Few workers use a single office PC to conduct all of their commercial IT activity these days, with laptops, home PCs and the public computers found in hotel business centres, airline lounges and even Internet cafes all playing their part.
But spreading the workload across so many different systems makes it easier to lose track of what files are stored where. So anything that helps avoid the nightmare of being caught without the right version of that vital report or presentation at the critical moment is a good thing isn’t it?
I thought so, but my IT department seems to disagree. For me personally, free remote access services like LogMeIn are a godsend; providing reasonably fast access to all of the files stored on my home server from any Internet connected PC in any location.
It doesn’t matter if I’ve forgotten to copy my files to a USB flash disk, or inadvertently left the device in the back of the PC, I can still log in to the machine, open up an email client and send them to myself. If I’m feeling flush with cash, I can even pay for the speed and convenience of using the file transfer option.
Unfortunately after a few months of productivity heaven and considerable peace of mind, my IT department discovered I was using LogMeIn (installing it on my office PC gave me away) and blocked it.
They argued it was a security risk, and so it is. But is it any less secure than the secure sockets layer (SSL) virtual private networks (VPNs) that can be compromised just as easily by spyware that logs the usernames and password being input?
The difference as far as I can tell is that with SSL VPNs, the company itself controls user authentication, whereas LogMeIn stacks all the access cards in its favour. And giving any third party, least of all one hell bent on selling people something they probably don’t want, an open road into any computer on the LAN is enough to render most network administrators sick with worry.
It’s a question of trust.
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