Remote access software is an important tool for those that want to access their computer remotely and conveniently. Unlike virtual private networks (VPNs) for securing remote access to a company’s server, remote desktop tools work by simply allowing users to access a copy of the display server on their computer remotely.
This means that users can “log in” to their computer remotely and use it just as if they were sitting in front of it in their home/office. However, using a remote desktop, the physical computer to which the user is connecting to is in use. That means that it typically needs to be powered on—although many remote access tools are able to remotely activate or launch the computer (we’ll look at wake on LAN and WAN later in this article).
While users are using the computer, the device remains connected to its local network. This allows users to manipulate files on a company network, for example, without having to secure the connection with something like a VPN. It also means that the user will be able to access other devices on the computer’s network—such as, say, an office printer. By being able to access one device on the local network, this saves the user from having to set up remote connectivity with every other device on the network.
For users that want to remotely connect to a personal or work device, but without the hassle of setting up a VPN connection, remote access is a great option. They don’t typically require the assistance of an IT team and are usually quick and easy to setup. Enterprise tools can even typically be remotely installed on endpoints over the network.
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GoToMyPC is a remote access tool intended for users that need to access files, and view their screen remotely. It can run on a variety of mobile devices including iPads, iPhones, Android devices, and the Kindle Fire.
The company also recently upgraded its encryption strength to 256-bit AES which puts it on par with other tools in the industry.
Atera includes a remote access functionality as part of its device monitoring and support plans, which can be used by MSPs and support staff in order to provide remote support.
The tool requires the installation of a connection agent on supported endpoints and a connection tool to supplement the web UI. Connections are fast and secure.
RemotePC is a feature-packed remote desktop software for individuals and businesses. You can access any computer from another desktop or mobile device, plus set up an unlimited number of concurrent sessions. Even better, RemotePC offers personal, team, and helpdesk plans.
This software is easy to set up and even easier to use. Businesses can have an unlimited number of users and manage remote access seamlessly. Plus, RemotePC comes with built-in video conferencing, whiteboard tools, and one-time access codes.
ISL Online is a great tool for busy support teams with a lot of remote endpoints to support. Whether they’re running Windows, Mac, or Linux, ISL Online has clients to get the job done.
The tool also supports automatic session recording, on-screen annotations, and live chat and file sharing.
If your business depends upon being able to instantly access computers running a variety of different operating systems around the world (without compromising on security) then Netop Remote Access could be a good fit.
This advanced remote access tool features real time chat and file sharing. Plans are available for more than 500 devices and on premises installations can also be configured.
Mikogo is a remote access tool with clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It features 128 bit encryption to secure live streams and paid plans which support up to 5 licenses and covering 25 participants.
There are real time chat and file sharing tools to create an immersive support experience. This is a good tool for MSPs or support teams supporting a modestly sized client base.
Perimeter 81 is a security and remote access tool designed for use in large organizations. By securing application access through gateways and a software defined perimeter (SDP) approach, the tool makes it possible for large distributed workforces to securely access systems irrespective of what operating system they are running.
It’s an ideal remote access tool for enterprises running software on cloud-centric, on-premises, or hybrid architectures.
Desktime is a remote monitoring tool that can help companies keep a close digital eye on the online activity of their remote workers. It can also be used on the free tier for individual freelancers that want to monitor their own internet usage and productivity.
The tool features support for automatic screenshotting, document tracking, and a productivity estimator. It’s a well-rounded tool suitable for the needs of both small and large companies.
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Laplink Everywhere isn’t going to be winning any design contests any time soon, but its remote connection tool for Windows hosts is still an option for users to consider.
Using Laplink Toolbar or mobile, users can connect to their Windows computer, exchange files, and send jobs to printers.
Remote access software is designed to help PC users to securely access their computers, or other devices, from a remote location. It is often also used to allow managed service providers (MSPs) or IT support teams to remotely diagnose problems with computers and apply troubleshooting steps without having to guide users through complicated steps—or lengthy diagnostic processes.
Remote access tools commonly connect with computers by using a protocol called Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). This is optimized to display the computer’s desktop remotely although it can also be used for file transfer between the remote client and the computer.
Remote access tools are more flexible than VPNs because they allow users to mirror both the display and the filesystem. However, VPNs are still often the preferred tool used by enterprises and large organizations for having remote users connect to on-premises resources over a secure connection.
Remote access software is useful for just about any individual that might need to access their computer, or smartphone, remotely. This could be an office worker who wants to sync a resource from a filesharing resource on the local area network (LAN), such as a Network Attached Storage (NAS), with their remote computer. Rather than connecting to their machine through a VPN, the user can actually directly interface with their computer from a remote location. This typically means that whenever the user types on their keyboard or moves their mouse at home, these actions are mimicked on their computer in the office.
Additionally remember that remote access allows users to directly access a physical computer sitting in a remote location and to compute upon the hardware it contains. Take the case of a freelance video editor that has to work from home for a day. In the office he or she might have a high powered video editing workstation with high-end hardware required for fast rendering. At home he might only have a laptop. The video editor could simply edit the video remotely while connected to his workstation through a remote access tool and then render the project in the usual time.
Regular home users can benefit from remote connectivity too. Have you ever had to keep your computer turned on just to monitor the progress of a lengthy software update process? This is a perfect use-case for a remote access app. Install the remote access app on the computer you need to monitor (say your laptop). You can leave the house while the update process is ongoing and continue to monitor it remotely from your smartphone. When the job is complete you can even remotely turn the PC off, thereby saving on unnecessary power use.
Finally remote access software is widely used by IT companies and managed service providers (MSPs). MSPs typically assume responsibility for the successful use of technology in a company that doesn’t have an in-house IT department to maintain systems. Using remote access technology, IT support professionals can avoid having to relay troubleshooting and diagnostic steps through end-users, leading to quicker and more successful issue resolution—while minimizing onsite visits.
As with all technology verticals, not all remote access software is created equal. To choose the best remote access software users should check the feature list for the following functionalities:
Accessing your computer for free can be achieved with any remote support app that has a free tier. Teamviewer is a popular choice for this use. In order to get set up on a platform like this, users simply need to install the client on their target device. After enabling unattended access they should be able to remotely take over control of the computer whenever they feel like it. Bear in mind that in many cases users will still receive prompts that their system is being accessed remotely. Therefore users should ideally alert anybody else using the computer that at any moment they could take the digital reigns and start manipulating the controls.
Remote access software is the perfect technology for users that want to be able to access their devices remotely and use them as if they were in their office or at home. It offers users more flexibility than a VPN because they can manipulate both the filesystem and the computer directly. Although some employers still exist on using VPN technology, advances in encryption mean that many are now satisfied with allowing employees to use RDP technology for all their offsite connectivity needs. Wake on LAN and unattended access mean that many tools allow users to do everything with their work-based hardware no matter where they are located.