Mac-based businesses can now provide remote access to their computers -- even from PCs -- through Citrix Systems's well-established GoToMyPC service.
Mac-based businesses can now provide remote access to their computers -- even from PCs -- through Citrix Systems's well-established GoToMyPC service.GoToMyPC for Mac has been in beta since last November, and the finished product is available as of today. GoToMyPC is software that runs on a host computer and enables mobile workers to access the host via a browser on any other computer.
According to IDC figures cited by Citrix, more than 70 percent of the U.S. workforce will be mobile by the end of 2011. What they mean by "mobile" isn't that the workers won't have an office or a desk somewhere; rather people will be working from a variety of locations rather than just that home desk. While they're at those other locations, though, they may require access to files or applications on their primary computer -- that's where remote access solutions like GoToMyPC come in. According to Citrix, the number one "use case" for remote access is "day extenders," or people who continue to work on projects after they leave the office -- from home after the kids have gone to bed, for example. And remote access is also of growing importance, the company says, to business continuity planners, as mobile workers can cover any unexpected gaps in service. Citrix further claims that nearly half of their customers had asked for Mac access, a sign, the company says, of how high the Mac market share is in small business.
GoToMyPC for Mac works the same way the Windows product does, although, the company says, it hasn't achieved feature parity with its older sibling yet. You have to leave the host computer running and connected to the Internet -- the remote access won't wake the host up. Once that's taken care of, you use your browser to log onto GoToMyPC.com from any other computer, enter your password, and the Citrix servers negotiate the connection between you and the host. You see your host computer on your remote screen and can even bring up a full-screen view so that's all you see. You can work with programs and files on your host computer; a Citrix representative even demonstrated copying text from Keynote on the host and pasting it into Word on the client. Drag and drop between the two computers works on the PC but not yet on the Mac version.
Mac OS X, of course, offers its own screen sharing and remote access capabilities. But Citrix points out that GoToMyPC allows cross-platform connections in all directions, including PC client to the Mac host, enabling mobile workers to access their primary Mac from a PC they might be forced to use in a hotel's business center or a colleague's office.
GoToMyPC for Macs requires Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and costs $20/month for access to one Mac, $30/month for access to two, with a 30-day free trial available. Annual plans or additional Macs work out to $15/month each. There's no bandwidth or usage restriction, and the service comes with free 24/7 technical support.