Two reviews come to mind concerning remote desktop access through ipad – one for PocketCloud (the most read article I’ve ever written which now also supports Mac), and Jump Desktop. Both are great apps and each raise the bar concerning the transient aspects of running desktop OSes from a touch device.
Remote access apps for mobile devices like the iPad 2 help solve this disconnect dilemma. With a touch of a button, the iPad‘s remote desktop apps allow you to view and use your computer’s files and applications whether you are abroad, at home, or anywhere in between. “It’s a window,” says Bill French, founder of iPad CTO, an online adviser of Apple’s tablet for c-level executives. “Your iPad is a window to your desktop.”
The Inc Magazine article provides a good overview of the distinctive [comparative] advantages of RDP vs VNC protocols. Patrick Jordan, editor at JustAnotheriPadBlog.com, accurately points out the benefits and pervasive Windows access through RDP.
RDP is the most efficient method of remote access for Windows users. It interprets and transmits only the data an iPad needs to imitate the functions of your desktop. Most Windows computers come with RDP already embedded. “RDP services are nearly 100 percent in place in corporate workplaces,” said Patrick Jordan, founder and editor-in-chief of JustAnotheriPadBlog.com. “The interface is familiar, so it makes things easier to do remotely.”
But I think the article drops a few wheels off the rails with this comment by Brad Spirrison, managing editor for Appolicious.
While hundreds of varieties of remote access apps exist, only a few consistently receive rave reviews. LogMeIn Ignition is one favorite. “Far and away, it seems like the best solution …”
Sure, it could be considered the best solution if you don’t care about roving eyes back at the office. Imagine logging in and remotely running a desktop-based HR app. You approve anger management classes for a specific employee and an associate happens to be dropping a report on your desk while you’re making this very confidential employee file update. If your screen is on, a major security breach has occurred.
Just because it’s easy to install, it doesn’t necessarily consider all the security issues and risks that come with it. In fact, the easier it is to install, the less likely it is going to meet your security requirements. Don’t be lulled into thinking that security ends with the HTTPS protocol or with the connectivity solution.
In this article, Drew points out this possible security risk.
“Adjust your desktop screen settings to blank to maintain privacy over your work while you’re outside the office.”
Suggesting that screen power is adequate for security is a very risky policy in many companies. It’s also important to note that with the Windows RDP protocol, screen access to sensitive apps running over a remote connection, is not an issue. The screen will be logged out and inaccessible without credentials. Screen display remains a serious issue with services such as LogMeIn and VNC connections, but some products include settings that will mitigate screen visibility security risks.
Remote Access is Good; Innovative Touch Interface is Critical
Little was said in the article concerning how well a given remote app is able to map the world of touch computing back to the office where most apps require a keyboard and mouse. This, above all, is the most important aspect of creating a highly productive environment for working away from the desktop.
I personally like the way two apps have addressed this; PocketCloud (http://wyse.com) and Jump Desktop (http://jump desktop.com). These apps have been designed to most effectively provide a touch interface to your desktop. If you’ve ever tried to use Windows (or even Mac OS X) without a mouse, you’ll get a sense of how important these features are.