Remote access to an office computer is becoming a top priority for many people. Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 includes remote access options that are rich and satisfying; even very small businesses are putting servers in place to take advantage of the remote tools.
Individuals in home offices or very small businesses have more choices than ever before. PCAnywhere is the old stalwart but it continues to be tricky to set up a firewall to allow access to PCAnywhere from outside the office, and it requires that PCAnywhere be installed on the remote computer – fine if you’re carrying a notebook but no access from an Internet cafe or hotel business center.
It’s theoretically possible to set up Windows XP Remote Desktop for outside access but I’ve had nothing but trouble configuring firewalls to make it work, and it’s just short of impossible to reach two computers in the same office that way.
GoToMyPC.com has been around for years now. It’s relatively pricey, a service sold as a monthly subscription; you wouldn’t set it up for casual access to family e-mail. But I was knocked out when I tested it again recently; the setup and the experience of using it was just tremendous. Here’s a typical review.
GoToMyPC’s design ensures there will be no issues with firewalls and no special settings required. When you’re away, you access your office computer thru a session begun in an Internet browser with a visit to GoToMyPC.com – no special software. Performance was lightning quick. With a little setup work, you can print on the printer at your remote location, although there’s a few technical pitfalls there. It can be set up on multiple computers in your office and can be set up to allow different access for multiple users. All in all, a very impressive experience.