Archive for Remote Access

Route1 Completes DHS Deal…. Stock Soars… Sort Of….

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on April 29, 2009 by itnerd

You might recall that I had talked about a deal that Canadian software company Route1 had landed to provide its remote access services to the Department Of Homeland Security. A press release today indicates that they have completed the installation of their DEFIMNET (DEFense Identity Management NETwork) system:

The DEFIMNET platform also supports the newly introduced Telework Improvements Act of 2009 by enabling United States Government federal employees to securely perform their duties and responsibilities from home or from other work sites removed from their regular place of employment. DEFIMNET enables federal agencies to comply with the Act’s teleworking technology guidelines and incorporates telework into their continuity of operations planning (COOP) strategy, such that mission critical personnel are equipped to telework in time of a catastrophe. DEFIMNET controls access to and protects agency information and information systems, limits the introduction of vulnerabilities and safeguards wireless and other telecommunications capabilities that are used for teleworking.

Given the Swine flu outbreak, this likey couldn’t have been completed at a better time for both parties. This has caused the stock to shoot up from it’s opening value of $0.04 CDN today. Okay, it’s a penny stock on the TSX Venture Exchange that’s currently at $0.055 cents as I type this. But given this little tidbit, it may not be a penny stock for long:

In addition, the Company announced in January 2009 that it had entered into an exclusivity agreement with Qwest, granting Qwest the exclusive rights to resell Route1’s solutions to the U.S. Federal Government for 2009, which would include sales to DHS. In exchange for Route1 granting this exclusivity, Qwest has committed to purchase and accept for delivery in 2009 a minimum of 30,000 Route1 MobiKEY(TM) devices along with 30,000 TruOFFICE one (1) year subscription-based services, which is valued at approximately US$8.0 million. The future reoccurring revenue stream to Route1 from these 30,000 TruOFFICE one (1) year subscription-based services is estimated at US$5.5 million per year.

“With this binding purchase commitment from Qwest in 2009 plus our current subscriber base, we will have surpassed our break-even point on an annualized basis and will start generating positive earnings and cash flows in 2010,” said Andrew White, President and CEO of Route1. “We are proud to be recognized as a leader in the provision of security solutions to a complex organization such as DHS, and look forward to further adding value to other government agencies in the U.S.”

They say that the proof is in the pudding. So we’ll see if this happens for them. All I know is that I use their stuff and it’s  great, so perhaps this is another step to that “big thing” that I spoke about when they originally landed that deal.

Review: I’m InTouch Standard From 01 Comminque

Posted in Products with tags on March 10, 2009 by itnerd

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.

Canadian Company Partners With Rogers Wireless To Provide Secure Remote Access Services

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on March 5, 2009 by itnerd

As you know, I’m an avid user of the Route1 MobiKEY and I’ve written about it in the past. But a press release has just popped up in my inbox that has caught my attention. A company called 01 Communique has announced that they’ve partnered with Rogers Wireless to offer remote access services from anywhere. From their press release:

Combining high speed wireless broadband access along with 01’s SecureKEY for enhanced security users can now use the SecurePC Remote Access Terminal to surf the Internet as well as quickly access information and/or run applications on their office or home PC from virtually anywhere. Accessing and controlling your office/home PC using high speed wireless broadband will give you the same experience as if you were physically sitting at the computer and just as secure.

Now I haven’t actually used their product, but based on some of the stuff that I read on their website,  it sounds like a version of the MobiKEY with options for having a software only implementation (rather than using their USB token) as well as other options in terms of implementing your own remote access services in house (rather than having a third party service), and doing a remote access session from a PocketPC.  But all of that may not be fair to say having not seen or touched the products.

I also find it intruiging that they’ve partnered with Rogers. I guess that’s a “Win Win” for both sides as Rogers gets to sell some of their Mobile Rocket Internet Sticks and 01 Communique gets their remote access product out into the marketplace. Plus for the consumer, it’s one stop shopping. So I guess they win too.

I’m going to keep an eye on this company, and if I have time this weekend I will see if I can download a trial of their software as well and try it out.

Canadian Software Company Scores Again With An Agreement To Sell To The US Government

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 7, 2009 by itnerd

The last time I talked about Route1, it was in reference to a deal that they just reached to sell its remote access technology (which I personally use) to the US Department Of Homeland Security. Now they’ve backed that deal up with a new deal to sell 30,000 of their MobiKEY USB devices to Quest Communications for resale to the US Government:

As part of the agreement, Qwest has committed to purchase a minimum of 30,000 Route1 MobiKEY(TM) devices along with TruOFFICE(TM) subscription-based services, which is valued at approximately US$8.0 million in 2009. The potential reoccurring annual revenue stream to Route1 from these 30,000 TruOFFICE subscription-based services is estimated at US$5.5 million. In addition to the purchase commitment, Qwest will provide advertising and marketing support to promote Route1’s solutions to various U.S. Federal departments and agencies. Qwest will also provide network-hosting services to Route1 from their facilities.

I believe that this deal again validates the fact that Route1 has some really cutting edge technology that companies who are serious about providing secure and simple remote access should look at. After all, if its good enough for the US Government, it’s should be good enough for anybody else.

Canadian Company Sells It’s Technology To Homeland Security

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on October 1, 2008 by itnerd

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I have written about the MobiKEY made by Route1 Inc. on a couple of occasions. Well I was surprised to hear that Route1 has sold their technology to the U.S. Department Of Homeland Security via their partner Quest Communications:

“Route1 Inc. (TSX-V:ROI) and Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) today announced they will deliver Route1’s highly secure identity management and dynamic Virtual Private Network (VPN) platform to the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The initial three-year deal is valued in excess of $2 million and is being delivered through Route1’s reseller partner, Qwest Government Services Inc. under the Washington Interagency Telecommunications System (WITS) 2001 Crossover contract. This agreement is the beginning of a multi-year implementation and covers the license of a DEFIMNET™ with the first 500 TruOFFICE™ subscriptions included.  DHS has the option to acquire up to 95,000 additional subscriptions for TruOFFICE and other Route1 services over the life of the contract on the initial hardware.”

This is a huge deal for this company. Route1 is a small company in Toronto who has been fighting for market recognition and sales for its cutting edge remote access technology. This sale gives U.S. Homeland Security the ability to deliver its users secure remote access, and it puts another Canadian company on the map. I’ve been using their technology for a while and I’ve been hoping that this company gets a big breakthrough to take it into Research In Motion territory. It may be happening for them right now.

I’d watch this company. I believe that big things are coming from Route1 in the next little while.

How To Be In Two Places At Once

Posted in Products with tags , on February 22, 2008 by itnerd

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!