The term “remote access software” describes a software program or operating system feature that enables a personal computer's desktop environment to be run remotely on one PC or server while being displayed on a separate client device. Remote access software is commonly used by help desk personnel in assisting PC users when they’re stuck on a problem. Unfortunately, hackers also make use of this type of application to gain access to a user’s personal information.
Remote desktop applications have varying features; some enable attaching to an existing user's session (called a running desktop) and "remote controlling," either displaying the remote control session or blanking the screen—which is something hackers tend to do. Taking over a desktop remotely is a form of remote administration.
How does one select a remote access software solution for an enterprise? Naturally, it depends upon each use case. Ask these questions: How many people will be using it? Will you need individual or conference features? How far-flung are the employees in the world? Will you use it for contractors and other ecosystem people? Will you need video sharing? What type of security will be required?
Here are eWEEK’s Top Remote Access Vendors for 2019.
Value proposition for potential buyers: Ireland-based Kaseya is a new-generation developer of automation software for IT service providers and public and private sector IT organizations. The automation platform, called Kaseya VSA, allows IT professionals to proactively monitor, manage and maintain distributed IT infrastructures remotely and efficiently with one integrated Web-based platform. It’s all about centralized control. Kaseya's integrated platform is secure and designed to be easy to deploy and administer. The managed service platform is designed for IT administrators who need to increase productivity; managed service providers who want to pass those benefits to their customers and increase their own profit margins should also take a look.
- Easy Integration: Users claim Kaseya VSA is easy to integrate and implement because it saves time and increases staff productivity of businesses. This, in turn, decreases production errors and increases productivity, allowing users to focus their time on the needs of their clients.
- Patch Management: With K2, IT staff is able to automatically keep servers, workstations and remote computers updated with the latest security patches and software updates. The platform is able to make automatic and recurring patch scans, approve or deny patches, automate fast-patch deployments, interactively manage patches, flexibly configure patch management, and give comprehensive, scheduled reports.
- Live Connect: IT professionals can access servers and workstations with ease without affecting the productivity of other users. Kaseya works on a web-based management platform which allows a single machine to have full control over all end points. Live Connect has the tools to do anything and everything with an agent directly.
- Backup included: Kaseya provides Remote Backup Software and disaster recovery for servers, desktops, and workstations. Our remote backup software offers protection, security, and a peace of mind for businesses that want to ensure the recover-ability of their electronic data. Our backup provides real-time programmed disk remote backup, file level remote backup, disk imaging, monitoring, and bare metal restore.
- Server Access: With Kaseya's Remote Control Software IT professionals can quickly access servers, workstations and mobile computers. Kaseya G1 is able to work behind firewalls and NAT as well. The remote control software can increase productivity and responsiveness by allowing access to computers from anywhere with a standard web browser.
Who uses it: SMBs, midrange, large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud service (SaaS)
eWEEK score: 4.8/5.0
Read user reviews of Kaseya
Zoho Remote Access
Value proposition for potential buyers: Zoho is one of the more versatile IT software developers in the business. In addition to remote access management, the company offers a suite of more than 30 business, collaboration and productivity applications. In remote access management, Zoho Password Manager Pro helps users achieve secure, one-click access to all remote devices, including those in remote data centers, which require connecting to jump servers first and then hop to the target devices. Password Manager Pro centralizes the management of all those credentials and access controls, so users are spared the burden of authenticating themselves at each stage of a remote access. PMP handles all login and authentication steps automatically, giving admins one-click access to their remote resources.
- First-class remote access: Secure remote access is necessary for organizations looking to implement a thorough privileged access management strategy. With Password Manager Pro, users can launch highly secure, reliable and completely emulated RDP, SSH, Telnet, and SQL sessions from any HTML5-compatible browser with a single click, without the need for additional plug-in or agent software.
- One-click login without viewing passwords: Establish highly secure remote connections, without even viewing the passwords in plain-text.
- Jump server configuration: Configure landing servers and associate their login credentials with the resources being managed by Password Manager Pro.
- Remote password resets: Automatically reset and synchronize passwords of remote resources that are multiple hops away.
- Open APIs: Zoho uses an open application programming interface for its Remote Access Management, Writer, Sheet, Show, Creator, Meeting and Planner products. It also has plugins into Microsoft Word and Excel, an OpenOffice.org plugin, and a plugin for Firefox.
Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: options forsubscription cloud services (SaaS), physical on-prem services
eWEEK score: 4.8/5.0
Read user reviews of Zoho Remote Access
Value proposition for potential buyers: Remote desktop management used to be slow, tedious and tiresome. This is precisely why users tried to stay away from it as often as possible. AnyDesk took a step back and asked some fundamental questions: How should remote desktop work? What is feasible with modern computer hardware? AnyDesk was designed from the ground up to be different and user-friendly. At its core is DeskRT, a new video codec that is specifically designed for graphical user interfaces. This is what AnyDesk used to get ahead of the pack. AnyDesk claims to be the fastest remote desktop software on the market. The package allows for new usage scenarios and applications that have not been possible with current remote desktop software.
- Versatile usage: AnyDesk facilitates remote access to personal computers running the host application, which is very versatile; it can be installed on Windows, macOS, Linux and FreeBSD.
- Mobile apps, too: AnyDesk allows users to access said computers both from personal computers and from iOS and Android mobile devices.
- Security: AnyDesk uses TLS / AES to encrypt connections. When a direct connection can be established, the session is endpoint encrypted. Additionally, whitelisting of incoming connections is possible.
Value propositions for potential buyers: RemotePC, which is affiliated with Southern California-based iDrive, a storage and data protection hardware maker, has a versatile platform. Using RemotePC, users can access computers through the web from anywhere, meaning that only the computer being accessed needs to have the software installed. It can transfer files with the remote computer without establishing a connection. Users can record remote sessions on all platforms to save to a local computer for future reference. No software needs to be installed on a local computer--only the computers being accessed.
- Always-On Remote Access: Users can configure a computer for remote access in order to take complete control of the PC over the Internet anytime.
- One-Time Instant Access: Enables associates to access your computer one time by sharing a unique Access ID and Key.
- Access via Web: Connects to your remote computers from right within your browser, without any software installation.
- Platform Independent: Accesses your remote computer from a PC/Mac--even from iPhone/iPad or Android devices.
- Secure: Remote Access is secure with TLS v 1.2 / AES-256 encryption; Personal Key acts as a secondary password to access each machine.
- Scalable: Add remote computers to your plan, based on your needs; no additional hardware or software required.
- File Transfer: Effortlessly transfer files and folders, even from mapped drives, between your computers.
- Chat: Send and receive chat messages between your computers.
- Remote Printing: Print documents and images that are on your remote computers from wherever you are.
Göppingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Value proposition for potential buyers: TeamViewer is an internationally known desktop sharing and online collaboration cloud service based in Germany. It is recognized as the first remote support technology to allow screen sharing on iOS devices from any desktop or mobile device. All Android devices can also be similarly accessed, making it a good platform for supporting employees in a BYOD or large organization with all types of employee devices. TeamViewer GmbH, founded in 2005, remains dedicated to development of high-end solutions for online collaboration and communication. Success during the subsequent 15 years has led to more than 200 million installations in more than 200 countries all over the world.
- A lot of users: More than 20 million support sessions take place daily on the TeamViewer platform. With its 256Bit AES encryption and ISO27001 certified data centers, providing support to customers and employees, this has never been safer or easier.
- Global server network: The base technology developed by the company powers TeamViewer's state-of-the-art high-performance global server network that routes connections based on geolocalization technology.
- AR feature: TeamViewer’s augmented reality solution, TeamViewer Pilot, enables users to fix issues beyond the screen, no matter how far away they are. Users can see what a customer sees and provide visual guidance by drawing and highlighting real-world objects on the screen.
- Language-friendly: TeamViewer is currently available in more than 30 languages.
Who uses it: Midrange to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services (SaaS)
eWEEK score: 4.8/5.0
Read user reviews of TeamViewer
Value proposition for potential buyers: Publicly tradedLogMeIn, Inc. aims to simplify how people connect with each other and the world around them to “drive meaningful interactions, deepen relationships and create better outcomes for individuals and businesses.” It has a long list of spinoff products listed below. Founded in 2003, LogMeIn is headquartered in Boston with additional locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Note: GoToMyPC (below) is a brand now owned by LogMeIn.
LogMeIn is a prolific software product maker; in fact, it may have more spinoff products than any other remote access management platform. Current products include:
- LogMeIn Pro: This subscription-cloud-based remote access and administration software is the company's biggest seller.
- LogMeIn Central: This web app is focused on IT management for remotely managing PCs and servers running on Windows or Mac OS X operating systems.
- LogMeIn Rescue: Popular support web application is used by large contact centers and help desks for diagnosing and troubleshooting computers, smartphones and tablets.
- LogMeIn Backup: Easy to set up and use remote backup software can save a ton of trouble if a distant PC crashes.
- Jive: Hosted PBX telephone service that holds its own against larger companies like Avaya, Cisco Systems and others.
- join.me: Almost everybody has attended a meetup using this freemium meeting and online collaboration software.
- Bold360: This live chat and customer engagement service solution that is used by retail, financial services, manufacturing, software, and telecommunications organizations.
- LastPass: This is LogMeIn's a secure password and credentials storage solution.
Who uses it: Individuals,SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, individual downloads
eWEEK score: 4.8/5.0
Read user reviews of LogMeIn
GotoMyPC by LogMeIn
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Value proposition for potential buyers: GoToMyPC enables fast, easy and secure remote access to a Mac or PC from any web browser. The company claims it designed the technology for maximum speed, security and usability, ensuring that users can easily log in and connect to their host computers from any remote computer or mobile device.
- Secure Login and Authentication: When you log in to the HTTPS-protected GoToMyPC website or mobile app and select the host computer you’d like to access, the GoToMyPC broker signals that computer to start a session. (Remember that you’ve previously installed GoToMyPC on that computer and left it turned on.) The host computer then asks you to enter your access code, which the company never stores on its servers, but on the host computer itself.
- Encrypted Data Stream: After you enter the correct access code, the broker chooses one of our GoToMyPC communication servers to relay a connection between your devices, allowing every mouse and keyboard action you make to travel between them. This completely private data stream is encrypted end-to-end with 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
- Reliable and Scalable: With multiple data centers around the world, GoToMyPC is ready when you are. Redundant switches and routers, clustered servers, backup systems and strict security measures ensure your data and firewalls are protected around the clock.
- High Performance: GoToMyPC only transmits the host screen image, and only as it changes. It also highly compresses the data to minimize lag time, so users feel like they’re sitting in front of their host desktops.
Who uses it: Any size enterprise, individuals, line of business employees
How it works: subscription cloud services for groups, individual downloads
eWEEK score: 4.7/5.0
Read user reviews of GotMyPC
Microsoft Remote Desktop
Value proposition for potential buyers: Microsoft Remote Desktop application, which comes with the Windows 10 operating system, is a free extra download users can deploy to connect to a remote PC. It also can connect or cloud apps and other desktops (including Linux) made available by an enterprise admin.
- Free download: for Windows 10 users.
- What it can access: Remote PCs running Windows Professional or Enterprise and Windows Server; remote resources published by your IT admin
- UX: Rich multi-touch experience supporting Windows gestures
- Secure connection: To your data, applications, email, etc.
- Easy to use: Simple management of your connections from the connection center
- Streaming: High quality video and audio streaming
- Phone connection: Connect from your phone or using Continuum for Phone
Who uses it: Individuals,SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services (SaaS), individual downloads
eWEEK score: 4.6/5.0
Read user reviews of Microsoft Remote Desktop
Value proposition for potential buyers: Usoris Systems, which makes Remote Utilities, specializes in developing remote access software for system administrators and helpdesk companies. Its flagship product, Remote Utilities (RUT), is a fast remote control program for secure access to remote workstations and servers. The company was founded in 2009.
- Full control and view: Connect to a remote desktop from anywhere over a secure connection. View the remote screen, move the remote mouse pointer and send keystrokes.
- Active Directory Support: Easily integrate Remote Utilities into an Active Directory environment. Add new domain controllers, push-install the program across an AD network and connect in one click.
- Two Factor Authentication: Enable two-factor authentication for ultimate protection. Use Google Authenticator or a similar app to generate a security code for a session.
- MSI Configuration: Use the built-in MSI Configurator to create a custom Host installer for further deployment across your network.
BeyondTrust Remote Support
Value proposition for potential buyers: BeyondTrust Remote Support (formerly Bomgar) enables users to remotely access and fix nearly any device, running any platform, located anywhere in the world. With Remote Support, support professionals can work on multiple systems simultaneously, chat with multiple end-users at once and work with other reps in the same session to fix problems faster. Unlike old-school point-to-point remote access tools, and cloud-based solutions, Remote Support routes all activity through a completely secure appliance that sits behind a user's own firewall.
- Chat support: Enables live support from a website with Click-to-Chat using real-time escalation to screen sharing and remote control, without ever losing contact with the end user.
- Broad platform support: Supports and provides support from Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android devices. Also supports legacy devices using RDP, Telnet, SSH, and VNC.
- Granular permissions and roles: Granularly manages teams, users, roles and session permission settings to enforce a least privilege security posture.
- Collaboration: Resolves support incidents faster by collaborating with other technicians and defining escalations paths to skilled resources in a cost-effective manner, while improving customer satisfaction.
- Session recording and audit trail: Tracks team performance as well as log session activity to serve as an audit trail for sercurity, compliance, and training.
- Provides support from Chrome, Firefox, IE: The HTML5 Web Rep Console enables users to offer secure remote support from any browser--no downloads required--to immediately begin fixing issues from anywhere.
- Integrations: Connect seamlessly with ITSM tools, such as ServiceNow; third-party authentication solutions, such as Active Directory; and password managers, like BeyondTrust Password Safe.
- Customization and branding: Maintains corporate branding standards and creates trust by customizing support experience, including chat.
Who uses it: SMBs, midrange companies, large enterprises
How it works: Choose from a physical, virtual, or cloud deployment with a variety of licensing models
eWEEK Score: 4.8/5.0
Honorable mentions: AeroAdmin, Chrome Remote Desktop, UltraVNC, SeeScreen, LiteManager, Splashtop Business Access