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Software for Secure Remote Access Without Using a VPN

written by: Bill Bunter•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 12/27/2010

Creating and maintaining a VPN can be both costly and complex. This article explains how you can empower your employees with secure remote access, without a VPN.

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    The Need for Secure Remote Access

    Increasingly, remote access has become a business necessity. Road warriors armed with the latest in communication weaponry, telecommuters and staff working from home after hours all need access to resources held on the corporate network.

    Traditionally, companies have relied on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to provide their employees with secure remote access. While VPNs offer substantial benefits for larger businesses, they can be complex and costly to setup and maintain and this has resulted in some smaller business shunning the technology. However, such businesses now have an alternative to an expensive VPN. While a VPN remains the best option for a business looking to interconnect its LANs, a business that’s simply looking to provide its employees with remote access may well find a web-based remote control solution to be a better option. These solutions enable a computer (the host) to be accessed and controlled from any other internet-connected remote computer (the client). To access the host computer, a user simply types the www address of the service into the client’s web browser, enters his username and password and ... well, that’s about it ... he’ll now be able to work with the host computer as if he were sitting in front of it.

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    Benefits of VPN Alternatives

    For smaller businesses, such alternative solutions offer some real benefits:

    • No expertise is needed. Remote control solutions work right out-of-the-box and require practically zero configuration. You don’t need to adjust your firewall settings and you don’t need to install and configure software on the client computers.
    • Low acquisition costs. You don’t need to buy an additional hardware and you don’t need to purchase a VPN application/appliance. The only expense is the cost of the subscription to whichever service you choose.
    • Low IT overhead. Remote control solutions are extremely easy to manage and IT need do little more than install the necessary agent on the host computers.

    There are a range of remote control solutions on the market including GoToMyPC, LogMeIn, and NTRconnect. While such products have a similar set of features, there are some differences which you may find relevant (for example, NTRconnect enables you to remotely start a computer while most others do not).

    To find out more about the solutions offered by these companies, either visit their websites or check out our series of reviews.

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