VPN vs. Remote Desktop – Which Is Best for Your Remote Setup?   Recently updated!

What Is a VPN?

In simplest terms, a virtual private network is an end-to-end encrypted tunnel connecting two networks over the internet. Many organizations rely on VPNs to allow remote workers to securely access the business’s full network, and enables them to communicate and access sensitive information under the protection of that business network. VPNs help stop bad actors from accessing company information via insecure networks; public networks at airports, coffee shops and hotels, for example, are common gateways for hackers.

While the concept is simple, the underworking of VPNs is considerably complex. This is why organizations have been trending towards managed VPN to avoid the many headaches and security gaps that come alongside mismanaged services.

Like any technology, VPNs have a few downsides. For example, encryption overhead means your VPN will consume more bandwidth and run slower than your normal connection. Thankfully though, proper management can make the speed degradation nearly imperceptible.

What Is a Remote Desktop?

From some angles, a remote desktop may look similar to a VPN. But in practice, the two solutions serve unique needs. With a remote desktop, teleworkers can remotely access their in-office desktop environment. This enables them to use an at-home or other remote device to access everything on their work desktop, including the applications, data and operating system.

Remote desktops give IT managers and CIOs the ability to simultaneously configure/manage hundreds or thousands of workstations, and many companies use remote desktops to carry out routine tech support duties without being on-premises. They are also beneficial for employees working with applications licensed by device or other specific environments or programs that are difficult to replicate.

Unlike VPNs, remote desktops do not give users access to the company’s central network by default. Companies using remote desktops can add authentication parameters at the network level, so that only users connected to the company network can access the desktop. To ensure remote desktop security, many companies pair their remote desktop with a VPN and/or remote desktop gateway.

Choosing the Right Solution

If you’re unsure which solution – or combination of solutions – is best for your business situation, we can help guide you through the decision process. At Extreme Integration, we work closely with IT decision-makers to help them develop the right solutions to provide off-site workers with a secure and reliable connection to your enterprise resources.

Many businesses are turning to Cisco AnyConnect as a solution. More than a VPN, AnyConnect allows organizations to create BYOD programs that ensure employees and networks are protected from bad actors. AnyConnect is a highly secure, unified and frictionless tool for remote connectivity.

With more and more employees wanting to connect from any device, at any time, AnyConnect is one of the few solutions with the features and capabilities required to meet the challenge. From iOS and Android to Windows and Linux, AnyConnect’s Mobility Client offers a simple, consistent user experience for your remote employees.

For network administrators, AnyConnect offers a comprehensive feature set, unlocking a deeper level of visibility, analytics and optimization. In particular, the capabilities of Cisco Endpoint Security Analytics and Identity Services Engine coalesce to form an early warning system identifying threats at the point of entry. Additional features such as Umbrella expand functionality by enforcing strict policies to protect against malware, phishing, and command-and-control callbacks.

Cisco AnyConnect is a powerful cross-platform solution engineered for a changing workforce. If you have a remote workforce that needs protection, contact us today to learn more.

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