CACHATTO, excellent mobile access tool, no VPN needed

Today I’d like to introduce a remote access tool called ‘CACHATTO’ developed and provided by a Japanese venture e-Jan networks, whose CEO was a member of Toray headerquarter’s business planning division.
The basic idea of CACHATTO is a bit like Blackberry. All you have to install into your company internal network is only one server. You don’t have to open an inbound port in your firewall.
Your mobile device communicate with CACHATTO access points and put requests for data. Your CACHATTO server within your company network makes periodical polling with CACHATTO access points to get the requests from your company’s mobile devices and returns the requested data to access points.
So without any VPN system or any inbound communication port in firewall, your company’s mobile devices can get internal e-mail and schedule data from Microsoft Exchange Server, IBM Domino Server or other IMAP/POP3 servers.
The biggest difference between CACHATTO and Blackberry is that you can choose any devices with Android or iOS because CACHATTO is not a proprietary application like Blackberry but a normal mobile application for Android and iOS. You can download CACHATTO Secure Browser from Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store for free. (Of course, if you don’t have a CACHATTO server installed within your company network, CACHATTO Secure Browser is useless.)
CACHATTO server itself doesn’t have any mobile device management features because CACHATTO Secure Browser doesn’t leave any cached data in the mobile device. While you run CACHATTO Secure Browser on Android devices, you can’t even take a screen shot or turn on USB debug mode.
However, this means you can’t use CACHATTO Secure Browser offline. You have to have 3G network or Wifi connection when you use CACHATTO Secure Browser. In addition, CACHATTO doesn’t have a push-type e-mail delivery. You always have to ‘pull’ e-mail and schedule data by starting CACHATTO Secure Browser on your Android/iPad/iPhone.
An interesting feature of CACHATTO is to browse Windows file server via SMB protocol. You can browse through any internal Windows file servers and only the folders and files to which you have access right will be shown in CACHATTO Secure Browser.
Of course, you can open Excel, Word, PowerPoint, PDF and text files. In case you use Android device, ThinkFree Office customized for CACHATTO is provided for free. If you use iPhone or iPad, preinstalled MS Office compatible application will show these files.
Another interesting feature of CACHATTO server is a kind of reverse proxy functionalities. CACHATTO is developed in Japan, so it has native user interface converter for made-in-Japan enterprise portal systems such as Cybozu and Desknets. I know nobody outside of Japan are interested in these portal applications.
The point is that CACHATTO server can configure an internal proxy server when it communicates with internal portal servers. If you put a Squid server between CACHATTO server and your internal application servers such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal and appropriately configure Squid server to delegate NTLM v1 authentication with your company’s Windows domain controllers, so you can browse the internal web sites through CACHATTO Secure Browser on your mobile device as long as the internal web sites is compatible with Android and iOS Webkit browser.
The username and password necessary for NTLM authentication have to be set to internal CACHATTO server in advance. The password, i.e. Windows domain password, can be changed by the users themselves through CACHATTO Secure Browser’s preferences.
As long as I tried with CACHATTO Secure Browser, I can make a single sign-on and browse various internal SharePoint Portal 2007 web sites made only with standard web parts. The internal web sites with JavaScript objects only compatible with Internet Explorer or the web sites which require ActiveX can’t be shown in CACHATTO Secure Browser.
If you have simple basic-authentication web sites, you can show it through CACHATTO Secure Browser without Squid server. With a big screen of Android tablets or iPad, your company’s users can use such web sites easily without installing any VPN concentrator.
And there is still another interesting usage of CACHATTO server. If you put a HTML5 RDP server such as ThinRDP Server between CACHATTO server and Windows Terminal servers, you can relay Windows remote desktop to CACHATTO Secure Browser. This means that users can logon to internal Windows Terminal servers via CACHATTO Secure Browser.
As of now, the performance of CACHATTO server as a remote desktop reverse proxy is not so good. So users must be irritated with terribly slow response of remote desktop. However, in the near future, this can be a good use of CACHATTO, I hope.
The annual cost per user is about 10,000yen for full features including reverse proxy features for internal file servers and various web sites. As of now, CACHATTO access points exists only in Japan. There seem to be no overseas sales partner of CACHATTO.
However, if you are interested in this product as a possible business partner of CACHATTO, I strongly recommend to contact with its head office in Tokyo. The detail contact is here.