Mobility

Use TeamViewer to promote secure environment access for BYOD hardware

Matthew Nawrocki provides an example of how to use TeamViewer on an iOS BYOD device to securely access work documents remotely.

BlackBerry used to be the dominating force in the enterprise realm. During that time, smartphones and tablets were considered a pricey luxury that never really had much utility outside of nerd circles. Apple stepped in to change all of that, first with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, followed by the iPad in 2010. Because these consumer electronics made owning these device form factors cool and within a reasonable price range, they started catching on.

Around the time that BlackBerry usage started to dwindle among the masses, enterprises began to take note of the alternative platforms like iOS and Android, with some businesses even going so far as to retire their aged BES servers and adopt a whole fleet of Apple devices into their ranks. Of course, not all companies were this bold, sticking to their existing infrastructure or leaving out the fancy gadgets entirely. Today, this brings us to the ultimate question: What about employees introducing their own iPhones and iPads into the work environment?

Due to network security and other IT department regulations, it's difficult to adopt a BYOD strategy that keeps the employees and contractors happy, and also keeps company proprietary data safe. There are many ways to solve this problem, but I'd like to take a look at one way of tackling this head on with TeamViewer.

Now available for iOS devices, TeamViewer is what you would call the ultimate in remote desktop software. It's available for a wide variety of platforms, such as Windows, Mac, and Linux computers, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices. And let me tell you, TeamViewer integrates very well with iOS, including most of the same bells and whistles you get with a desktop version, with some minor caveats.

To that end, TeamViewer can aptly prop up a comprehensive BYOD plan for any business, since it provides an ability to sandbox activity and give enough of a barrier between smartphone / tablet devices and the host PC. For instance, let's say you're on the road and need to crank out edits on a Word document for work but don't have any traditional means of doing so. Using TeamViewer, you can upload a document from your iOS device straight to your desktop at work and actually start working.

In the following example, I'll be using my resume and an iPhone.

  1. Download TeamViewer to your mobile device and desktop.
  2. From your mobile Inbox, press and hold an email attachment (Figure A) until your open options list appears, and then choose Open in TeamViewer.
  3. Figure A

    Long-press the attachment and choose Open in TeamViewer.
  4. TeamViewer will prompt you select the file you're preparing to push to the remote desktop, including any additional files uploaded previously (Figure B).
  5. Figure B

    Select the file(s) that you want to push to the remote desktop.
  6. Select the name of your remote desktop that you want to connect to (Figure C). If applicable, enter any security credentials in order to proceed.
  7. Figure C

    Select the remote desktop that you want to connect to.
  8. Once you're connected to the file manager, select the drive and directory you wish to send your file(s) to, and then press the Drop here button (Figure D). Keep in mind that only areas that are expressly allowed by your system administrator will be able to accept an upload. In my case, the F: drive has proper read/write permissions.
  9. Figure D

    Select the drive and directory you wish to send your file(s) to.
  10. After your upload is completed, you can disconnect from the file manager session (Figure E) and then reconnect back into the system in Remote Control mode (Figure F) so that you can gain access to your desktop and begin working.
  11. Figure E

    Disconnect from the file manager session.
    Figure F

    Reconnect back into the system in Remote Control mode.
  12. Once you're connected to the desktop, you can navigate to the document you uploaded (Figure G), open it with the installed word processor, and begin working.
  13. Figure G

    Navigate to the document you uploaded.
  14. Press the keyboard button to either invoke the on-screen keyboard (Figure H) or use any Bluetooth keyboard connected to your iOS device.
  15. Figure H

    Press the keyboard button to invoke the on-screen keyboard.

In that short example, you can work with a plethora of files with ease, all the while keeping your iOS world clearly separate from your workstation desktop world. In this way, TeamViewer promotes a good BYOD-centric policy by allowing personal devices but sequestering the work environment in its own proper space.

Do you use TeamViewer in your organization? If so, share your experience in the discussion thread below.

Read also

TechRepublic and ZDNet delve deeper into this topic in a special report page: BYOD and the Consumerization of IT.

About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

2 comments
darrylhadfield
darrylhadfield

Unless something's changed in the last day or two, pricing for Teamviewer turns "hey! great solution!" into "uhh.. I'll keep looking." A shame, too. They could snatch up the market if their pricing was more attractive (like, oh, 10-25% of what it is now)

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

The commercial licenses are pricey, but if the company is paying for it anyway, TeamViewer is still solid.