Security vendor Symantec adds a remote access solution to its SAAS portfolio. The beta offering of Symantec Online Remote Access continues Symantec's journey along the road to software as a service, as SAAS solutions continue to gain steam in the market.
Piece by piece, Symantec is building out its software-as-a-service business.
Symantec announced Sept. 16 the beta program for Symantec Online Remote
Access. The service is part of the Symantec Protection Network, the
umbrella for Symantec's online services. The Protection Network was first
unveiled in February, and includes Online Backup and Online Storage for Backup
Symantec Online Remote Access is built on the same core technology as the
company's pcAnywhere remote access and control software. The idea is to provide
access to applications and data on a remote desktop without the need
for a VPN.
"Using a centrally hosted proxy server architecture, this service
eliminates connection dependency on network attributes that point-to-point
remote access solutions must often take into consideration, such as firewalls,
use of NAT (Network Address Translation)
and/or DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol)," said Mike Baldwin,
senior manager of product management for Symantec Protection Network. "The
physical and network location of both the controlling and the controlled
computers becomes irrelevant to the connection."
The computer to be controlled requires a preinstalled agent in order to be
remotely accessed, but the controlling computer does not. To use the service,
the user needs only to log in to the Symantec
Web site from any computer and click a single button to
connect to the preregistered computer. The user can then access files and
applications on the target computer.
"When a point-to-point software product such as pcAnywhere attempts to
establish a connection ... it needs to know where on the network it's supposed to
go-what IP address or computer to connect to-and it needs the path to that
computer to be completely unblocked and unhidden," Baldwin explained.
In contrast, with a centrally hosted remote access model such as the one
used by Online Remote Access, the servers within the service provider's data centers
serve as a proxy for the connection, he said. The agents deployed on the
target computers can be set to regularly communicate with those servers to
"We absolutely plan to continue to leverage key
security technologies and to create online solutions in the same market
segments where we currently offer product-based solutions," Baldwin
said. "The Symantec Protection Network platform provides a solid
foundation for us to do just that going forward, and the release of Online
Remote Access establishes yet another milestone towards that vision."