Review: I’m InTouch Standard From 01 Comminque

You’ll recall that I mentioned a partnership between Rogers Wireless and 01 Comminque last week, and I pledged to try out their I’m InTouch remote access product to see how it compared to my preferred remote access solution which is the Route1 MobiKEY. So, to that end, I put it through its paces this past weekend.

Before I go any further, let me point out that there’s two versions of this software. I’m InTouch which I tested, and I’m InTouch Premium which adds the ability to remotely access more than one PC, wake PC’s up if they’re asleep, and the ability to have “physical authentication” to the PC that you want to remotely access. More on those last two points in a second.

After you download the software onto the PC that you want remote access to, you have hop through some hoops to configure it. Nothing really tough though. From there you can go to another PC and point a web browser towards (make sure you have Java installed as the service is Java based). You can then type in the name of your computer and connect to it from there. Once I was connected, I was able to do pretty much whatever I wanted to do on the computer, and I had no complaints about the experience. Two tricks that I’m InTouch has is the ability to file transfer and the ability to have sound. The sound features don’t do much for me personally, but the ability to do file transfer is kind of cool as I can see it being a occasionally handy feature to have.

As I stated earlier, I’m InTouch Premium adds a few extra features. From 01 Comminque’s website:

  • Remotely wake up your computer from hibernation and even start it up if it’s shut down using I’m InTouch Premium’s Remote Wake Up feature. Just login to your computer as you normally would and if it is not powered on, I’m InTouch Premium will automatically attempt to power it on for you. Perfect for businesses looking to provide employees with remote access to their workstations but not the high electricity bills that come with leaving computers on 24/7.
  • Add the SecurePC and/or SecureKEY to your I’m InTouch Premium setup to ensure only you can access your workstation. With Physical Authentication enabled, your SecurePC and/or SecureKEY are required in order to start a remote session.Physical Authentication for the SecurePC requires that the only way to remotely access your I’m InTouch Premium computer is using your SecurePC. Remote access from any other computer will be denied. With the SecureKEY, enabling Physical Authentication requires the SecureKEY to be inserted in the USB slot of the computer you are using to remotely access your workstation before the remote session will begin. For even more security, combine the SecurePC and SecureKEY!

So, the question is how does it compare to the Route1 MobiKEY? These are the things that jump out at me:

  • The MobiKEY remote application is on a highly secure USB token. Also the application is completely independent of the computer you plug it into. Therefore I can just plug it into any Windows based computer and I’m good to go. I’m InTouch requires you to find a computer that has a Java enabled browser, which potentially places you at the mercy of the computer you are using and what you have installed on it.
  • Also, when it comes to the file transfer capabilities, this might be a stumbling block for some companies who may want to consider this product. The reason being is that I can see some environments frowning upon this feature as it could open them up to having data stolen by “less then honourable” employees, or it would violate some sort of IT security policy.
  • I had a look at the product’s security whitepaper (Warning: PDF) and it looks secure as it uses 128-bit SSL just like the MobiKEY does. However, one thing that I could not find is any mention of keylogger protection which the MobiKEY provides. That’s one extra layer of security that comes in handy when you use a strange computer.
  • One thing that I’m InTouch has going for it is price. The standard version is $99. 95 a year, and the Premium version is $129.95 a year. Compared to the MobiKEY which is $175 for the USB token and $288 a year (but that $288 a year gives you the ability to connect to 5 computers), I’m InTouch is a bargain.

So, will I’m In Touch replace my MobiKEY? At the present time, the answer is no. The MobiKEY in my opinion has an edge in terms of security because of its keylogger protection and the fact that it isn’t browser based. It is more expensive, but the security features are worth it for me. Having said that I’m In Touch is a decent option for those who need inexpensive remote access to their computer as it does everything you want a remote access product to do. You might want to look at it to see if it fits your needs.

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