With the meteoric rise of work from home (WFH) policies, many organizations are facing challenges in supporting their workers. IT teams need to maintain secure connections outside of the enterprise firewalls and be able to aid their employees regardless of their physical location. Therefore, remote access software has become more ubiquitous than ever before. Read on as we walk you through some of the best options available in this booming market today.
How to select remote access software
Remote access software can vary a lot in its features, scalability, and pricing models. While some open-source solutions help organizations support small teams, there are also full-featured commercial options designed for supporting a vast number of employees and contractors. Here are some of the most sought-after features you should pay attention to before shortlisting a solution.
OS support: Some systems may offer remote access exclusively for Windows® users but of course there are plenty of other options, such as Linux® and macOS®, as well as mobile devices on the iOS and Android® platforms.
Remote access: Evaluate the workflow efficiency for setting up a session and ease of navigating and interacting with remote monitors. Quick access to the command line and registry are must-have features for technical support teams.
Session transfer: As teams need to collaborate, the support software should allow easy and quick transfer of a session from one technician to another.
File sharing: It’s a critical feature as technicians often need to update software or apply a patch, where they need reliable, secure, and quick file sharing. Solutions supporting cut-and-paste or drag-and-drop file transfers make such operations easier.
Unattended remote access: It’s an essential feature if you need to maintain remote servers, virtual machines, etc.
You should also consider running a Proof of Concept (POC) to evaluate a solution in terms of security, scalability, connectivity, ease of integration, and implementation. To get started, you can choose a solution from our list of the seven best remote access software below.
N-able™ (formerly SolarWinds® MSP) Take Control, is a comprehensive remote support solution designed for MSPs, enterprises, IT professionals, and IT services providers.
It supports all common and advanced remote control and support features, including cross-platform support, attended and unattended sessions, live chat, session transferring, multi-factor security, reporting, and more. Customers can also customize the solution and brand it to integrate with their own offerings.
Take Control can establish sessions within eight seconds on average and supports sophisticated encryption and multi-factor authentication for data security. It’s popular among IT practitioners as it allows easy access to the system via bash shell. Technicians can use drag-and-drop to transfer files and use the system manager to view CPU usage or terminate processes. While Take Control is available as a standalone offering, it can also be used directly from the remote monitoring platforms RMM and N-central® (also from N-able) for one-click device connections and rapid file transfers making remote access even faster and more convenient. You can learn more about the plans and pricing or get a free trial here.
Remote Utilities® offers proven solutions for remote access and support that can easily integrate with enterprise Active Directory (AD) environments, making it suitable for managing unattended workstations and servers. The AD integration allows you to install the clients across your enterprise by applying the AD group policies. Finer controls, like the ability to move the mouse pointer, drag-and-drop file transfers, sound capturing, auto-reconnect, etc., streamline support and troubleshooting for IT teams. However, the solution is built with traditional enterprises in mind and might lack certain capabilities required for managing devices in complex, hybrid, and geographically distributed networks.
AnyDesk® is another advanced remote support solution that offers three standard plans to suit the requirements of small to large businesses. It offers both on-premises and cloud-based deployment options, with the cloud solution offering 99% uptime. On the other hand, its on-premises solution provides easy integration with other support tools as it offers a REST API. It is ideal for businesses in highly regulated industries, where they need to demonstrate strong security and compliance. AnyDesk has recently also launched a remote desktop solution to support organizations adopting the work from home model.
It is a cloud-based remote support solution with both attended and unattended support offerings offered under five standard and one free plan. The solution supports all common and some advanced features such as mobile and IoT device support, wake-on-LAN, remote power options, and diagnostic tools. However, you might have to choose higher-priced plans to make use of these features. Integrations with Zendesk®, ServiceNow®, Freshdesk®, and Jira®, along with Zoho Assist APIs, make its implementation easier.
It’s a remote desktop solution, which primarily focuses on bringing desktop applications to
mobile users. Hence, it’s most suitable for users working from home. It makes it easier for users to access desktop apps on mobile with optimized readability, magnifying options, and less struggle resizing the windows. While the solution offers both personal and business plans, it lacks features for remote support, which some businesses may expect in a tool like this.
TightVNC is an open-source software for Windows and Unix®. For iOS, Android, and macOS, you need to install their mobile VNC clients. It is an ideal solution for organizations and individuals looking for free remote-control software but might lack features required by large IT teams. TightVNC’s website provides adequate documentation to get started, but you might have to depend on community support to solve any technical or configuration challenges.
UltraVNC is another open-source remote access solution, which comes with four different options for individuals and organizations. Though built for Windows, UltraVNC’s Java Viewer allows it to connect with any system supporting Java via a web browser. While the software is free for commercial usage, teams need to install the client on every machine in their organization. Advanced features for collaboration, session transferring, live chat, recording, etc. are also missing.
We have listed some of the best remote access solutions on the market suitable for individuals and small teams up to large organizations and managed services providers. You can consider free trials and plans to evaluate these solutions and later opt for higher-priced plans for a full-scale implementation.
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Note: Product specifications and other information set forth herein have either been made accessible by suppliers, manufacturers, publications, or gathered from publicly available sources as of the date of this document. Although measures are taken to ensure the accuracy of the information as of the date of this content, N-able makes no representations or warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of the information and shall incur no liability for any errors or omissions.
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