If you are looking for an SSH Client, there are a few features that will revolutionize the functionality of the SSH client and its usability. These are features to understand and to look for before you download your SSH Client for Android.
Before getting into the features, it is important to understand that not all SSH Clients and Servers are the same. While features and description rhetoric may sound similar, there are some very distinct differences to be aware of. SSH is used to protect valuable data – it sends the character strings securely to prevent data breeches or security hacks. But be aware – many SSH protocols use old and deprecated ciphers, making the SSH old and outdated. This will give you a false sense of security – you assume you are being proactive and using SSH to secure your data, but in reality, you are using easily hacked algorithms and sending all of your sensitive data over a non-secure network. Before downloading ANY SSH Server, question which ciphers are being used and ensure that they are using current encryption algorithms. Having “SSH” in the name is NOT enough. Technological advances each year can make algorithms that used to be safe, not safe anymore. You need to use the most current encryption algorithms, and you need to download from a company that constantly updates their algorithms.
Now that we’ve explained the first priority to look for on an SSH Client, we will go over a few features to look for depending on your application that will take your SSH Client experience from “functional and frustrating”, to “wow, my system administrator loves me, my workers use this with ease, it saves times and is extremely functional”.
Distinct Admin and Worker Mode – In workspaces, there are distinct roles between the worker and the system administrator. However, some software does not reflect these differences. The software expects the worker to manage the license, set up configurations, manage public keys, typing in usernames and passwords…etc. This leads to a frustrated worker. It’s a lot to manage, especially with issues like mistyping a username or password or getting the configurations wrong. Some of the newer SSH Clients for Android (like the GSW ConnectBot) that offer a very distinct admin mode and worker mode. The worker can focus on their activities without concern for the administration details. The admin mode is a superset of the worker mode, which means the admin can do everything the worker can do, plus more. The admin can set up the licensing create/delete connections, configuration and use of connections, managing public keys, and locking the work mode to a specific application. If you will be using the SSH Client in a commercial or industrial environment, distinct admin and worker modes are revolutionizing.
Multiple Sessions / Swipe-to-Switch – If you will be working with multiple connections simultaneously, find out how you will be switching from session to session on the SSH Client interface. Some SSH Client software has a lengthy process to switch from session to session. We’ve used SSH Clients that you have to go to a menu, drop it down, hit select, click that you want to go to a different connection, and then pick the connection you want to switch to. It’s a 4-5 step process. Other SSH Clients make the process simple. To get to a different connection, you simply swipe the screen left and right. It’s a much more seamless, easy path and will save time and eliminate frustration for your workers. If you will be using multiple sessions with your SSH Client, make sure you understand the process of navigating from one connection to another.
Keyboards – If you plan to only use the normal device keyboard, then feature won’t make a difference to you. But if you have a favorite keyboard from the GooglePlay store or you prefer the Hacker’s Keyboard, some SSH Clients support keyboards of your choice. For example, the GSW ConnectBot SSH Client for Android fully supports all the combinations of function keys of different keyboards, including multiple meta keys. If you are using another Telnet Server, this feature can be used to match 3rd party server settings.
Licensing and Deployment Server – If you have many devices to manage, a deployment server is a huge asset for the system administrator. A deployment server is a piece of software that allows for management of your devices. For example, instead of having to set up the configurations on all 300+ devices, you simply set up one device’s configuration, and then upload that configuration across all your devices. You can use deployment servers for configurations, updating the software and more. Some SSH Client companies will sell these as an added cost, while others provide them as a free service. If you have multiple devices to manage, a licensing and deployment server will be a huge asset to your company.
Depending on your environment and industry, your needs for your SSH Client will vary. We hope that this created a basic understanding of what features are available and what specific things to ask before downloading an SSH Client.