Originally it was the transition from a laptop to a tablet… but while I enjoyed reading news, articles and social media on the tablet – it wasn’t a replacement for a real computer; it was really felt more like a smart-phone on steroids.
In my adventures, between tablets and various computers however, I discovered that my portable “computer” need not be the latest, greatest and most powerful model.
Utilities like GoToMyPC and PCAnywhere allowed me to have a largely “disposable” portable platform with me, while my “real”computer (including its files, applications, etc) we’re safely at home. I could use these utility programs to set up a virtual terminal session that, for the most part, was indistinguishable from actually being on the computer itself.
This would allow me to access my computer and files from pretty much anywhere.
Now there are risks; you need to have confidence in the security of the product/vendor you are using.
Likewise, you need to know that your terminal “session” is encrypted – so people cant readily watch your data – but with the right, mature product – its not a bad compromise*.
So what is the leap I’m making today?
With the more powerful tablet computers, we are going from a suped-up smart-phone to an actual computer platform (Microsoft’s Surface comes to mind). With optional (and light) keyboards and other peripheral devices, we can finally have the ultra portable computer platform we’ve desired.
I still like the remote access concept, but with these new tablets we finally have access to a machine that can do some of the heavy lifting we’ve been putting on the remote workstation, without the potential risks of losing data or access to someone exploiting your remote workstation.
Of course, you still risk losing key data if you drop or lose the new tablet, but with today’s “find my workstation” solutions – you can use software to locate your device, communicate with someone who may have found it, and ultimately wipe ass data on the unit if necessary.
Meanwhile, when not writing articles like this, I can still disconnect my new tablet from the keyboard and read my extensive e-book library, surf the web, and read various periodicals and news feeds.
I am, however, running out of excuses not to work.
* Other provisions you may want to include are:
- only running the remote terminal software when you know you are going to need access; shut it down all other times
- don’t put your most sensitive information on a remote PC; as with “cloud” computing – you are still trusting a 3rd party with the keys to your kingdom… go apply good governance and minimize risk to your most essential assets.
- regular password changes and ideally two-factor authentication or other robust access controls.
- some kind of tracking/reporting on when your system was last accessed remotely; check those logs and make sure it really was YOU using your machine.