Written by: Daniel Haurey on 03/26/21

Remote work is here to stay.

That’s common knowledge at this point. But many businesses haven’t fully adapted to the new normal. Often, companies are still running on a collection of remote work technologies that aren’t integrated, or are unsecured, or are otherwise unoptimized.

The good news is that there are plenty of remote work software and technology platforms to help – and we’ve put together a list of five standouts to help you optimize your own business’s remote work environment.

Now, it’s important to note that choosing the best technology for your needs is dependent on what your needs are.

You may need a full virtual desktop solution, or you may simply need a place to store files. Accordingly, we’ll review an array of remote work solutions from across a few product categories, each of which can be useful in creating your ideal work environment.

As always, if you’d like tailored remote work guidance based on your unique business context, we’re here to help.

Okay – with that background, here are our choices for the top five remote work software solutions.

Windows 365 Cloud PCs

What it is:

As we’ve written before, Windows 365 Cloud PC is a set of technologies that enables desktop and application virtualization service in the cloud.

Or, as Microsoft puts it, it’s a platform to “enable a secure, remote desktop experience from anywhere.” The upshot is that Windows 365 Cloud PCs can standardize your business’s remote work experience for all employees, allowing them to access the Windows 10 operating system (OS) from any device, from anywhere.

What it’s for:

Imagine that your business is entirely in-office, and you’ve purchased PC laptops for every employee. Essentially, that’s the role Windows 365 Cloud PC serves for your remote workforce – it enables the usage of your business applications from a standard interface. The difference is that it’s running on Azure (the cloud), not on an on-premise workstation.

Why it’s a good option:

Windows 365 Cloud PC is an ideal remote work solution for three reasons.

First, it enables standardization. Every employee has access to Windows 10; this makes user workflows and support easier.

Second, it’s cost-efficient. If you already use a Microsoft cloud product like Microsoft 365, flexible licensing options can reduce costs. And, since it’s in the cloud, pricing is scalable to your needs.

Third, it’s secure. A key (and often unaddressed) danger in many remote work environments is that professional and personal usage are mixed on employee devices. This can lead to compromised passwords and data. But Windows 365 Cloud PCs separate professional work onto a secure, cloud-based machine, drastically decreasing cybersecurity risks.

In short, if you’re looking for a platform to facilitate your business’s remote work, Windows 365 Cloud PC is a great option.

2. Citrix Workspace

What it is:

Citrix Workspace, like Windows 365 Cloud PC, is a Desktop-as-a-Service offering. However, instead of offering access to the familiar Windows 10 interface, it offers access to apps, files, and actions from inside a portal. Business apps can be loaded into the workspace as needed.

What it’s for:

Like Windows 365 Cloud PC, Citrix Workspace is designed for businesses that are looking to standardize remote work. As Citrix puts it, the platform provides “a tailored view of apps and personalized tasks removes distractions and guides people to the work that matters for a more intelligent, fulfilling approach to the workday.”

Why it’s a good option:

Citrix Workspace offers some of the same benefits as Windows 365 Cloud PC – it’s delivered on a per-user basis, so it’s cost-efficient and scalable, and it separates professional from personal device usage.

Its biggest drawback is that it isn’t a full operating system, and so its ability to run business applications is more limited.

3. Microsoft Teams

What it is:

Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s group chat software. It’s a software platform that allows internet-connected users to video chat, share files, and message in real-time.

What it’s for:

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform. Its purpose is to help teams communicate about work in whatever ways are needed. As such, it can serve a variety of use cases: you can use Teams to host a meeting with 10,000 participants, or you can use it to personally message a co-worker about a project.

Teams is the remote work water cooler, conference room, and filing cabinet – and more.

Why it’s a good option:

Part of Teams’ appeal is that it fits snugly into the Microsoft ecosystem. If you’re on Microsoft 365, you’ll find Teams to be an easy addition, with integrations to Outlook, OneDrive, and more. For businesses familiar with Microsoft products, it’s all very intuitive.

And, unsurprisingly, Microsoft Teams works on Windows 365 Cloud PC.

4. Zoom

What it is:

Zoom is a video conferencing tool. It’s downloadable as an application for both Mac and PC users.

Nearly everyone on the planet has heard of it (and used it) at this point, so we won’t belabor the functionality too much – but no list of remote work solutions can leave off Zoom, so here we are.

What it’s for:

Zoom is for video conferencing. It can host up to 1,000 users on a call (with the “Large Meetings” add-on); it also enables “Zoom Rooms,” which enables conference room users to join video meetings from existing SIP conference room systems.

While Zoom offers chat as well (in an interface similar to Teams or Slack), most businesses use the software primarily for its video functionality.

Why it’s a good option:

Originally, Zoom was notable for its comparably high video quality. Now, the biggest reason to use Zoom is because everyone knows what Zoom is, which makes setting up video meetings easy.

It also has a wealth of features, from integrations with applications (like Outlook and Google Workspace) to customizable filters and video backgrounds.

5. Google Drive

What it is:

Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage and sharing platform. Users can upload, download, and view files and folders from any mobile device or computer.

What it’s for:

Google Drive can function as a cloud-based file server. It allows for collaborative access to business assets.

Why it’s a good option:

Google Drive is a good remote work software solution because it’s very cost-efficient and easy to use – it plays well with Google Business products (like Docs, Sheets, and Slides).

If your business deals with sensitive data, however, it may not be the best option. For this reason, Google Drive tends to be best for small businesses or individual users and is less popular among mid-sized firms.

Ready to get the right remote work software solutions for your business?

There are plenty of great remote work software options on the market today – but the sheer variety of solutions can make creating an optimized environment a challenge.

At Exigent, we’ve been helping businesses to create technology environments that meet the demands of their fussiest users since 1997. We’re technology experts (cumulatively, our staff has over 200 years of experience) and we can help you to craft an environment that’s perfectly suited to your business needs.

If you’d like help in optimizing your company’s remote work technology, let’s talk.

No matter what, good luck as you continue to adapt your remote work environment to the new normal.