Technical Support Blog

Understanding Virtual TimeClock Remote Connectivity

Do you want to use Virtual TimeClock to do payroll at home or as an integrated time clock at another business location? We have great news! You can connect and access the time clock from offsite computers over the Internet using the Virtual TimeClock Network Edition.

Remote connectivity can seem a bit daunting at first. However, the setup is not difficult or lengthy for a tech savvy staff member or your IT professional. In fact, Virtual TimeClock Remote connectivity setup is similar to the way that video gamers around the world interact as they use their XBox and similar consoles over the Internet. 

If you're already familiar with VPNs and Port Forwards, see our Virtual TimeClock Remote Connectivity Guide. It has clear and concise instructions for enabling remote connections for the Virtual TimeClock Network Edition. 

If you're new to the Virtual TimeClock Network Edition or are not technology oriented, this article is for you! We will walk you through an overview that will make Virtual TimeClock remote connectivity much more manageable and approachable. 

Virtual TimeClock Server
When using Virtual TimeClock Network Edition, all of your data is hosted and managed on the computer where you install the Virtual TimeClock Server software. Offsite time clocks and administrators use the Internet to connect to your TimeClock Server computer. See our Virtual TimeClock Network Installation & Setup guides for detailed instructions.
 
  • ​Important Tip: You must properly install and setup your Virtual TimeClock Server computer before attempting to setup remote connectivity.
 
Static Public Internet Address
To enable offsite connections to your TimeClock Server computer, you must have an Internet connection. Your company connects to the Internet via a small piece of hardware called a modem and router (sometimes these are combined). Each Internet connection (i.e. your business) must have a unique address on the Internet. This is called your Public IP address. 

Most internet users have a dynamic Public IP address for their computers. This means that your Internet service provider (ISP) assigns you a random public address that changes periodically. When all of your Internet communication is 'outbound', a dynamic Internet address is adequate. 

Remote connections to your TimeClock Server computer are inbound, so your Internet Public IP address must be fixed or 'static'. With a dynamic address, your remote clients will be unable to find your TimeClock Server computer every time your public IP address changes.
 
  • ​Tip: Your ISP can tell you if you have a Static Public IP address or add one to your account for a small additional monthly fee.
 
Router Firewall
Your modem/router that facilitates your connection to the Internet also serves as a kind of traffic cop. It allows your computers to use the Internet (outbound) while refusing all inbound connections from the Internet that might attempt to improperly access your computers and printers. The software in your router that does this is called a firewall.

Your router firewall needs permission to allow certain inbound connections. Virtual TimeClock currently requires either VPN software (Virtual Private Network) installed on your computers or a Port Forward setup on your router's firewall to allow inbound connections from the Internet.
  
VPN
VPNs are the most secure and a preferred solution. If you already have a VPN installed, your Virtual TimeClock is ready for remote connections. If you're unfamiliar with VPN's, contact your IT professional for more information. 

Port Forward
A Port Forward is a couple of simple settings made to your router. It tells your router to forward specific Internet traffic (your remote TimeClock clients) to a specific place (your TimeClock Server Computer) on your network.
 
  • ​Important Tip: If your router is ever upgraded or replaced you'll need to setup a new Port Forward.
 
​If your ISP supplies your router, they will often be willing to setup a port forward for you. Otherwise, you'll use a web browser on your computer to connect to your router to setup the port forward manually. Our Remote Connectivity Guide has details on setting up a Port Forward.
 
Remote Clients
Once the above setup is done, you can download a Virtual TimeClock client on any remote computer. When prompted for s server connection, you'll use your VPN or enter your Public Internet IP address and the Port number you set up in your Port Forward. The remote client will then connect to your TimeClock Server computer and function as any other Virtual TimeClock client.