Remote access allows you to access computers, workstations, servers, and other devices from anywhere. Even in the era of increased reliance on cloud-based technologies, there are times when you may need to access a machine directly. For example, you could be traveling and need access to a program on your work PC. Or you could be in a meeting and want to show a desktop app to clients using your mobile device.
Whatever reason you need it for remote access makes it easy to access devices from any location. This article lists some of the best remote access tools and explains how to set them up the easiest way.
Before we proceed: With most remote desktop apps, you need to set things up in advance because you pair devices using a passcode. Likewise, the devices need to be on and connected to the internet so you can access them.
Since devices must be connected to the internet all times, be sure to take appropriate steps to secure your internet connection against cybercriminals.
Apple and Microsoft Remote Access Apps
Both Apple and Microsoft have full remote access tools. But these options are geared towards network admins and professionals.
You’re better off using the more straightforward Screen Sharing option instead. It’s free and only takes a few minutes to set up in system preference.
With Screen Sharing, you can access your original Mac via your iCloud account on a macOS computer. You can also pair Windows and Mac computers with it, but the installation process is more complicated and needs third-party apps. So it is not an ideal option for most users.
Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection app is a little easier to use and free for both Windows and macOS. But you can only use it with Windows machines running either Windows Professional or Enterprise. If you don’t have one of these versions, then try out one of the free third-party apps below.
Google Chrome Remote Desktop
Google Chrome Remote Desktop is both free and easy to use. It’s compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac and allows you to gain access using your Google account.
It’s easy to set up too. All you need to do is open the web app on the computer you want to access. Then click Remote Access. Follow the instructions to set up and create an access PIN.
Next, launch the web app on the device you want to access another PC from, and you should see your computer as an available option. Click on it and enter the pin. You’ll have full access and interaction to your PC through an onscreen keyboard and mouse. To use it from mobile, you need to download the Chrome Remote Desktop app.
TeamViewer is another fantastic and free option (though it starts from $660 a year for enterprise use). Begin by downloading the app to the computer you want to access remotely. Follow the installation process to set up unattended access. It includes naming your computer and creating a password.
Then set up your TeamViewer account. This is where you link computers and configure settings. After that, install TeamViewer on the remote access devices. From here, your original computer should appear, and you’ll have full access.
The benefit to TeamViewer over Chrome Remote Desktop is you have a few extra features. TeamViewer offers file transfer from computers and settings for screen resolution and quality, to name a few. It works by streaming the activity of your original machine over the internet. So it’s a good idea to tone down these settings on slower connections.
What Else You Need To Know About Remote Access
Remote access gives you the freedom and flexibility to access devices from anywhere. But you always need to keep safety in mind. Creating remote connections creates the potential for hackers to target not one, but multiple devices.
Likewise, you have to leave any device you want access connected to the internet at all times. For these reasons, no matter what software you decide to use, you should also operate a virtual private network (VPN) to protect both devices.
And in case you only need to access your business platforms and not specific devices, a virtual private network is all you need. Network admins can set up the remote access only for devices connected to the network. So, after you turn on your business VPN, you can access everything as if you were in your corporate office.
Unlike other VPNs, NordVPN Teams is built explicitly around remote access for enterprise use. It has the robust military-grade encryption that businesses need to create secure and seamless connections to networks from anywhere. And it’s more than easy to set up and manage.