How To Be In Two Places At Once

At work, I am not just the Tech Support Nerd, but I also do the internal IT support for the company. This often means that I have to fix stuff on nights and weekends for my superiors, which in turn requires access to the company network via my desktop PC. I really hate making the drive to my office to use my PC after hours, so I was determined to find a solution where I wouldn’t have to do that. There is a technology called “remote access” which allows you to use your office desktop PC from any other location using an Internet connected PC. The problem is that most of these solutions require you to install software or use a browser. Installing software on a friends computer in an emergency situation (such as someone locking their network account) is something that doesn’t go over very well with people. Plus using a browser opens you up to browser hijacks and other malware. Both options also don’t deal with spyware and keyloggers. So the only thing I could do until recently is install the remote access software that I needed on my MacBook Pro within Parallels Desktop and carry it everywhere. Not exactly ideal.

Recently I stumbled upon a small Canadian company called Route1 who makes a product called the MobiKEY with TruOffice. It’s a USB stick that contains remote access software that you simply plug into any Windows PC with Internet access, and you can use that PC to access your office PC (or any other PC that has the MobiHost software installed and you go through the pairing process so that you can access the PC from the MobiKEY). The experience is almost like physically being at the desktop that you’re connected to. Anything you can do while at your desktop, you can do over the MobiKEY. It even has printing capabilities (it will print from your office desktop PC to whatever computer the MobiKEY is plugged into). The product is built around a balance between security (from what I can tell, the security approaches military grade) and ease of use (anyone can install and use this product). They claim it is keylogger resistant and virus resistant as well.

One key thing that I love is their tech support. Most of the time the tech support of a company is often their weakest point as companies either outsource to India or get the lowest common denominator locally for $10 an hour. In either case, they end up reading from a script rather than solving your issue by reasoning through it. Not these guys. They are exceptional at identifying your problem and resolving it (even if it has nothing to do with their product). Plus their knowledge base is extensive. Most of the time I don’t even have to phone their tech support to solve whatever problem I’m having (which are few as the product works so well) because it’s so extensive. I love companies who make life easy for me!

Now this product isn’t cheap. At $160 for the USB stick and $264 for a one year subscription to the MobiNET service (which brokers the connection between your office PC and whatever PC you are working from), it is pricey. But its saved my behind a bunch of times from having to drive into the office and it is so convenient (I don’t have to lug my MacBook Pro around) and secure. So I am happy to pay for this. If you have a need for remote access, I highly recommend this product.

Now I can truly be in two places at once!

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