Service or Software to Go?

 
 
By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2003-07-14
 
 
 

Service or Software to Go?


Remote control and access tools and services are evolving rapidly.

eWEEK Labs recently looked at two approaches at remote access for the enterprise: GoToMyPC Corporate Plus 4.0, a Web-based managed service from Expertcity Inc., and CrossTec Corp.s NetOp Remote Control 7.6 remote access software.

Both approaches have advantages. Ease of use, clientless deployment and lower maintenance costs are the major strengths of services such as GoToMyPC Corporate Plus. NetOp and similar software keep configuration and management in-house and offer a wider variety of deployment choices.

The bottom line: If ease of use and simplicity are important, as is often the case in smaller shops with minimal IT expertise, a managed service is a good way to go. Larger enterprises will likely find the depth and flexibility of in-house software more appealing.

Version 4.0 of GoToMyPC, which was released last month, provides notable security improvements. For example, IT administrators now possess the option of integrating RSA Security Inc.s RSA SecurID for authentication, for an additional layer of protection when remote users access internal resources. (GoToMyPC already makes use of Advanced Encryption Standard encryption and Secure Sockets Layer to protect data transmissions during remote access sessions.)

GoToMyPCs price is based on the number of host PCs supported: For 10 to 19 hosts, the cost is $24.95 per PC per month on a monthly plan or $18.95 per PC per month on an annual plan. Both plans require a one-time activation fee of $49.95. These prices are comparable to other services.

Like many other managed services, GoToMyPC is easy to set up. We logged in to a test account at www.gotomypc.com using our host PC. Then, using a Java-enabled Internet Explorer browser, we downloaded the installer agent from the Web site and configured our host machine for remote access. Once we delegated user log-ins and access codes for the host PC, we could access the system from any Web browser with an Internet connection.

Using the GoToMyPC administration Web site, we could quickly view user configurations and customize access options.

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CrossTecs NetOp Remote Control 7.6, released last month, shows how far "traditional" methods of remotely accessing client PCs have come. NetOp Remote Control 7.6 includes new support for Windows Server 2003, the Tablet PC operating system and Mac OS X.

NetOp, priced from $179 for a one-host/one-guest combo pack, stacks up well against other remote software options, such as Symantec Corp.s PCAnywhere, providing a comprehensive suite of enterprise functions.

Enterprises can roll out and fine-tune NetOp according to their needs: The package enables IT staff to change anything from connection mediums to encryption schemes. PCAnywhere provides similar capabilities.

NetOp and other software options are more of a chore to set up than services such as GoToMyPC because customers must deploy client software, and the software wont run on every operating system. In addition, configuration tasks are more complex.

However, packages such as NetOp provide remote control modules that allow larger enterprises to roll out a robust remote access solution.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at francis_ chu@ziffdavis.com.

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