Sometimes there are new technology trends the big ideas that shape the entire way a business operates. And then, once in a while, there are hot products. They may be small or subtle, but still they merit attention in and of themselves, just because they are so useful, creative and cool. The remote-access technology GoToMyPC is one such product.
While the media already has pounced on this technology as a boon to corporate users, there is solid evidence that with its low price point and ease of use, GoToMyPC also can serve a vital function in the small-business community.
In simple terms, GoToMyPC allows users to remotely access their computers from any other Internet-connected computer in the world.
That is just what Jim Geary needed. As IT manager at the New York State Nurses Association Pension Plan and Benefits Fund, he manages the technology needs of about 40 staff members, many of whom spend significant time away from their desks. "We have road warriors who need to access their PC from the road. We also support a proprietary software application for 40 to 50 hospitals in New York City, and we need to be able to take over a session in order to demonstrate new features," he explained.
Geary needed remote-access software that would let him reach out to those hospitals and operate their PCs from a distance, while also allowing traveling executives to gain access to their own desktop machines. "And it had to be easy to use. We didn't want to create a help-desk nightmare," he said.
He tried GoToMyPC and was instantly impressed. "It did what it said it was going to do, which in this day and age is sometimes rare."
Analysts say Geary is not alone in his needs.
"Over the last four years we have gotten more and more data showing that small businesses have more of a need for remote connectivity," said Kneko Burney, chief market strategist for business infrastructure and services at research group In-Stat/MDR. "A lot of small-business decision makers either work from home, or else they want to be able to go home and still be productive. But they have a gross lack of solutions that allow them to do this."
In Burney's view, GoToMyPC stands alone among other remote-access solutions, nearly all of which are based on networking protocols that are either more complex or more expensive. "This is a powerful application, but it's so simple," she said. "It offers the security and the convenience of working remotely, without the cost that is traditionally associated with a remote-access infrastructure."
The price of GoToMyPC varies according to the number of users. A four-person office would spend approximately $68 a month to use the application, while a 20-PC shop would spend about $340 a month.
Representatives of GoToMyPC tout the product not just for its promise of improved productivity, but also for it's indirect benefits, as for example its use as a recruiting tool and morale booster.
They note, too, the versatility of the GoToMyPC experience. Because the product literally takes you directly to your desktop, it also gets you inside the company firewall, thus giving you access to everything that resides on the company network. "When you sign on, you see exactly what is on your desktop," explained Senior Product Marketing Manager Ashley DeVan. "Anything you can do at your desk, you can do through GoToMyPC."
Of course, there are the usual cautions.
While security protocols are tight with GoToMyPC, it still is possible for the careless user to invite trouble.
When Burney test-drove the product from home, she soon got a confused call from someone in her office alerting her to the fact that her desktop computer was ... doing stuff. That's because GoToMyPC literally drives the action on the desktop computer. Open a window via the remote connection, and that window opens up on the home computer.
Now, suppose the newly opened window displays salaries or personnel records or other confidential information ...
Obviously, it takes only a little forethought to avoid such entanglements. (For instance, turn off the screen before leaving the desktop.) "It's not a big deal, but you do want to be aware of that," said Burney.
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