It has been over a year since we first wrote about Tosibox remote access products. The year has been filled with excellent success stories from a variety of industries and applications. This is a very unique product in its ability to make potentially complex applications very easy to implement. Isn’t that what we all want out of an IT solution?
The first application that comes to mind for this type of product is remote access for PLCs, PCs. robotics or cameras in systems shipped to far away customers. If configured correctly the Tosibox Lock 200 can also provide access to an entire network of devices. It all depends on how it is implemented. There are plenty of industrial device vendors for this kind of application; Phoenix Contact, eWON, Moxa and Secomea to name a few. None are as easy as plug and play, however. If you can stick a flash drive into a box then you can program a remote access connection for Tosibox. Each of the other vendors also rely on their 3rd party server for the remote connection. Expect loss of service notices when maintenance on the servers is scheduled. Tosibox does not use a server to maintain a VPN connection. There is more on this later in the post but I’ll add that if you are not into your people carrying physical keys there is now an option for a Softkey where an administrator of a system could grant access via an email.
The same simple product can be easily configured for a variety of tough applications. Layer 2 as well as the more standard Layer 3 connections are easily implemented. Internet access for remote devices can be limited or allowed. Full time connectivity is also allowed if needed without reliance on a cloud based server to maintain the connection. Each Key comes with an Android or iOS mobile client for remote monitoring of a site. And keys can be handed out to users with limited access to certain Locks or selected devices under Locks. Limiting a technician’s access to only the equipment for which he is responsible is easy with Tosibox. Further, any or all of their permissions can be revoked at the click of a mouse.
Although temporary connectivity usually first comes to mind with this type of product, continuous highly secure network connectivity is also an option and can be implemented in a couple of ways. The first and easiest to deploy is a system of Sub Locks under a Master Lock at the central location. This system is great for secure water/waste water connectivity, remote renewable power generation or remote pump sites. The use is not limited to industrial applications. The price is right for implementation of remote connectivity for commercial application as well. We are working with a University to provide secure simple remote access to utility metering systems. The same hardware is used for this system as you would use for a Remote Access application and it is very easy to configure. The second type of continuous connectivity system might require more bandwidth at the central server. Fir these applications users should consider a Central Lock or Virtual Central Lock. The Central Lock is a rack mounted hardware and software platform from Tosibox that has a 1Gb WAN port and 4 1Gb LAN ports. The remote VPN connection can be Layer 2 or Layer 3 in nature just like using the Lock 200. The Virtual Central Lock is similar in function the Central Lock but it is software installed on the customer’s server. It can work with Virtual Machines.
- Softkey: I personally like having a physical key open the door for remote access. For those who just don’t like the USB key concept there is also a Tosibox Softkey coming soon to the US. The user must still maintain one Master Key that is a physical device but sub keys can be Software only, eliminating the need to ship a key to a user.
- Improved Cellular connectivity: A user can always use a Lock 200 with the cellular modem of their preference as connection to the Internet. There is, however, a very cool solution from Tosibox to plug a USB cellular modem into a Lock 200 just like you would plug an AirCard into your laptop. Here is a list of supported modems.
- Support: Tosibox’s support continues to astound me. Almost all of the questions my customers and I come up with are addressed on their FAQ page. They do an outstanding job of providing simple but detailed solutions. Check out this reference for use of TightVNC software for remote computer access if you want proof.
Please call us if you have questions- 888-554-2021. Feel free to email me as well if I can be of any assistance. We offer discounted product for a first time user’s initial purchase.