Virtualization and Isolation
Virtualization and isolation are other strategies that can make remote access a safer proposition for companies. "Isolated virtual machines allow IT to compartmentalize different spheres of operation. Now I can create spheres where workers manage their corporate e-mail accounts and connections to the CRM to do their real work," Quillin said. "The idea and advantage of that architecture is that you've now created isolation between work and personal tasks, and isolation enhances security." Still another security issue involves keeping up-to-date on which remote workers can access their corporate network from offsite. "I hear almost every day about people forgetting to deactivate employees after they leave the company," NCP's Hack told eWEEK. "The biggest security breaches over the past five years were attributable to people still having VPN access."
Businesses with large numbers of remote employees can find themselves forced to periodically cull those access lists by hand, painstakingly deleting ex-employees one at a time. Introducing a management system that keeps tabs on employees and their access, though, can limit the time and hours spent on that sort of security maintenance.
"We're a small example of what companies have to do now, in terms of selecting a winner," said Chris Fleck, vice president of solutions development for Citrix Systems. "For companies trying to figure out whether they're going to build internal applications for their employees, should they bet on iOS and Android and PlayBook? It's a challenge. Do you quadruple your development effort? That's a real challenge." That challenge has led to some companies adopting a wait-and-see attitude toward iOS and Android. Vendors such as Citrix also offer solutions that give remote workers ubiquitous access to applications from a broad range of devices. In the end, the solution for many of the complexity issues associated with remote access might sit in the cloud, with services that spare IT administrators the costs and time associated with managing on-premises support for workers' devices in the field. Whatever the ultimate solution, though, it's clear that remote access is not only here to stay as a business model, but also burgeoning in popularity-and, in the process, becoming a major issue for IT shops everywhere.