iTwin: Remote, Encrypted Access to Your Files

The iTwin device provides a simple and secure way of connecting to your office’s files while you’re out of the office. When you first open the box, you’ll see something that looks like a USB key, except that there are USB ports on both ends. Look a little closer, and you’ll see that the device can be split into two pieces.

To set up the iTwin, insert the device (with both halves still attached) into a Windows (s msft) machine. You’ll be prompted to install the software, and to register an email address you can use to disable the device if it gets lost. The two halves are then “paired,” so that they work together to create a connection between computers using 256-bit AES encryption.

You will be able to access one machine from the other, but only if both pieces of the device are installed. For additional security, you can also create a password on the iTwin.

You can leave one half of the device in your office machine, and insert the other into, say, a laptop. You’ll be able to access, move, copy and back up files. You can edit remote files directly, or copy files by dragging and dropping them.

Both iTwin and Pogoplug allow you to connect to your own files remotely without monthly fees, and without using cloud storage. But Pogoplug connects to an external hard drive and makes it available remotely, while iTwin allows you to connect to your entire computer and network. Of course, in order to access a particular machine, you’ll need to leave it on and connected to the Internet.

Of course, there are some security issues to be considered. While iTwin provides a couple of ways to disable the connection if one half gets lost, it might take a while before the loss is noticed. And the connection is bi-directional, so if someone entered your office, they could access your laptop. Frankly, it’s an open question whether the security of this system is better or worse than a software-only solution with strong passwords.

I wasn’t able to fully test the system, since iTwin only works with Windows machines at present, although the developers say a Mac version is in the works. I’ll be interested to see how speedy and stable the system is in actual use, and how well it interacts with Windows’ sleep mode.

iTwin retails for $99 on the developer’s website.

How do you connect with your files while you’re on the road?

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