Monthly Archives: February 2009

Is FREE Remote Access A Viable Alternative?

Last week we looked at Free email accounts and concluded you get what you pay for… This week, let’s talk about some Free remote access applications that seem to do the same as the “pay as you go” application – GoToMyPC – and in some instances, even more.

GoToMyPC
Install GoToMyPC on your work PC, and no matter how far you are from the office, access to your essential apps and files is as close as the nearest Web browser. It’s simple to set up, and it offers 128-bit encryption to keep both machines secure.

The monthly fee makes it expensive to use over time, however, and the host software won’t run on a Mac. One of these free alternatives is worth a try. The only thing you risk losing is a recurring monthly charge to your credit card.

LogMeIn Free

(Free download)

Why We Like It.

• Setup and ease of use rival the pay for version of GoToMyPC

• Access to all files and programs via Web browser

• 256-bit encryption

LogMeIn Free is a boon for PC users looking to access a single PC while they’re out of the office or away from home. While it won’t actually let you transfer files, you can e-mail them via the host PC or use a free file-sharing service to transfer large files.

Upload the file from your host PC to the file-sharing site, click a link on the PC you’re using, and files up to 500MB will download to the computer you’re currently using. An OS X version is available for Mac users. Install it on an OS X machine, and you’ll be able to control your Mac from the Web even if you’re on a PC and the built-in 256-bit encryption puts GoToMyPC to shame.

 TeamViewer

(Free download)

Why We Like It:

• Speedy and simple file transfers

• 256-bit encryption

TeamViewer lets users access their desktops remotely, run programs, and transfer files between computers. For private, noncommercial use, it’s 100 percent free and secures sessions with 256-bit encryption. While you will have to launch a program to gain access to your PC remotely, the file is available from the front page of the TeamViewer site; it’s less than 2MB and runs as a simple executable, so there’s nothing to install. This app is also available in an OS X-friendly version for Mac users.

If you’re looking for a free file-sharing application, sign up at Driveway.com – These folks provide up to 2 GB of storage with their Free account which makes transferring files between computers a snap.
http://www.driveway.com

Are FREE Email Accounts REALLY Free?

FREE Email Accounts?  You get what you pay for!!!

We’ve all been told there’s no such thing as a free lunch; yet it’s hard to resist the call of “FREE.” That’s one of the reasons so many people have free e-mail accounts through Hotmail, MSN, and Gmail.

And while you might not be paying out of pocket for these services, there IS a cost. Here’s the price you pay when you use a free e-mail account: 

An Extra Helping Of Spam: And loads of it. Are these free services selling your e-mail account? Do spammers have ways of gleaning your e-mail account? No one seems to know for sure (or at least they’re not talking). But the bottom line is you’ll end up with a lot more ads for Viagra than you bargained for.

Your E-mails Aren’t Guaranteed Delivery: The majority of spam messages come from free e-mail accounts. Even though you aren’t sending them, spam filters look at the server sending the message and, if it’s a known source for spam, will block the e-mail from going through. That means your e-mails might be getting blocked before they even reach the sender.

Customer Service? Non-existent: See you DO get what you pay for! If you have a problem, you’re usually on your own to figure it out.

Difficulty In Moving, Forwarding, or Downloading: Free e-mail services require that you read your e-mail through their web interface. If you want to move, forward or download your e-mail, contacts or other information, the process is cumbersome and sometimes impossible.

No Archiving: E-mail archiving, or storing old e-mails in a searchable, retrievable format has become very important (even a legal requirement) in some industries like medical and financial. E-mail is considered a form of communication and if you use it to support customers, order products, or to negotiate any type of deals, you want to keep a record.

So while these free services are okay for chatting casually with your friends, they are NOT recommended for business purposes or for sending anything you consider important.

Here’s a question to ask yourself: if your e-mail account was erased tomorrow and all of the messages, contact information, and history went bye-bye, would it be a slight inconvenience or a catastrophe? If it’s the latter, then you need to bite the bullet and get a “real” e-mail account. And, while you’re at it, you should also get an account that reflects your own domain name.

The only reason for keeping a free e-mail account is to provide certain web sites with an e-mail address when you don’t care about getting communications from them, or that may spam you later on. If you have your email configured through your own domain, we’ve even got a solution for that – disposable email addresses –but that’s a topic for another article.

Why Your Laptop Needs An “Instant Kill” Switch

It’s lunch time and you stop by your favorite café to check e-mail and grab a bite to eat. You settle in at a table when your pickup number is called. Returning to your table, you find your laptop and appetite—has disappeared!

Okay, maybe you’re not foolish enough to leave your laptop unattended in a public place, but one of your employees might think it’s okay to leave a laptop or PDA in their car, a hotel room, or in their gym bag and end up exposing your company’s data and network to thieves.

If it hasn’t happened to you or someone you know, according to the FBI, it will. Sure you have a backup of the data, but now detailed information about you, your family, your business and your clients is in the hands of a criminal intent on stealing your money, identity or worse. There is a lot of software and hardware that protects your data from being stolen by online criminals, but how do you protect your data when someone steals your physical laptop or PDA?

Until now, your only recourse was to change the passwords to your network, financial websites, etc., watch your credit report and cross your fingers hoping for the best. But thanks to new security software, you can instantly erase all of the data on your laptop or PDA preventing thieves from accessing the data.

Here’s how it works: Special security software is installed on your laptop that checks for your “kill” command whenever it connects to the Internet. This happens even before Windows prompts for the user name and password. If it receives the “kill” message, the data on your computer is instantly destroyed. You may not get your laptop back, but you’ll prevent the thief from stealing the information it contains.

Over the years, we have had a few clients experience lost or stolen laptops and PDA’s. In some cases, there was real concern about the data that was on those systems.

We have been researching and evaluating the various technologies that are available to provide this level of protection and we’ve selected GadgetTrak ProActive Security as our recommended technology. GadgetTrak supports PC’s, Mac’s, Smart Phones, PDA’s, iPhones and USB devices like USB keys, iPods, Cameras and more.

If your PDA is stolen, you simply text a message to it that includes your password and the PDA is reset it to its blank factory default condition. What could be easier?

As with all theft and hacker deterrents, thieves can circumvent this software by downloading your data before connecting the device to the Internet. Surprisingly, the typical thief isn’t smart enough to know this. So, for absolute security, data encryption still remains the most reliable form of protection. Encrypted data is unreadable to thieves unless they have your encryption key. There are pros and cons to both approaches, but it’s important for you to have SOME protection. For help in determining the best solution for you and your business, give us a call @ 781-834-9208.

For additional information:
http://www.gadgettrak.com/

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