Accessing data remotely can be done through various methods, depending on the type of data, the systems in place, and security requirements. There are several questions that you should ask before attempting remote access to data such as;

  • Is there a consistent and quality internet connection at both locations?
  • Does my application support remote access?
  • Is there a secure method for accessing this data?

Here are some common ways to access data remotely:

  1. Virtual Private Network (VPN): Using a VPN allows you to securely connect to your organization’s network from a remote location over the internet. Once granted access and connected, you can access files, applications, and resources as if you were physically present in the office. VPNs encrypt the data transmitted between your device and the corporate network, ensuring confidentiality and security.
  2. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP): Remote Desktop allows you to remotely access and control a computer or server from another device. You can use RDP client software to connect to your office computer or a remote server and access files, applications, and resources as if you were sitting in front of the remote machine.  While this protocol is very convenient, ensure that proper security measures have been taken to secure both the connection and the receiving network.  Using a VPN as described above is a preferred way to connect after which you would initiate your remote desktop session.
  3. Cloud Storage and File Sharing Services: Cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and Box allow you to store files and documents in the cloud and access them from any internet-connected device. These platforms typically offer synchronization features that ensure your files are up to date across all your devices. Ensure that these platforms are secured with multi factor authentication to dissuade bad actors from accessing your data.
  4. Web-based Applications: Many software applications and services are now accessible via web browsers, allowing you to access data and perform tasks remotely without the need for specific client software. Examples include web-based email clients, project management tools, and productivity suites like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365.
  5. Mobile Apps: Many organizations provide mobile apps that allow employees to access corporate data and applications from smartphones and tablets. These apps may provide limited functionality compared to desktop versions but offer convenience for on-the-go access to essential information. The use of a mobile device management (MDM)  software is recommended if accessing any corporate information from a mobile device.

When accessing data remotely, it’s crucial to prioritize security to protect sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access. This includes using strong authentication methods (e.g., multi-factor authentication), encrypting data transmissions, and following security best practices such as keeping software up to date and avoiding public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive transactions. Additionally, organizations should implement policies and controls to govern remote access and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.