PIMS Resource Center

Accessing PIMS Remotely
7/20/15 RR

In order to keep PIMS affordable, the program is designed as a file-server (i.e. desktop) application rather than a client server (i.e. web) application.  Designing applications in Microsoft Access is much faster, allows flexible access to data, and avoids the high cost of hosting a data-intensive web application (which alone would take up the entire PIMS operating budget).

PIMS is typically run over a local area network with the application on each computer’s local hard drive and the data table on a server. However, various options are available which allow some level of remote access:

Application ServersMany sites have set up PIMS on a Citrix Terminal Server or Microsoft Terminal Server.  This will work well if you create a separate instance of the for each user who will connect to PIMS.  This setup enables you to complete all PIMS installation on the server, rather than on individual workstations.
Cloud HostingIt's possible to host a PIMS on a cloud hosting service such as http://accesshosting.com for about $30 per user per month. We have tested this, and it seems to work identically to other remote desktop access solutions. No sites have yet adopted this, but we encourage sites to try the free one month trial.
Remote Access outside of a Local Area NetworkOne method of accessing PIMS remotely is through a remote desktop client.  With this setup, a user can remotely access a workstation connected to the local network where PIMS is configured.  Some remote access solutions used by PIMS sites include the Juniper client, Cisco VPN, and PCR.  GoToMyPC and LogMeIn are other good options.
Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services (RDS) This is used by a PIMS site in Grand Rapids, and is recommended because nonprofits can obtain an affordable license from TechSoup ($9 as of July 2015).The remaining costs are hardware and staff time for setup.

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