Winter Storm Juno: What to do when you have to work remotely

Snow pic - Alex - 1

View from the front porch of Alex Straffin, Everon’s Technical Services Manager.
That’s a lot of snow! (Jan 27, 2015)

Making the headlines today is Winter Storm Juno. While the storm didn’t bring in the massive snowfalls predicted, it did force thousands of employees to either take the day off or work from home, as transportation came to a screeching halt in many of the major cities.

What do you do when you are forced to work from home? Fortunately, as long as your IT department has invested in this scenario, you have options.

Snow pic - Brandon

A view from the window of Massachusetts-based Everon Project Engineer Brandon Hodgkin (Jan 27, 2015).

The biggest option most employees are given is to use a VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It basically is a tunnel between you and your location to your office. When you join a VPN, you are routed to your company’s internal network, and from there you can map drives and access resources that are only accessible to you from inside the office.

VPNs are either offered internally, through an RRAS (routing and remote access server) or through a unit designed to handle the traffic (such as a Cisco AnyConnect device).

Another option you have, if available, is the use of a terminal server. Terminal servers are servers set up inside a company’s network. They allow multiple users to connect via remote desktop protocol and receive a fully functional desktop to use. When logging into a terminal server, you will be put onto a server’s desktop and will have access to all tools that have been previously installed on the server, such as Microsoft Office or Quickbooks.

Be aware that with a terminal server you are sharing the resources of a server with several other users, so you will be very limited to what you can do and where you can go. You should not be able to reboot the server or get to any administrative tools as a standard user.

Snow pic - Simon - 1

That white car belongs to Everon’s IT Project Manager, Simon Islam. Look at how much the tree limbs are weighed down — must be very wet, heavy stuff. (Massachusetts, Jan 27, 2015).

If neither of these are available through your company, and as long as you have permission, you can also use free remote software, to gain access to your actual desktop at your office. One such tool that I recommend is Teamviewer. You sign up for a Teamviewer account, and then install the software onto your workstation for unattended access (that will be an option to choose).

By doing that, Teamviewer modifies your machine to stay online and to keep a constant connection open, so when you leave the office, you can go to, sign into your account, and access your machine. It will open a window that puts you right on the desktop of your machine!

When using Teamviewer, be aware  that if you have your monitors on at work, everyone who is around your machine can see what you are doing. If you know you are going to use Teamviewer the next day, it’s a good idea to turn off your monitors before leaving work. (You will still have access to your machine.)

Snow pic - Simon - 2

As of 4 p.m. today (Jan 27, 2015), snow was still falling. Photo courtesy of Simon Islam.

These are the main three ways you can connect into your office remotely. Check with your IT department to see what they have available for you. Most likely they will allow one of these three. These are not the only ways to connect remotely — just the easiest and most common of the type of calls we typically get when a snowstorm shuts down a city.

For further information on how to connect remotely, and what your options are, feel free to contact Everon at 1-888-244-1748.

Snow pic - Alex - 2

I’d hate to have to be the one to dig out Alex’s car. Eesh! (Jan 27, 2015)


Free Version of soon to perish!


Many of you may have already noticed that the free version of LogMeIn is no longer going to be available for use. If you have not been made aware, please take note before it is too late. The company is officially phasing out its offering of free remote software for computers. Many people, including myself, have relied upon this software for years in order to have remote access to our computers to work from home or to provide long-distance support for others.

As of now, LogMeIn is giving customers until January 27, 2014 (next Monday!) to purchase the Pro version of the software — or else lose remote access to the software. They are offering a promotional price of $50/year for 2 computers. Some people may find this price reasonable and decide to purchase the licensing, others may not. But there’s no need to fret either way because there are other options out there.

TeamViewer is another free, remote-access software that you may find to be an acceptable replacement. Or, you could speak to Everon about setting up a VPN and/or Remote Desktop through your already existing network. You may find other options online out there, but if you are unsure as to what exactly it consists of or are just leery as a whole, please do not hesitate to reach out to Everon. We will help you make educated decisions and get you in a good spot. logmein_inc__

Do you BYOD?


Chances are you do and you had no idea there was an acronym for this popular business policy. BYOD means Bring Your Own Device. What does this mean? This means being able to utilize a device such as a personal laptop, tablet or even your own smartphone that receives company email. While this can offer significant cost savings, business owners and managers would be wise to address this phenomenon with a strict policy or be at risk to losing or “leaking” important company data.


-Company does not have to worry about a hardware lifecycle plan or keeping an inventory of assets.

-Employees are more accountable for their own productivity.

-Cutting edge technology is more and more accessible and marketed to consumers rather than business which allow your employees to test out the latest and greatest at their risk, not the company’s.


-Company data on employee owned devices may walk out the door if the employee leaves or is terminated.

-Data theft can occur if strong passwords and security measures are not enforced (An example would be remote wipe of handheld data).

Things to consider when implementing a BYOD policy at your organization:

-Who pays for mobile voice and data charges?

-Will you provide minimum system requirements for device use?

-Do you offer the employee a stipend for obtaining the devices they need to?

-Who pays for end user support?

-Who pays for device repairs?

-How do you ensure anti-virus and security updates are carried out?

-Will you have remote wipe capability for mobile phones and tablets?

-Do you have a policy that dictates all data must live on your file server?

-Will you implement online backup services for all employee laptops or leave it to your employees?

With new technology consistently launching, there is always another solution that may sound exciting but please always take into
consideration the pro’s and con’s before making any large decision for your company’s IT.

Domain Admins! Join a computer to your domain REMOTELY!


Hey there domain administrators.  Did you know it was possible to join a computer to your domain remotely?  Not so hard at all.

First, you must have VPN configured on your network.  Your VPN can be configured directly to your firewall, or through your firewall to your Windows Server Routing and Remote Access.  (How to setup PPTP on a Windows Server)

Once you’ve configured your VPN, you are now ready to join computers to the domain remotely.

First, connect to the VPN, so that your computer receives a local IP address from your network.

Next, open your computer properties to join to domain as you normally would internally.  Attempt to join your computer to the domain.  It will prompt you for domain admin credentials if your route has worked, and woila!  your are now joined.  Reboot the computer.

If you don’t get the prompt for domain admin credentials, that most likely means you are not able to ping the domain controller via hostname, and you will need to manually edit your hosts file.

To do this:

  1. Goto:  C:\Windows\Syste32\drivers\etc
  2. Open your hosts file with Wordpad “Run as Administrator”.  You may need to open Wordpad as an administrator first, and then open the file
  3. Goto the bottom of your hosts file and enter the following:  ”IP Address”, Tab 2 X’s, “server name” - where the IP address is the IP of your Domain Controller, and the Server Name is the host name of your Domain Controller.
  4. Save the hosts file
Now try joining your computer to the domain again.  This should work for you.
Good luck!