Risks in Remote Access


Remote access refers to the ability of users to access a computer network from a location not directly connected to that network. Oftentimes, companies and government organizations will allow remote access as a way of increasing efficiency. However, many risks come along with using remote access. Before considering the adoption of remote access, these following risks must be taken into account.

Unauthorized User

  • The most obvious risk involved with remote access use is the unauthorized user. Unfortunately, this risk is one that you will never be able to entirely avoid. Regardless of the level of care you take in keeping password information a secret, programs exist that can break into most secure networks. Anti-virus programs and intrusion technologies are ways to avoid this problem (Ref. 1).

File Loss

  • Another possible risk of remote-access technology is the loss of files. This can happen for many different reasons, whether its partial file transfers or transfer errors. Once again, technologies exist to help minimize this risk, but it is generally a safe strategy to keep backup files (Ref 1).

Data Interception and Eavesdropping

  • Data interception means that a third party can gain access to sensitive information while the connection is being relayed between two parties on the remote-access network. Eavesdropping simply means there is a third party listening in on a remote access network (Ref. 2).

Device Loss

  • Device loss or theft is another issue. A laptop or another type of portable data gadget is highly vulnerable to theft, and could allow an unauthorized person to gain access to another computer. In 2006, a laptop was stolen from the Department of Veteran's Affairs that contained the personal information of over 26 million veterans (Ref. 2).


  • Malware is another potential risk involved with remote access. Malware refers to software that can become installed on your computer without your knowledge, which performs functions potentially harmful to the system. Anti-malware software is a good safety measure (Ref. 2).

Firewall Problems

  • Firewall problems with remote access can stem from the lack of personalized firewalls for each mobile device that connects to the remote-access network. Having the same firewall policy regardless of the devices' locations isn't considered secure. Each mobile device must have its own personal firewall policy to deal with the enhanced threats it may encounter. (Ref. 2).

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