Imagine a mobile thin client so thin that it doesn't even have a client.
You'd be imagining MobiKey from Route1: a thumb-sized device that plugs into a USB port on any client computer, "takes it over," and accesses your data and applications on corporate servers and your desktop PC.
Instead of carrying around a laptop or other device, loaded with corporate data, you can securely use any available Windows PC that has an Internet connection to safely access applications on the other side of the corporate firewall.
You plug MobiKey into a spare USB port. The device starts up from onboard read-only memory, and loads the log-in screen. MobiKey authenticates you against Route1's managed Internet service, called MobiNet, using embedded digital certificates. MobiNet also sets up an encrypted SSL tunnel through the corporate firewall.
Once authenticated to MobiNet, you get a list of the computers and servers you can access. Click on "connect" and you can see the prompt to enter your Windows password for your office or home computer, for example. Complete the log-in, and your local keyboard is in effect attached to that remote PC. You can connect to up to five remote systems at once.
MobiKey runs in a protected memory space on the local PC. So, once you're logged in, you are sealed off from the local Windows operating system, and any viruses or other malware that may be lurking on it. If the key is stolen or lost, the MobiNet service can disable it the next time it's used.
Earlier this year, Route1 introduced the MobiBook Pro, a Windows CE-based mobile thin client (review).
MobiKey is available now, at an introductory price of US$399. The per-user monthly subscription fee to the MobiNet service is US$20.