March 28, 2017

LogMeIn vs. GoToMyPC: Choosing Remote Desktop Software

LogMeIn and GoToMyPC are both housed under the LogMeIn family of products. Last year, Citrix spun off the GoTo set of products in June, and by the end of the year they merged with LogMeIn. While the products have similar capabilities, they don’t really compete with one another.

These products both offer remote file and screen sharing facilitated through remote desktop access, but the ways they go about it are a little different, which could determine your choice between LogMeIn vs. GoToMyPC.

ALSO READ: VMware vs. VirtualBox: Which is Better for Desktop Virtualization?

LogMeIn’s design creates a secure link between two computers, even when the user accesses the data over an untrusted network. The host computer that the client accesses stays connected to the LogMeIn servers over a secure connection, and the client requests access to the host computer’s data directly through the LogMeIn servers. This allows users and hosts to operate behind firewalls and does not require additional IT services to configure that firewall.

GoToMyPC’s setup involves installing a small server on the host computer that communicates with the central GoToMyPC broker when a user makes a request on the client computer through a browser window or the desktop app. Users can access remote desktops and share or sync files through the app’s web browser on any device.

Products and Sharing

Logmein rescue dashboard

LogMeIn’s product comes in three different versions that all provide sharing between individuals and teams.

  • LogMeIn Pro gives access to two computers, but you can invite as many users as you need to access those two computers.
  • LogMeIn Central is designed more for sharing files and updates for IT professionals.
  • LogMeIn Rescue gives users access to look at and remotely navigate on another person’s screen. Each of these products supports file sharing and remote printing

GoToMyPC only has one product, but it comes in three pricing tiers: personal, pro, and corporate. The difference between these plans really comes down to the number of users and computers you’d like to sign up. They do provide temporary access so you can invite other users to your computer. This is especially useful if you want to use the product for demos and bug fixes. GoToMyPC gives you access to all of your monitors from the same window, so you don’t have to change your organizational system.

Access

gotomypc screen share

The real advantage of both of these programs is that they give you access to all your files on the host computer from almost any location. This is especially useful to keep you from downloading your important and possibly sensitive projects to a physical drive, which could potentially go missing.

LogMeIn’s three products give you control over all of your devices, but the ability to share that data to other users and admins gets more advanced with each access level. The Central product provides automation for routine update tasks and monitors device status with mobile app/kiosk availability, which is especially helpful for IT departments.

GoToMyPC offers a file transfer and sync interface that lets users drag and drop files from one desktop to another, or use the program interface to sync across devices. As long as the host computer remains turned on and connected to the internet, the browser or desktop client will connect from anywhere. A quick video on the website illustrates the program’s main use case pretty well, if you can get past the cheesy bro-tastic office shenanigans.

Security

LogMeIn sign in page

In addition to building a secure gateway between the client and host computer, LogMeIn provides two further layers of security: TLS and LogMeIn Intrusion Filters. TLS (transport layer security) provides its own two checks to ensure your data has not changed in transit: record sequence numbering and message authentication codes. Mismatching keys means your data has been tampered with, and the transfer will fail. The LogMeIn Intrusion Filter has three components: IP address, denial of service, and authentication. These three filters ensure that bad actors are not connecting through an unknown IP address, hitting your site with an excessive number of connect requests, or trying to guess passwords through a high number of random tests. Each of these acts are common hacking techniques that LogMeIn guards against.

GoToMyPC similarly guards against denial of service attacks and excessive password tries through server monitoring. In addition, firewalls are deployed between the servers and the connected host or client computers. Because users can access the GoToMyPC servers from any web browser, search history is a security concern that the company has planned for. Although the program will show up as GoToMyPC in search history and may download an optional cookie to the computer, neither of these leave behind any identifying information or specific histories that could endanger the security of the data.

Extras

Gotomypc mobile android app

Outside of the basic features, which are pretty comparable between LogMeIn vs. GoToMyPC, each has a couple of extras that you might want to keep in mind as you decide.

LogMeIn offers free LastPass accounts to help you and your team securely manage your passwords. As a user of LastPass for both personal and business accounts, I can tell you this is worth it. Technically, LogMeIn and GoTo products are both sister companies to LastPass, but the free account is only offered with LogMeIn.

GoToMyPC sweetens their deal with a custom desktop shortcut that will let you access your host computer with a single click. This is great to use for those computers you access a lot, but it can have some drawbacks, as one user found when GoToMyPC had a security breach in 2016. That security breach wasn’t handled well, as the article mentions, so you might want to take that into consideration when choosing products.

Conclusions

If you’re only concerned with file sharing and syncing your data, programs like G Suite for Business and Dropbox for Business might be a better choice. But if you’re dealing with strict corporate file sharing, IT support, and software demos, the ability to share screens and data with outside clients over an encrypted network adds a level of comfort worth paying for.

The LogMeIn vs. GoToMyPC debate is a hard one to decide. LogMeIn’s extensibility is useful for those who need to deliver managed IT services. GoToMyPC, on the other hand, may be more useful for corporate, financial, or health-related industries that give employees access to sensitive information, but don’t want to share it via public cloud or physical storage.

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