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I need to be able to access a bunch of desktops/laptops on a company network for remote management like being able to push updates, fix issues, offer support all on a 24/7 basis.

Are there ways to also work from the background like linux and ssh? What is going to be a good way to achieve this? Are there some tools which would be better for this? Are there any security risks involved? Do I need to setup any special firewall rules on the local computer/hardware firewall?

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you should be able to do all these with powershell remoting. If you want to do it from linux, then you should look into powershell server from this: http://www.powershellinside.com/powershell/ssh/

they have more products that help with what you are considering. you may need special plugins and extensions to powershell as well, depending on exactly what you do.

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Powershell can be used to do "background" admin for most of the things your looking for, though it can be a little ham fisted in my experience.

The simplest (assuming your talking about a large "bunch" rather than 10-15) would be to go with software made for this sort of administration. LEMSS or Alteris come to mind. You'll have some work setting up the server and getting the clients installed but it will save you plenty of time in the long run once everything gets going.

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