• Section: Networking
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019, 12:14 p.m.

Remote Access

There are several ways to access your accounting data remotely. Some work better than others.

Virtual Private Network

If you have a VPN connection to your office network from a remote computer, you could use AccountEdge from your remote computer accessing the company file that sits on your business's network. A VPN extends your office network across the internet to your remote computer. Choosing and setting up a VPN may require an IT professional, and can be more costly depending on what network hardware you have in your office.

The disadvantages of using a VPN to access your company file at the office is network speed and the network connection. We find that the performance using a VPN connection can be quite slow depending on your internet connection. Remember that most likely your home internet connection (and possibly office connection) are much slower than if you were physically in the office connecting to a company file on a wired network. While connected to your VPN and having AccountEdge connected to a company file located in the office, you want to avoid any dropped connections which include the user closing the VPN connection while still in your company file or losing your internet connection, etc. Also keep in mind that the remote user will more than likely slow down the performance of other users of AccountEdge in the same company file.

Because of the potential slow response, and the chance of dropped network connections, which would result in a corrupt company file, we discourage use of this type of remote access even though VPN provides a secure network connection.

There are also some registration issues to consider when using certain VPN client software.

Remote Desktop Applications

There are several applications on the market today that provide an easy way to access a computer at the office. Some of them are commercially available like GoToMyPC.com while others are free open source solutions (TeamViewer.com). Both Apple and Microsoft offer their own solutions; you can always search on phrases like "Remote Access," "VNC," "Remote Desktop", etc. to find the one best suited for your needs. Some provide better security while others do a good job of working with your network with a need to adjust firewall settings. If you need to print a document while you're at home or transfer files between home and the office, be sure to look for those features while choosing your solution.

With this option, you would use your computer at home to access a computer running at the office that has AccountEdge installed. You'll see your office computers desktop and be able to use it remotely from home. This requires that the computer is running at the office and it having the remote access software installed on this computer and the client version of the remote software on your computer at home.

Terminal Services

Another option which many AccountEdge customers use for setting up remote users is a Terminal Server. There are a few different options available to you including solutions from Citrix and Microsoft's Windows 2008 Server with Terminal Services. AquaConnect also provides a Mac solution which provides a similar solution. These solutions require an IT professional to install the server software and setup the Terminal Services.

A Terminal Server solution is similar to Remote Desktop Applications mentioned above however you would be connecting to a server which could be providing multiple users with their own desktop and applications. (There could be many users setup on a server. Each one with unique hard drive space, applications, documents directory, etc.) A user would connect to the server from virtually any PC (dumb terminal) that is running the Terminal Server client. What is displayed on the remote computer is a desktop dedicated for the user with applications installed. AccountEdge would be installed for each user on the server and the company file would also be located on this server, setup in a way so multiple users can share it at the same time.

The benefits of this option include the ability to have one server having to be maintained (one computer to keep up to date with software updates). Remote and local computers connecting to the server do not need to be higher end computers since the work is being done on the server. Network performance for local and remote users is much greater since there is no AccountEdge network traffic. This includes remote and local users. All of the traffic (transactions, lists being created, reports being run) are done on the server, and what is delivered to the remote and local users are essentially screen captures. The user is viewing what's happening on the server, not on the local computer, and the accounting data and transactions aren't going across the network since everything is on the server.

The disadvantages of this solution is that it does require a physical server which can support terminal services as well as Windows Server edition that includes the terminal service options. It can also be costly (server licenses as well as client licenses for each user). The solution also will require an IT professional to set up.