Remote learning and remote teaching are indispensable concepts in higher education around the world. Since the shift to remote working and online learning, the sector is facing more and more cybersecurity challenges. Where before the biggest part of school operations stayed in the school’s environment, there is now an increased use of technology in a remote environment. That means that there are also more potentially vulnerable access points for attackers. But how can you let staff and students securely access a desktop or application without putting the school network at risk?
IT admins of universities and colleges are thus looking for secure remote access solutions in education, as security is one of the primary worries in an increasingly digital world. We’re talking about enormous user groups (dozens of teachers and often thousands of students) that use many different devices to access applications and files with a lot of personal and sensitive data.
In this blog, we will be looking at the top 4 remote access solutions used in education. Those are Teamviewer, VPN, RDP and secure unified workspaces. Needless to say, all these solutions are valid options to enable remote access in education – but they’re not always equally secure. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep the specific problems you want to solve in mind. Define how you want to enable remote access, and what remote access solution fits your query. That way, it will be clear that some solutions offer more advantages, often in terms of security, than others.
Why have remote access for staff and students?
In their courses, students often have to use very class-specific applications and software, which are installed on computers in university PC rooms. In times where (partially) remote learning is the norm rather than the exception, it is usually not possible to offer this software personally to students, as it is very expensive for the university and/or cannot be installed on any hardware. A way to solve this, could then be to give students remote access to the school computers via their own device (Chromebook, tablet, …) . Depending on what type of access your provide for these forms or remote learning, they can easily access the software – even if it’s legacy software (that needs to be installed on the device) from outside the university or college.
Another often-heard use-case is that of network-restricted third-party services. Educational institutions often have memberships for services like JSTOR that they offer to their students and academic personnel. Often, access to those services is limited to the network of the university or college. If a researcher or student can get access to these services from anywhere, this would greatly benefit the institution’s (and their personal) academic prowess.
However, enabling remote access is not only a necessity for the students. There are also many administrative staff members working in universities and colleges who would like the option of working remotely. For example, they may need access to personnel files or work with accounting applications from home. For those people, universities and colleges should be looking for a secure and simple solution, because this administrative staff often works with personal data of staff and students. There must be absolutely no risk of data loss, so security is very important. Furthermore, the IT team should not be burdened with the fact that these employees want to work at home, so a school should look for a simple solution that requires few support (tickets). Of course, this is also the case for teachers who want to be able to access files and applications they need for lessons remotely.
Remote access solutions in education in 2022
There are many remote access solutions for education on the market. However, some of them are complex to use or to manage, and others pose a risk to the educational organization’s critical cybersecurity. Let’s take a look at the top 4 remote access solutions in education in 2022:
TeamViewer is a remote control computer software, that allows you to maintain computers and other devices. In an educational context it is sometimes used by IT teams to give remote support to students or teachers when one of those parties is not present at school. With the software, users can share their screens, application window and even an entire remote desktop.
This solution is especially useful to share a remote desktop view between users to collaborate or support. However, it is a less ideal software for teachers and students to connect with lab computers in the school.
Disadvantages of TeamViewer
About Version 2 Limited
Version 2 Limited is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 Limited offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.
Awingu produces a browser-based Unified Workspace solution. It allows users to work and collaborate from virtually anywhere using any device compatible with HTML5 browsers. As a turnkey solution, Awingu offers businesses the ease and convenience of platform-independent mobility and offers everything you need to stay productive: legacy and cloud applications, documents and data. Awingu requires zero configuration and zero client software installation, making IT administration extremely simple.