An estimated 13.4 million U.S. workers spend at least one day working from home per week, according to the Wall Street Journal. This increase in telecommuting has led to technological developments that may benefit you while traveling. When you get a call from your boss about filing missing reports while in Hawaii, you now have more ways to accomplish your tasks than you once would have. Remote work is possible in several different ways, including remote access through your OS, through software or through cloud computing.
Through Your OS
Both Windows and Mac offer OS-specific remote desktop options for you to access your work computer while you are away. Windows offers a feature called Remote Desktop, and Apple’s option is named Remote Desktop 3. Either of these will work to gain access to your computer, but you need access to another similar computer to use them. So, in the case of Windows Remote Desktop, you need another computer running a newer version of Windows to use it, according to Microsoft. This is why some people prefer more user-friendly software options, many of which will work in a Web browser.
Software Remote Access
There are a number of software solutions for remote access that will give you control over your work or home computer. Some of the more popular solutions include Go to my PC and LogMeIn. Go to my PC allows you to control your Mac or PC computer from an app on your phone, or from a Web browser. It is free for the first 30 days, and then costs $9.99 a month or $99 for a year of access. LogMeIn works similarly to Go to my PC, but it offers a range of different access products. Basic access to your computer is free, but functions like file transfers require a pro account, which costs $69.95 a year.
The ability to access your work computer remotely is powerful, but it is not without risks. Identity theft is a common problem for travelers, especially when using electronic devices. This is why the Better Business Bureau recommends leaving your computer at home. If you need to do work, though, that may not be an option. Internet Providers suggests using a comprehensive security approach, both while at home and abroad. Avoid accessing sensitive data over unsecured connections. The local coffee shop Wi-Fi is probably not the best place to conduct business, unless you setup your own VPN, or Virtual Private Network. Services like StrongVPN offer servers around the world for around $6.55 a month.
Use the Cloud
Services like Dropbox and Google Docs are your friends when it comes to working remotely. If you place the files you might need while away in your Dropbox or in your Google Docs account, you can get to them without needing to access your work computer. Google Docs is free with a Gmail account or a Google Plus account, and Dropbox offers free storage for the first 2 GB. You may still need to conduct your important transfers over a VPN for security when using these services while traveling, depending on the nature of what you are transferring.