10 useful Android apps for IT pros

Manage files, monitor servers, discover network devices, remotely access desktops and more

Good news for network administrators, tech support staffers and other IT pros who use Android smartphones: There are hundreds of Android apps designed to help you get your work done faster, better and -- best of all -- remotely. Do a little searching and you'll find tools that enable you to remotely access desktops, monitor servers, tether your laptop to your phone and more. And the vast majority of these tools are free.

The only hard part is wading through the sheer number of options available in the Android Market and other app collections. So we did the groundwork for you, asking seasoned IT professionals for their picks. Here's a roundup of 10 Android apps that IT pros will find useful. (Of course, you should always go through proper channels and approval processes before using any of these tools with your company systems.)

AndFTP Android app

AndFTP

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AndFTP

From: Lysesoft

Price: Free

For those who need to connect to FTP servers, AndFTP offers three main features: the ability to manage FTP services, an FTP file browser and a device file browser. Simply set up server credentials to manage multiple servers. You'll be asked for typical login information, such as host name, username and password, and then you'll see some advanced connection options (SSH key, etc.).

The app also gives you options for both local and remote startup folders. With AndFTP, IT pros can easily browse, download, rename and delete files, create folders and change file permissions. Another cool option: AndFTP lets you add Dropbox-like functionality to your phone. You can share files -- even very large files -- quickly and easily with your users based on permissions.

AndroidVNC

From: androidVNC team + antlersoft

Price: Free

AndroidVNC Android app

AndroidVNC

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VNC desktop-sharing software lets IT pros remotely connect to and run systems connected to their LAN or via the Internet. AndroidVNC extends that ability to Android phones.

With it, you can see and control your computer's desktop -- or the desktops of the users you support -- no matter where you are. This app connects to most VNC servers, including TightVNC, Real VNC, x11vnc and Apple Remote Desktop.

Shrinking the desktop down to fit on your phone's screen obviously presents some disadvantages, but AndroidVNC is a neat and useful app. Another caveat: The target device(s) must be using VNC.

Astro File Manager Android app

Astro File Manager

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Astro File Manager

From: Metago

Price: Free

This neat little tool is designed to help you wade through the clutter of files and apps that accumulate on your phone. Astro File Manager offers a folder view of the phone, including folders for third-party apps and the contents of your root system folder. A toolbar makes it easy to navigate through the directory and includes buttons for searching, editing an entry and bookmarking folders.

What does this have to do with IT? Over a Wi-Fi connection, IT administrators can use Astro File Manager to track and control all the files in a network shared folder or system. Simply set up a network location via SMB (server message block) and readily view file details and permissions. You can also easily copy, rename or delete files.

Astro File Manager also kills tasks, sends files as attachments, and creates and stores backups of your apps. As with most free apps, the downside is that you have to put up with banner ads.

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