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Innovations for road warriors

Stay connected while keeping your files safe

Rebecca Boyle//May 30, 2011

Innovations for road warriors

Stay connected while keeping your files safe

Rebecca Boyle//May 30, 2011

For lawyers, travel for business or pleasure can be imbued with worry. They want to travel with all the information they might need, but they must make sure their files are secure.  Here are a few apps and other innovations to help you stay connected — and keep your documents safe — when you’re on the road.

Remote-access programs

One solution is to travel with a laptop, tablet or smart phone that lets you log in remotely but doesn’t store sensitive documents. Most remote-access programs offer 30-day trial periods, so you can decide which one works best for you.

Go to My PC

Rates start at $9.95 per month and vary depending on the number of users and computers to access.

GoToMyPC.com

Connect to your PC or Mac using a web browser and work with your files as if you were sitting at your desk. St. Louis lawyer and consultant Geri Dreiling uses this program for remote access. She notes that the program can only accommodate one user at a time. “I have been in more than one battle over the cursor, both as the person logging in and as the individual sitting in front of the computer, trying to work,” she writes on her website LawyerTechReview.com.

LogMeIn

Prices vary widely based on service plans; limited free services available, ranging to $69.95/year per computer for pro plan

LogMeIn.com

LogMeIn Pro lets you access remote computers, even ones with dynamic IP addresses or firewalls for added security. You can work on the computer as if you were sitting in front of it, working with files, saving documents and even printing. LogMeIn Backup stores your data remotely, and LogMeIn Ignition lets you access computers from your mobile device.

Dropbox

Free for two GB of storage; $9.99/month for 50 GB; $19.99/month for 100 GB

Dropbox.com

One of the most popular cloud computing services, Dropbox allows you to drag and drop files from any computer equipped with Dropbox software. Any file you save to your Dropbox is automatically synced to all your devices. They can be accessed from all your computers, phones and the Dropbox website, and the files are encrypted for security.

SpiderOak

Free for two GB of storage; $10/month per 100 GB increment

SpiderOak.com

Also provides online storage space, file synchronization and file-sharing among unlimited computers. Files are encrypted and SpiderOak has a “zero-knowledge” policy, meaning no employees will ever know your password or the contents of your documents.

Teleworking

These programs let you participate in meetings when you aren’t in the room physically.

WebEx

$49/month for unlimited meetings with up to 25 people

WebEx.com

Cisco’s Web-conferencing software enables online meetings in real time. Users can participate using a computer, tablet or mobile phone using WebEx apps, and they can comment verbally, with a two-way audio function, or via text chat. Anyone can join a meeting, but you’ll need a WebEx subscription to set one up.

GoToMeeting

$49/month for unlimited meetings with up to 15 people

GoToWebinar and GoToTraining enable more users; pricing varies

GoToMeeting.com

Users of this teleconferencing program can start meetings at the click of a button, and they can send invitations to other participants. It can be set up to host recurring meetings and integrates with Outlook. Attendees can see a host’s single document, whole screen or even control the keyboard.

Skype

Internet calls are free; call domestic and international phone lines with a subscription or Skype credits (rates vary)

$8.99/month for Skype premium, including group video

Skype.com

The granddaddy of teleconferencing. Anyone from grandmothers to students studying abroad can hold free video chats with other Skype users. A new group video function serves as a casual format for a Web conference and costs less than other teleconference software. Skype is available on all major operating systems, smart phones and even televisions.

Mobile apps

TripIt

$49/year

TripIt.com

Frequent travelers could benefit from this trip-organizing service, which aggregates all of your travel plans and organizes them for mobile devices. Users forward their travel confirmation emails to the service, which automatically arranges the information into a master itinerary. Users can customize it with maps and directions, travel notes, photos and more. Free mobile apps available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

Poynt

Free; available on BlackBerry, Android and iPhone

This location-based search app can help users navigate unfamiliar territory. The app lets you search for businesses by name and type; movies by title or theater; restaurants by cuisine type; and even gas stations by location or price. Integrated maps and contact information let users easily find their way around or make calls without interrupting searches.

WiFi Finder

Free; available for the iPad and iPod on iTunes or click here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wi-fi-finder/id300708497?mt=8

Didn’t feel like paying for the 3G iPad? Or don’t know what that means? Find a free WiFi connection for your laptop using this iPhone app. The app uses the iPhone’s GPS capability to sniff out free WiFi hot spots in 135 countries. The app will list them in order with the nearest first, saving money on your data plan, according to J. Benjamin Stevens, a lawyer in Spartanburg, S.C., who runs the website The Mac Lawyer. Users can filter search by location type (such as library versus restaurant) and save their favorite hot spots.

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