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Log Me In for Nothing

Remote control administration is easy with LogMeIn tools.

Secure remote control inside your network is pretty easy to do these days, what with Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance baked right into Windows. But, getting that remote control to work securely and consistently over the Internet is quite a bit harder.

Not long ago, in my column “Hacking RDP,” I offered one solution to enable remote control to your home computer. That column got a lot of responses, with as many readers condemning my approach as praising it. One insightful reader, Scott Neader, pointed me towards some secure, inexpensive and easily administrable solutions at www.logmein.com.

The hardest part about the remote control solutions at LogMeIn is deciding which one is for you. They currently sport 10 different products that all revolve around getting to any computer from any other computer, no matter what networks lie between them. Their solutions range from free to not much more than free, and I’ve been quite impressed with the results I’ve seen in those I’ve tried. Here's a rundown:

LogMeIn Free gives you a no-cost remote desktop to a personal machine, running through a browser connection. It is intended to help a person away from their machine connect to it.

LogMeIn Pro adds a little cost but also adds in file transfer and sync capability, screen sharing, and remote printing.

LogMeIn Rescue is a remote desktop connection designed for IT shops and help desks that requires no client pre-installation.

LogMeIn IT Reach adds to Rescue the ability to remote machines without the user sitting in front of the machine and adds in remote performance and event alerting.

LogMeIn RemotelyAnywhere moves the hosting of the remote services to your premise, removing the need to contact LogMeIn to proxy the remote session.

LogMeIn Hamachi is a slightly different product that allows machines to create ad hoc LANs through any network connection -- even over the Internet. Though used a lot by gamers, this tool can create small, secure VPN networks for outside contractors to get into your internal network.

LogMeIn Backup is designed for IT service providers to quickly set up cross-machine backups.

LogMeIn Ignition is a client tool for LogMeIn Free and Pro that consolidates all your computers into a single console. It eliminates the need to go to the LogMeIn Web site to initiate a remote connection.

LogMeIn Network Console performs much of the same functionality as Ignition, but is designed more for the needs of an internal IT organization.

LogMeIn Scout, interestingly enough, is a tool that allows security administrators who don’t want remote control applications in their network to seek out and remove them.

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As discussed above, some tools involve a nominal cost. But, adding the ability to control laptops off the network and in hotel rooms anywhere significantly helps IT solve problems for users on the road and away from home.

About the Author

Greg Shields is Author Evangelist with PluralSight, and is a globally-recognized expert on systems management, virtualization, and cloud technologies. A multiple-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and Citrix CTP awards, Greg is a contributing editor for Redmond Magazine and Virtualization Review Magazine, and is a frequent speaker at IT conferences worldwide. Reach him on Twitter at @concentratedgreg.

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