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RDP Vs. VPN: Which is Better For Your Dallas Business?

It's undeniable that remote working can bring many benefits to your Dallas business, including increased productivity, boosted employee satisfaction and morale, and lower costs. But to enjoy these benefits, you need to ensure that your remote workforce can access everything they need securely. Currently, there are two options to enable remote work: VPN and RDP, both of which present several benefits and drawbacks that you should consider when choosing one for your remote workforce. Let's see how they compare, so you can make an educated decision about which solution makes sense for your organization.

RDP VPN Remote Work

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

RDP is a network protocol developed by Microsoft, allowing users to connect to another computer through a dedicated network channel remotely. RDP makes it possible for a computer's desktop to be run remotely on one system while being displayed on a separate device. Remote desktop users can access their desktop, open and edit files, and use applications as if they were actually sitting at their desktop computer.

To use RDP, the user originating the RDP connection request must use a computer running RDP client software. The computer that is being accessed must be running RDP server software, which allows the client to connect remotely.

Once connected, the user originating the request will see the desktop of the computer to which they are connecting through RDP. All processing occurs on the remote computer with RDP – only screen images, keystrokes, and mouse clicks are transmitted across an RDP connection. RDP clients are available for most versions of Windows as well as macOS, Linux, Unix, Android, and iOS, and an open-source version is also available.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Organizations and businesses of all sizes in Dallas use VPNs to securely connect their remote workforces and branch offices to the applications, data, tools, and resources they need to do their jobs. It gives employees a virtual network to access the corporate network via a public or private internet connection anywhere in the world.

A Virtual Private Network or VPN allows users to safely connect to another network over the internet by encrypting the connection from their device. It creates a secure virtual tunnel between your computer and a remote network via a VPN server. Your internet traffic is then routed through that encrypted tunnel, and nobody can see through the tunnel to view or steal your data. Most importantly, VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy and anonymity than a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.

Organizations have historically relied on two business VPN connection types to keep their employees outside of headquarters secure: remote access VPN for the remote workforce and site-to-site VPN for branch office employees. A remote-access VPN gives remote workers secure access to their company's network infrastructure and encrypts all remote employees' traffic. This minimizes data tampering or interception concerns when data travels outside the corporate network between the secure perimeter and remote workers. Remote access VPN connection could use IPsec, but it's also common to use an SSL VPN to set up a connection between a user's endpoint and a VPN gateway.

A site-to-site VPN is a permanent connection designed to function as an encrypted link between offices. With a site-to-site VPN, a company can securely connect its corporate network with its remote offices to communicate and share resources with them as a single network. This is typically set up as an IPsec network connection between networking equipment.

RDP or VPN or Both

There are several benefits of using RDP to provide remote access to your employees. The most significant advantage of RDP is that you have access to network resources, line-of-business software applications, and databases without the limitations and high bandwidth demands of VPN. It also keeps data stored securely on the user's desktop instead of storing it on cloud servers or the user's unsecured personal devices and enables the use of multiple displays, resource sharing, and the ability to temporarily disconnect from the remote desktop without logging out of your applications. RDP also allows companies with a legacy on-premises IT setup to enable their employees to work from home.

However, RDP may cause users to experience lag, especially if their local internet connection is slow, frustrating your remote employees and decreasing their productivity. RDP also has some serious security vulnerabilities that leave it open to cyberattacks. Most desktop computers are protected by a password, and the same password is often used for RDP remote logins as well. Companies don't typically manage these passwords to ensure their strength, leaving these remote connections open to brute force or credential-stuffing attacks. And since RDP connections almost always take place at port *3389, attackers can assume this is the port in use and target it to carry out on-path attacks, among others.

While VPN is more secure, allowing users to maintain their privacy and secure their data when connected to the internet, it has several drawbacks. Since VPN doesn't compress or optimize data, it requires significant bandwidth, affecting network speed and performance. This makes them unsuitable for databases and line-of-business software applications, most of which require high speeds.

To get maximum functionality and security, most Dallas companies use both RDP and VPN. When combined, these two applications can be extremely powerful tools for remote work because they complement each other. For example, remote employees for a medical agency providing telehealth services can utilize a VPN to share sensitive client data across a secure and efficient network while also using an RDP to access their office desktop, therefore working in a much more effective manner.

Make Remote Work More Efficient with Velocity IT

Setting up your business for success includes having the proper IT infrastructure to help your employees remain productive and successful. At Velocity IT, we provide comprehensive IT services to businesses in Dallas to keep employees working securely and effectively without any loss of company data. From collaboration and productivity tools, business communications, cloud services, and managed IT services to cybersecurity and IT support, we've got everything you need to ensure your business can work seamlessly in the office and on the go. Whether you're looking to implement a full, partial, or temporary remote working strategy, we'll work with you to find a solution that fits. We will help you set up a secure and structured IT infrastructure to make remote work as convenient and cost-effective as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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