Staying secure when using your desktop from afar
I love remote desktop access. I can sit at any web browser in the world, even the one on my tiny PocketPC, and access my main work computer. Up comes an image of the screen and I can control it just as if I was sitting at my desk.
�I can do it anywhere there's a web browser.�
I use GotoMyPC and Remote Desktop on my server which runs Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003. Windows XP Professional comes with Remote Desktop built in, so you might be able to get started with it quickly, and for free - here's how.
It's a kind of internet magic. The image of the screen is transmitted to the browser and my control inputs are sent back to my main computer. I can run all my normal programs, all my files are where I left them and I can do it anywhere there's a web browser and an internet connection. That's the good news.
The security risks
These kinds of remote desktop programs present some security worries. Because most of them create a hole through your firewall between the public internet and your desktop, they form a loophole for hackers.
�If a hacker gains access to one of these programs, they will have the same access to the user's computer as the user themselves.�
Furthermore, if your staff can download and install them without any central management or control, there is a risk that security procedures - like password policies - may not be followed. And if a hacker gains access to one of these programs, they will have the same access to the user's computer and your network as the user themselves.
I'm not saying don't use these programs, but you need to take some precautions:
Take these precautions and remote desktop access can be a very useful tool for your business. It means you can use your own PC wherever you are, with access to all your programs and your files. Why not give it a try?
See how to use Remote Desktop Connection with this step-by-step guide.
Matthew Stibbe writes a new column every fortnight. Sign up to receive them automatically by email.