Quick Look: pcAnywhere bulks up

Symantec officials are expanding the company's hold on the remote control software market with the latest release of pcAnywhere. Version 11.5 addresses some concerns that have prevented government officials from deploying the product on a wide scale.

The improvements are split into security, platform support and performance.

Security

Agency officials should note the Advanced Encryption Standard security added through a cryptographic module that has met the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 1 validation. FIPS 140-2 validation is a requirement mandated by federal agencies and many financial organizations to protect sensitive information.

The new version of pcAnywhere also offers host address blocking and default encryption of log-in information.

Other security options include 13 methods of authentication, including RSA SecurID authentication and serialization, mandatory passwords and integrity checking. You can also hide pcAnywhere hosts from TCP/IP browser lists and specify TCP/IP addresses and subnetworks that are allowed to connect.

Platform support

We applaud Symantec's recognition that the world does not run on Microsoft Windows. The software's Linux Host allowed us to remotely manage a Linux system without specialized tools, dual-boot, or multiple devices or consoles.

Another addition is pcAnywhere Mobile, which allows remote PC access using a Windows Pocket PC-enabled device through a TCP/IP connection or wireless connection.

Performance

Symantec's pcAnywhere has never been considered a slug in terms of performance, so additional tuning is simply icing on the cake. For example, the latest version offers an optional Bandwidth Auto-Detect function that detected the speed of each of our Windows XP test clients and automatically adjusted settings that affect performance.

Kvitka is a principal of an information technology and Web development company. He can be reached at andre@digitalrig.com.

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