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Three Reasons Why Hardware Beats Software for Remote Work

Remote work is growing by the day but entirely software-based solutions present various issues that a hardware-based solution can avoid.

Remote work is taking off like never before, due to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing trend of people working from home and in other remote locations. In fact, some are saying remote work could soon be the new normal. Over the last few years, the demand for video conferencing has grown significantly, for example, and has the potential to keep increasing; according to Fortune Business Insight ‘s Video Conferencing Market Analysis, the global video conferencing market size was USD$3.02 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD$6.37 billion by 2026, exhibiting a compounded annual growth rate of 9.8% during the forecast period.


While there are pros to working remotely, such as increased employee satisfaction and reduced commute time and costs, there are also pitfalls. Chief among them is how to replicate the experience of being in an office with face-to-face interaction, for example, while working elsewhere. Generally, individuals and organizations turn to cloud-based software solutions, and these can be helpful, but they also suffer from various disadvantages that a hardware-based solution does not. In short, the main challenges of a fully software-based remote work solution are the following:


Challenges of Remote Work Software


  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Productivity

In the following paragraphs we’ll take a look at these problems in more detail and outline how a hardware-based remote solution can get ahead of these issues to keep yourself or your organization on track from anywhere.

Security

In the immediate wake of stay-at-home orders across various nations, many individuals and organizations turned to entirely software-based teleconference solutions and VPNs to bridge the communication and workflow gap caused by the rapid pivot to remote work. However, soon enough cracks began to show in what at first seemed like a nearly ideal solution. A top videoconferencing service, which was adopted by companies and governments alike, was found to have various security vulnerabilities, namely one in which unauthorized users could spoof attendee messages, remove attendees from meetings, and hijack shared screens to broadcast inappropriate material.

Worse yet, the American-based platform was found to have “key management systems” in China, despite not being a Chinese company, which meant that by law the government of China could request any data on those management systems be handed over. In fact, meetings in which none of the participants were based in China had their meeting data pass through the platform’s key management systems in China. This meant that effectively, regardless of which country you were using the platform in, any of your data that passed through the platform could be requested by the Chinese government.

To make matters worse, a new study by Kaspersky found other security issues related to working-from-home situations. For example, 73% of workers surveyed had not received any IT security awareness from their employers before working at home. Of those workers, 27% say they have received malicious emails that use COVID-19 as the main topic, and 51% have been using company devices, given to them for remote work, to view explicit material despite it being common knowledge that these sites are often hotbeds for malware.

With a hardware-based solution such as the ATEN Seamless Presentation Switch with Quad View Multistreaming, employees’ data does not pass through any cloud-based servers at all. What’s more, the Seamless Presentation Switch connects to your existing network infrastructure to ensure the corporate IT security protection you need. Thus, you can simply log in with a randomly generated room code that is given only people to who are granted access to the meeting.

1-Local/Remote Share Access Single Port DVI KVM over IP Switch (CN9600)

In a similar vein, the ATEN 1-Local/Remote Share Access Single Port DVI KVM over IP Switch allows you to directly access HQ resources from home. As a result, a hardware-based solution helps to keep your data and workflow secure from end to end, something a software solution cannot guarantee.  


A hardware solution such as the Single Port DVI KVM over IP Switch offers BIOS-level access, and, in addition, there is no need to install extra computer software for it to run. This has the knock-on effect again of added security as there is less risk of your computer getting a virus or malware with said software. The hardware’s remote access path is separated from the operation network, so there is no data leakage concern, no backdoor, and thus no way for would-be hackers to break in.

With said KVM, system administrators have access to event logging that records all activity.  In case of unauthorized activity, this feature will leave a trail of it for administrators to see, or trigger a system alarm that sends an email immediately. Similarly, the KVM over IP Switch integrates with Control Center Video Session Recording Software (CCVSR) for both live monitoring and operation trackback. With this, system administrators can monitor multiple KVM ports in real time and track any abnormalities or emergencies.


To sum up, hardware devices can provide greater security than remote work software thanks to direct, BIOS-level access to company servers, a public-to-private network separation, the lack of potentially virus-laden software, and the integration of session monitoring so that administrators can track unauthorized use or other incidents.

Reliability

Relying wholly on a software-based solution also leaves individuals and organizations at the mercy of that platform’s bandwidth limitations. When the coronavirus pandemic resulted in lockdowns worldwide, many individuals and organizations turned to the same videoconferencing software to help them work remotely, for example. This created a surge in users that then caused the platform’s servers to crash often, leaving people without the service they expected.
With the Seamless Presentation Switch with Quad View Multistreaming this issue is sidestepped as it uses its own app and web GUI interface that does not bear the same usership burdens as the most commonly used video conferencing platforms.

Seamless Presentation Switch with Quad View Multistreaming (VP2120)

Likewise, the Single Port DVI KVM over IP has over IP functionality, which means you have a direct connection to your PC at your company no matter where you are. With built-in virtual media, this device also allows for remote file transfers, diagnostic testing, and OS and applications updates and patches. In addition, this KVM is compatible with platforms including Windows, Mac OS, Sun, Linux, and VT100-based serial devices.
In addition to connection reliability, the Single Port DVI KVM over IP features dual LAN and dual power for power backup to keep your devices running in case of power failure.

Productivity

One of the key concerns that any company with employees working remotely might have is that of productivity. Some studies promote the idea that remote work always leads to gains in productivity, but a 2017 Gallup study found that’s only true when employees work remotely some, or most, of the time, not all of the time. It’s still optimal, the study found, for workers to have the occasional face time with managers and coworkers.  If getting that kind of face time is unfeasible, a reliable remote hardware-based solution could be the next best thing. In addition, having reliable access to one’s office computer could go a long way to mitigating the pitfalls of software-based work platforms.


For example, a major PC operating system’s collaboration platform has seen users reporting outages, slow loading times, messages that won’t send, webcams and microphones not connecting to the platform, and even no notifications showing up. All of these would thus slow down someone’s workflow and cause a marked decrease in productivity for anyone relying wholly on software-based alternatives

Conclusion

Remote work, especially working from home, is becoming the new normal for many; one only has to look to Google, which is making most of its employees work from home until 2021. In light of this, integrating robust hardware-based solutions, rather than simply relying on third-party software platforms, could pave the way for greater data security, reliability, and even productivity.


For further information about ATEN’s remote work hardware products, please follow the link below:


Over IP KVMS: https://www.aten.com/global/en/products/kvm/kvm-over-ip-switches/


Video Presentation Switches: https://www.aten.com/global/en/product-landing-page/presentation-switches/vp-series/


 About ATEN

ATEN International Co., Ltd. (TWSE: 6277), established in 1979, is the leading provider of IT connectivity and management solutions. Offering integrated KVM, Professional Audiovisual, and Intelligent Power solutions, ATEN products connect, manage, and optimize electronics in corporate, government, industrial, educational, and retail environments. ATEN has 640+ issued international patents and a global R&D team that produces a constant stream of innovative solutions, resulting in a comprehensive portfolio of products available worldwide.

Headquartered in Taiwan, ATEN International Co., Ltd. has grown to include subsidiaries and regional offices in China, Japan, Korea, Belgium, Australia, the U.S., the U.K., Russia, Turkey, Poland ,India, and Romania – with R&D centers in Taiwan, China, and Canada.