Secure Remote Access VPN vs RDP?
Which option is better for working from home, a VPN network or an RDP connection?
There are two options for remote working. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Private Network (VPN).
What is a VPN Network?
A VPN is a private network across the internet to access your office server from your PC. It permits access to files, devices, and your internal office networks from outside. Users can usually carry out all the network functions they need with a VPN connection.
Using a VPN Network : Pros
- The main reason our clients choose a VPN is security. If your business handles a lot of sensitive data. Data like medical history, or GDPR protected information. A VPN network will secure that information by encrypting it as it flows between you and your office.
- They are a great solution for you or your employees working in a public space such as a coffee shop. Their device uses the same security while accessing data through a public network.
- Quick and easy sharing between users. You use the system you would do if you were in the office environment.
Using a VPN Network: Cons
- You may have problems using in-house software that needs to be setup on your computer. If your software stores its data on your server. A good example of this is Sage. Let’s say Sage is on your home laptop, but the data files are on your office server. the speed of a VPN is usually too slow for it to run as it should. Lots of other business software has a similar issue. Some software is not designed to work in this way.
- Regular users of VPNs know they can experience performance and reliability problems. Slow connection speeds and frequent disconnections. As a VPN runs over the public internet there is no guarantee of stability. Some service providers block or throttle VPN traffic. A VPN can be reliable and not throttled, you are still restricted by the internet speed at your home and office. Your VPN can only be as fast as your slowest link.
- It is not a blanket security system. Working from home you need to use the same common sense and security awareness you would in the office.
- Users could copy company data on to personal or home devices. At best this increases your risk of a data breach. At its worst it allows unscrupulous or unhappy employees to steal company information.
- You are connecting your business network to include the home network. Using a VPN network you are only as secure as the weakest point. If a computers on the home network had a virus this could put your whole business at risk from a viruses or hackers.
What is RDP?
RDP, is short for Remote Desktop Protocol. It’s used as a way of connecting from one computer to another. You can log into your office desktop from your home computer (with or without a VPN). I say with or without a VPN because these 2 technologies can work together. Today there are better ways to secure an RDP connection.
RDP Connection: Pros
- You’re free to work from anywhere using your usual office desktop software. No need to install anything like software packages on your personal devices. If your home network or laptop crashes, the data is all stored in the regular business system. Good solution for businesses, employees can work from home and access company systems. If set up with a Remote Desktop Gateway the connection is secure. It’s secured using the same protocols you use for your online banking. For this reason it is very unlikely to get throttled by your internet service provider.
- More reliable than a VPN. You are connecting to a computer inside your office building. You are no longer opening files or running software over the internet. The only data flowing over the internet is the mouse, keyboard, and screen data. This usually makes it faster than using a VPN.
- Your company data stays inside your office. It is sometimes possible to copy and paste data from the office computer to the home computer. You can stop this for security purposes.
RDP Connection: Cons
- A good internet connection from home is still required. If your home internet, or office internet is poor, you are likely to experience problems.
- Network bottlenecks are a real problem. Too many devices trying to connect at once during typical 9-5 office hours. Imagine your office sent 100 people to work from home. That will put tremendous strain on the office internet connection. Redundancy is key to smooth access.
- You need technical support specialist to setup a Remote Desktop Gateway Server. You need to ensure that the security is setup. Research suggests malicious users target inexperienced Remote Desktop Gateways.
- Cost. You need to buy a Microsoft licence to use a Remote Desktop Gateway.
Do you need help getting your workforce up and running from home? Contact First Stop IT. We will look at your current setup and work out the best solution for your needs.