During these times of most workers only being able to work from home, solutions for allowing remote workers to maintain similar levels of productivity are becoming increasingly necessary. Fortunately, there are a considerable number of systems that can be implemented to make working remotely feasible. The type of system we will be discussing this month is full remote access to a computer.
Remote Desktop Services
Remote Desktop Services, or RDS, is a system that can be deployed and set up on Windows Server that allows for multiple remote users to connect simultaneously and not interfere with the other users. This technology has been around for a considerable length of time but is mostly used in specific circumstances. Its primary appeal is that it cuts down on the number of computers used when multiple workers need to work remotely. Almost every other system for remote control of a computer can only handle one user per computer at a time.
The way RDS handles multiple users connecting at once is that each user, upon signing in, connects to their own specific session, entirely separated from the other users’ sessions. The settings and data persist for each user across every session. What this means is that a user can be set up with access to certain programs, settings, and data. Any changes made to the data or settings in one session are saved for the next time the user reconnects.
Each user’s environment when logging in can be granularly controlled by setting user or group-specific permissions. These permissions can be just for file access, or can automatically route a specific group of users to a different environment template called a Collection that will limit what software they have access to.
What is RDS Best Used For?
RDS is best when there is software that runs on a local server in the office that can only be accessed from a computer at the office. An example of such software would be something like QuickBooks, where the data for the company is stored on a server and accessed from the workstations on the same network. RDS would enable users to log into the system at the office and access the software and data remotely from any location.
The main consideration for whether or not RDS makes sense for a situation is if the remote users need to access documents or software that is only on their workstation at the office. If this is the case, and each remote user already has a computer at the office that they alone access, a different system is probably more ideal.
VPN + Remote Desktop Protocol Connection
The basis of this configuration is that the VPN connects the remote user to the network at the office, and once connected, the user is able to access what is on the network. Remote Desktop Protocol is the foundation for the functionality of Remote Desktop Services, and was developed first. It is possible to take remote control over a computer using a stand-alone Remote Desktop Connection, but doing so from outside the office without something like a VPN is strongly discouraged for security reasons.
The Remote Desktop Protocol is a relatively old protocol that has considerable security vulnerabilities that could lead to disaster if appropriate precautions are not taken. This is where the VPN connection comes in. The VPN will allow the remote user to connect to the network at the office with a level of security that is compliant with most security standards, and once the secure connection is made, the remote computer will act as if it is on the office’s local network.
Once the VPN connection is established, the remote user could then use a Remote Desktop connection to control their specific office computer without any security issues. The main limitation of this method is that only one user could be logged into a workstation at a time. Windows 10 only allows for one active user session at a time, while the Windows Server operating system allows for multiple sessions at once.
What Other Options are There?
Third-party services are also available for remote access. Services such as LogMeIn, TeamViewer, and GoToMyPC allow for remote control over specific computers once the software has been installed on both the remote computer and the computer that is being accessed. The main way in which these services differ is the method of authentication and pricing.
NOTE: If you would like to use LogMeIN, Grundig IT has purchased licenses already and WILL PROVIDE THOSE TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, with a minimal 15-minute one-time setup charge.
These services all allow for remote control of a computer independent of any user accounts on the computer. What this means is that once the remote session is established, the remote user can perform any and all tasks on the computer as if they were sitting at the computer, all the while allowing someone actually at the computer to both observe and interrupt the session. It is because of this that these sort of systems are best for IT technicians doing remote work.
How Can I Figure Out What System I Should Use?
Deciding on a system to implement can be a complicated process with many things to consider. If you read through this article and still aren’t sure what system will work best for your business, Grundig IT will be happy to provide suggestions. Give us a call at (925) 528-9081, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.