by Lih-Tah Wong
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Tech Gear - Remote control of your PC

Do you ever wish you had access to the PC at your office from home?  From anywhere in the world such as an Internet cafe?   Were you worried about security if you tried accessing it from public computer?  Well, here's a solution that I've used to gain access to my office PC for the past four years using any PC web browser and have no security worries whatsoever.  

Once I was at an Internet cafe taking a much-needed break from pen hunting at London's Portobello Road flea market and I used this facility to control my PC at the office.  I spent 30 minutes replying to email and checking into the health of my company's servers.  I did the same thing as I waited for my return flight at Gatwick airport.  This secure remote control facility saved me the trouble of hauling a laptop across the Atlantic!

GoToMyPC - Access  Your PC From Anywhere It is called GoToMyPC and it is a service from Citrix, a company famous for their  "access-on-demand" facilities.  In fact, many years ago Citrix started out in life as a company making multi-user boxes called blade servers for people to share a single PC "blade" and all the networking facilities.

GoToMyPC is quite a different service since its purpose is to remotely access to your PC instead of sharing it simultaneously with others.  In a nutshell, you load their small applet onto your PC at home or office and when you are away, just get to a Internet-connected PC with a browser and go to the GoToMyPC website.  Once you login with your email address and password you will be connected to your PC.  Once connected, the remote PC you are using becomes the keyboard, mouse and display of your office (or home) PC.

From a security angle, you're really not in direct control of your PC.  Instead you have a channel to it via the GoToMyPC secure communications server.  So, when you log off that server, you effectively invalidate the session just completed.  Even if someone after you refreshes the browser, they will not have access to your PC because the communications server no longer considers that machine to have a valid session.

It is so secure that my company has been using it for the past two years as part of its support operations when the technician needs to see what's happening on the customer's machine running our software.  It is very convenient as well since it uses the web's HTTP protocol so no network changes are needed to tunnel through company firewalls.

It's really neat!



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