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Working Remotely

What is a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)?

By Sarah Laoyan
5 minute read

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With more companies adopting hybrid workforces, we’ve seen a major increase in demand for flexible, remote work solutions. Leaders are looking towards already existing solutions like remote desktop protocols (RDPs) for these solutions.

In this blog post, we discuss what a remote desktop protocol is, how it works, and what organizations can do for remote work strategies.

How Does a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Work? 

A remote desktop protocol (RDP) requires two different devices to function: one local computer and one remote computer.

The local computer is also known as the RDP client. The end user will be sitting in front of this computer during this process. The remote computer is the one that is far away that you’re trying to access. This one is referred to as the RDP server.

Through RDP, the remote computer transmits screen information from the remote computer to the local computer, while the local computer sends keyboard and mouse inputs from the local computer to the remote computer.

Because of the amount of information that’s being transmitted back and forth, end users might experience quite a bit of lag between input and output. For example, when typing in a few words, there might be a delay between the keystrokes and the display on the screen.

Is a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Secure?

A remote desktop protocol (RDP) requires you to connect to another device over a network connection. This works primarily well when both devices are located on the same network, as there is no need to bypass any specific firewall or other security infrastructure.

In terms of security, RDPs have major vulnerabilities, specifically with past versions of Windows. Since Windows no longer supports the maintenance of past operating systems, these past versions become more vulnerable over time. This is true for most software and operating systems, which is why it’s important to ensure that software is regularly maintained and updated.

Newer versions of Windows operating systems patch these vulnerabilities, but RDP is still not the most secure remote access option.

Alternatives for Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

While a remote desktop protocol is one of the more standard ways to grant access for computers, there are alternatives that are more secure and reliable than an RDP. Here are a few alternatives that you may come across. 

Option 1) Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are an extremely common option for remote access both for ease of use and security reasons. A VPN establishes an internet connection between two locations and allows users to remotely access a computer and its files within that network.

VPNs are great for remote access when using them for short durations, however they don’t perform as well when used for long-term processing. VPNs are not built to handle a large amount of traffic, so deploying them for a large workforce would require the IT team to build a more complex infrastructure.

Related Reading: Security Risks of a VPN

Option 2) Screen Sharing & Remote Control

Screen sharing and remote control work very similarly to how remote desktop protocol works. The only difference is that they’re using third-party software instead of utilizing integrated protocols.

Functionally, this process works similarly to a remote desktop protocol: the remote computer sends display information to the local computer, while the local computer sends inputs to the remote computer. Because the functions are extremely similar, the problems with this option are as well. Using screen sharing and remote control works well in one off situations, but doesn’t work well for long term usage because of the lag users receive between inputs and outputs.

Option 3) Remote Access Software

If your main goal for adopting a remote desktop protocol is to provide your employees with the ability to work remotely, consider using remote access software like Splashtop. Remote access software provides users with the ability to access remote devices without bypassing certain firewalls or security features.

Splashtop works in a way that allows for remote access seamlessly, without any delays or lag.  When the remote desktop and the local computer both have the necessary applications installed, inputs and outputs occur instantaneously with no delays. In addition, Splashtop allows you the ability to access computers on completely different networks with remote access software.

The other benefit of using remote access software is security—because individuals are remoting into a secure desktop or device, files and information never actually leave that device unless explicitly directed to. This can help to prevent data leaks and create more secure remote access processes.

Try Splashtop for free!

Remote Access Software for Remote Work

If you’re looking for the right solution to provide your employees a seamless remote work experience, remote access software is superior to connecting through a remote desktop protocol.

Remote access software like Splashtop provides users with the best user experience and security for remote work. Plus, Splashtop provides the ability to use high-performance software like video editing or graphic design software from a remote computer.

Looking for RDP Alternatives?

Looking for an alternative to RDPs? Test out Splashtop for one week for free—no credit card required. See how simple it is to remotely access devices with the Splashtop software, free of charge.


Recommended Reading:  

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Sarah Laoyan
Sarah Laoyan is a content marketing specialist at Splashtop. She's an advocate for any technology that helps improve collaboration for remote workers. When not writing, you can find her knitting or crocheting with a cozy beverage nearby.
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