

It is very rare that a laptop will not be suitable for the work that it is needed for.  It can be connected to monitors and keyboards and act just like a desktop – in fact, I am using mine just like this at home now!

If there are security concerns with laptops, we minimise this by ensuring that they are encrypted, and password protected.

To connect these to the office, you will need what is called a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and what this does is it connects your laptop at home and it then becomes part of your work network.  This means that you can access shared drives across the company and access any intranet pages or other company sensitive information.

Westgate IT always ensure that the laptops are locked down suitably so that they cannot be inadvertently damaged by the installation of personal software that we cannot verify.  Alongside this, the same Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam protection is applied to these machines as those that are in the office, meaning that your companies’ sensitive information is as secure as it can be.

We recommend the use of Office 365 and use it ourselves as it is incredibly convenient, effective and secure and can really tie in all your essential services and make sure that they can be accessed from anywhere that your staff need to access them from.

Now, the above setup is great for lots of customers, however there are some situations where it isn’t ideal.  This is often when applications like Sage 50 are being used.  These kinds of programs that have quite an old architecture (How they are made) often really don’t like working over a VPN and can provide some hinky results and when they are business critical applications, then this is less than ideal.

There are two options from here:

  1. Contact your software provider and enquire if they have a suitable cloud version that you can migrate to.
  2. Use a VPN and a Terminal Server. Imagine this to be one single computer that all your employees can connect to at once and use the applications locally inside your network.

There are of course many ways that these can be configured to work for you.  Even a hybrid approach to suit different job roles.

Westgate IT are ideally placed to work with your current infrastructure and can provide the best solution for your company and in a timely fashion.

Published: 31st March 2020