How does NetConnect compare?

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If you’re in the market for a security, remote access, mobility or BYOD software solution, you’ve come to the right place. NetConnect enables and actively empowers workplaces to embrace new ways of working, without the need for complex migration, deployment, or organisational change.

To see how NetConnect compares with your current solution or stacks up against other mobility products in the market, explore our comparison breakdowns below.

NetConnect has a different philosophy to Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions; a view to make device integration simpler and more secure.

MDM solutions can be essential when it comes to managing a large fleet of hardware devices, however, has two major shortfalls:

    1. By giving full control of the device to IT, companies often alienate their staff, requiring strict management policies before coming into play. In many cases, employees will flat out refuse to give IT control over their personal device, subsequently rendering the MDM solution useless in implementing a BYOD solution. This results in the organization having to support the large cost of providing mobile devices to employees, when it could have been far simpler, easier, and just as secure to allow access on their own device.
    2. MDM solutions focus on managing the device, not on what the user needs to do with it. As a result, they often present a poor user experience, and rarely provide direct productivity benefits to end users.
combined-device-list

NetConnect takes a very different approach. NetConnect focuses on providing an enjoyable end user experience by enabling users to work from their mobile device as if they were at their desk.

By ensuring data never leaves the corporate environment, NetConnect removes the need to control the end user device. Should a device be misplaced or stolen, no data is lost, and sensitive company information is not at risk.
NetConnect is compatible with any device, and allows employees to use their device of choice. As a result, companies can enable BYOD simply, without taking risks with company data.

NetConnect and MDM can even live side by side. A number of NetConnect customers have a MDM solution to manage the physical hardware of their corporate mobile device fleet, and use NetConnect to enable connectivity to their corporate network, enabling access from MDM-managed devices and BYOD devices alike.

NetConnect behaves very differently from a traditional VPN, and simplifies the lives of end users and IT administrators alike.


Where a VPN focuses on connecting devices to the network, NetConnect focuses on connecting users to their applications. This becomes apparent in many different ways:

iPad portrait view of NetConnect login screen

User Experience

A traditional firewall VPN is designed to connect devices to the network, with very little focus on the user. VPNs deliver adequate solutions for users carrying corporate laptops, however they are more difficult to use from devices that are not part of internal IT networks.

Despite having connection instructions provided by IT, users need to rely on several pre-configuration steps before being able to work:

  • Set up the VPN on the device – requires specific software be loaded on the device, often requiring some level of technical expertise.
  • Work out how to run a remote desktop connection and access their files – often a task left to be deciphered on their own.
  • Removal of VPN configuration – To ensure company data is not at risk, the connection needs to be terminated.

All these configuration steps rely on the user’s ability to deal with technology, and requires a significant amount of time before users can work remotely.

Security

VPNs are very sensitive to network security and often will not work on public networks, such as those found in hotels. A traditional firewall VPN solution has two fundamental flaws when it comes to security:

  • The device may communicate freely with the network after a successful connection (unless a very specific configuration has been put in place by IT), however, if the device has been compromised, this can become a gateway for any virus or trojan. When the device is connected to the internet and to the internal network at the same time, skilled hackers can take advantage and use this as a point of entry to the network.
  • Should a network-connected device be lost or stolen, valuable company data is susceptible to whomever opens the device up next.
NetConnect logo on iPhone
man working with tablet pc and cup of coffee at home

IT Management

While setting up a VPN server can be a relatively easy task, securing the server can become a serious source of pain for IT Administrators. Instructing users on setup operations for new devices becomes complex, and difficulty to control the devices increases. IT Administrators find themselves choosing between restricting access to authorized devices to reduce the risk, or spending large amounts of time supporting users and monitoring access to control the risk.

NetConnect is a true clientless solution and removes the need for configuration on end user devices. Users can simply open a web browser, connect to their secure NetConnect environment, and automatically will be presented with all the resources they usually enjoy, allowing them to work immediately. Once the connection is closed, no data remains on the device, and company information remains safely stored on the corporate servers.

NetConnect does not enable any direct communication between the device and the internal network. Instead, communication is purely between the NetConnect gateway and the remote device, only allowing encrypted graphic information to be transmitted.

The NetConnect gateway, built on a hardened CentOS platform, has been designed to maintain the highest level of security, with regular penetration tests performed to ensure the latest security risks are mitigated. Operating purely on port 443, the standard port used by any secure web server, NetConnect is accessible from almost all locations and will not be restricted on public networks. Should the remote device be compromised, lost, or stolen, the network is not at risk and no information can be extracted. IT managers no longer need to worry about the security of end user devices, and can rely on the NetConnect gateway to secure their networks.

NetConnect does not compete with Remote Desktop. Rather, NetConnect enhances Remote Desktop by making it more secure and easier to use for end users.

To provide access to all users to their resources, a Remote Desktop server can either be

  • Protected behind a VPN.
    • The implications of a VPN are many – see our section “How does NetConnect compare with a VPN”.
  • Accessible via a remote desktop Gateway.
    • Whilst this can provide a good level of security, this will require specific configuration steps for users trying to connect from mobile devices. Additionally, to provide each user access to their personal desktop, IT administrators will be required to set up one separate application per user, which rapidly becomes impractical in large environments.
  • Connected directly to the Internet.
    • As per below, this is probably the worst solutions of all!
NetConnect screen on Mac
NetConnect screen on Mac

Security

The Microsoft Remote Desktop server is deployed across the globe. Its primary purpose is to enable multiple users to work on the same server at the same time – and it does it exceptionally well. However, its popularity has made it one of the most attacked products on the planet. Its well-known port is regularly scanned by bots, and any remote desktop server available directly on the Internet will quickly become the target of multiple attacks. Even if the server is hardened and maintained, hackers usually try the brute force attack system, using standard usernames and passwords until they can break in.

End User Experience

Remote Desktop requires users have specific applications be installed on their device. This application (usually the remote desktop client) and its installation method will be different depending on the device. Once installed, the user will need to configure each server connection separately, within the remote desktop client.

NetConnect works purely on port 443, like any secure web server. It is not recognised as a gateway to a corporate network by hackers, reducing the surface of attack. NetConnect includes multiple security features to reduce further the risk of attack or brute force, such as 2-Factor Authentication integration.

NetConnect contains features allowing users to see all their resources in one single pane of glass, with minimal configuration from IT administrators. Needing only their usual username and password, users are presented with immediate access to their work resources from their mobile workspace, allowing them to work immediately after opening the browser-based session.

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