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new remote ways of working and mobile tech

We are moving to a more remote workforce and we have been asked to identify new ways of working to ensure we are making the use of the technology available to us. At present “remotely”, i.e. out the office we have laptops that can connect to the internet and corporately there is an outlook web access facility and a citrix access gateway for getting to mail and files from network shares etc.

We can also make use of blackberries if required, but I am not sure aside from calls and mail what else we could do with them.

So was really more after what technology you use remotely above beyond email and citrix for files, and what else you tap into via smart-phones (blackberries, iphones/pads etc). Just really some inspiration on what else we could look to use “on the move” in the year 2012. We essentially act as risk/audit based consultancy and end product of our work is really a look at controls and production of a report with what we feel is good and what could be done better/in a more controlled manner.

Some sort of catalogue of what technology you use remotely and for what purposes and how it benefits remote working would be great.
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pma111
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pma111
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
You can set up a RAS server so that users can VPN into the company network to work remotely just like they were connected locally.

That way file sharing, access and printing in the office would all still be able to take place.

If someone is working remotely and needs to print in the office for an Admin Assistant or some other reason they could.

User would have access to personal directories and shared folders on the network drives.

You will also want to make sure you have a pretty good security policy in place for mobile devices.

If one is lost/stolen you don't want the thief to be able to access your company files.
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pma111Author Commented:
Got that part covered via citrix access gateway .....
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
Ok.  One other thing we use for our iPads is a program called Office2 HD.  This is an app that can open/modify/create MS Office documents that are 100% compatable with the Office Suite.

It that the type of suggestions you are looking for?
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pma111Author Commented:
yes, thanks

just really get every possible benefit out of smartphones above / beyond call and email
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
Make sure the phones have either tethering or mobile hot-spot capibility.  That way as long as your users have cellular service, they will be able to get their laptops on the internet.

Be aware that this is a HUGE power drain on the mobile device and should be plugged in if possible.

Search the stores for your mobile devices for apps that would make people more productive.

There are literally thousands of them out there.

From PDF readers, connecting to PCs, financial calculators, etc.  You and your users would know what would help them with their jobs.

Browse the stores and shop.  Try free demos first if available.  Read reviews to see what others say about apps.
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pma111Author Commented:
ok thanks, can you elaborate (in laymans terms) on this one:

Make sure the phones have either tethering or mobile hot-spot capibility.  That way as long as your users have cellular service, they will be able to get their laptops on the internet.
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
Ok....Sure thing...

Tethering is where you physically connect your smart device to your computer/laptop via a USB cable.  You can then piggyback off of the cellular service and access the internet from the PC/laptop.  This feature needs to be turned on and there is usually an additional charge for it.  Watch data plan usage.

A mobile hot-spot is where you basically use your smart device as a mobile wireless router.  You can connect a number of wireless devices and use the cellular service to access the internet.  Again..This feature needs to be turned on and there is usually an additional charge for it.  Watch data plan usage.

For the mobile hot-spot option you want to make sure you have security enabled so others cannot hop onto your connection and steal your bandwidth.

I have both of these features on my LG Android Lucid.  It works very well.  Especially in airports, the park, or anywhere you want to get internet as long as you have a cellular signal.

On my phone I can allow from 1 to 10 wireless devices to connect.  These could be iPads/laptops/desktop computers with wireless card, etc...  I have it limited to 3 but can change it at will.
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alexsupertrampCommented:
1)In my office there are a few remote heavy users, I'm one of them.  My favorite method is to run RAS (remote access service) on a server at our office.   Users connect to this over the internet then can start an rdp session  (remote desktop protocol) with their workstation desktop.   I like this because users do not have company data and software on their home pc's or remote laptops.  Both RAS and rdp are native Windows services.  Rdp is also free and available for Macs.

2) Use gotomypc.com to access your office workstations over the internet.    It costs, but the performance is better than windows rdp over vpn.    And it is compatible with ipads, which is something  I will be testing in the coming weeks.

3) Virtual desktops:  This is probably not in your wheelhouse right now, but virtual desktops work very well over the internet, where, in the case of Citrix, users can access their desktop with nothing more than a web browser and internet access.  But this is a significant infrastructure bump if you don't already have virtual servers or desktops in place.

I would be prudent while going the route of broadband access via a verizon or at&t broadband card or tethered smartphone.  It is expensive, the data speeds and dependability are questionable and I have found that there are just not that many times I am not near a wifi connection, which is going to be much faster and dependable anyways.
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