July 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio July 2002 Current Issue
July 2002 Tech filesPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:


BY Bob Walters

Innovative new devices mean never having to say, “Oops, I left it at the office”

If you’ve gone on the road and forgotten to take files, documents or presentations from your office or home computer, your options often are limited to re-creating the material or having someone e-mail it to you as an attachment that is, if you feel comfortable giving out the password to your PC.

But other solutions exist, ranging from dial-up PC-to-PC connections to Internet access tools. Depending on your corporate policies and connection speeds, one of the following applications might provide you with reliable and affordable remote access to your files.

Security is the single biggest concern associated with these programs. Each of the following companies professes to provide support for the latest 128-bit encryption protocols. Corporate networks can be configured to permit access with any of these tools and still provide complete security for the local and remote user.

PCAnywhere, from Symantec (www.symantec.com/pcanywhere), has been around for years and is now in release 10.5. Many software companies have used the dial-up features of PCAnywhere to provide customer support, even dialing into computers on-site and resolving problems or developing new reports. The product now provides access via an IP address over the Internet in addition to its dial-up capabilities.

The latest release supports Windows XP and has additional configuration features that allow you (or system administrators) to configure access rights based on the remote user’s profile. You also can scan connections for security breaches. Couple this with an easier user interface, and you’ll see why PCAnywhere is the most widely used tool for remote access.

However, with a price tag of $179.95 for the complete product and $99.95 for an upgrade, unless you require the additional system management and remote access tools, a less pricey program might be a better solution, especially if you’re only interested in accessing a home-office PC.

Radmin from Sunbelt Software (www.sunbelt-software.com) costs only $35 for a single license, which lets you install a server version on your local PC and a client version on your notebook. Radmin offers many of the same features as PCAnywhere and claims it transfers data faster than other products. Pluses for Radmin include a simplified user interface, faster refresh rates on screens and full encryption support. It is a great tool for telecommuters who might be linking from their home PCs or notebooks to their office PCs or networks on a frequent basis.

A new option is GoToMyPC, which is Internet-based and lets you access your computer files from any Internet-enabled PC. While PCAnywhere and Radmin require installation on both the host and remote PCs, GoToMyPC runs over the Internet via a subscription-based hosted service provided at www.gotomypc.com. You simply download and install the software on your office or home PC, set up a user name and password, and you’re ready to go.

To link to your local PC, just access a browser, go to the log-in page at GoToMyPC and enter your name and password. The service then accesses the proper IP address for your PC and initiates a session. You can operate your local PC remotely just as if you were sitting at the keyboard in your office to access e-mail, print items and even transfer files. Since it only requires an Internet browser, you could get into your local PC from public kiosks at shows or at airport business centers. GoToMyPC charges a monthly access fee that starts at $14.95.

Bob Walters, based in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, is the founder of Phoenix Solutions and developer of MeetingTrak software.

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