Contemporary companies need to provide access to their employees from anywhere: from home, on vacation, from a customer’s office or on the road. Employees need access that’s easy, fast, reliable and available from anywhere. On the other hand, management wants it to be secure, controlled, scalable and cost effective.
If you’re just starting your research into possible solutions, you have probably come across what seems to be the most cost effective solution: Microsoft Remote Desktop access (RDP). While it’s true that a basic RDP setup is essentially free (or extremely inexpensive), chances are it won’t cover all your bases.
Shortcomings of RDP
The first issue you’ll encounter with RDP is the difficult deployment process. Assuming you’ll be providing remote access for more than a handful of individuals, it can take hours to install the various RDS server roles, applications and components. There are a lot of parameters to configure, which will require an expert in virtualization concepts. Deployment may well be beyond the capabilities of your current IT department. Moreover, you’ll need to install and configure an additional component in order to publish applications (once again, a lengthy procedure).
Security is one of the biggest concerns of companies moving over to remote access. Sure, you can use a standard RD Gateway or VPN for security, but either option amounts to yet another component that must be installed and configured. Moreover, even the simpler, “browser-based” SSL VPN option it is not ultimately hassle-free, as it often requires the addition of a plugin or add-on like Java to do the job. Aside from the inherent risk of enabling the notoriously insecure browser plugin, this solution tends to be a burden on the IT department in the long-term. Help desks are inundated with requests for assistance with performing Java updates or complaints from employees whose browser or OS is blocking Java altogether.
Speaking of the user’s OS—while there are RDP clients available nowadays for pretty much any device your users choose to work from, each device platform and OS comes with its own quirks and limitations. And not every employee is technical enough—or patient enough—to install, configure and maintain the necessary components that enable them to connect to their applications and desktops from their device. Thus, it can be extremely time-consuming for IT and help desk staff to address the variability in client devices inherent in today’s “BYOD” work environments.
Microsoft’s RDP solution is also missing important management and reporting features such as resource usage monitoring, as well as fine grained user permissions for functionality such as clipboard functions (cut and paste), file downloads and remote printing. And features like high availability and TS load balancing typically require extra add-ons to reach a satisfactory level of performance. This makes a Microsoft-only solution extremely difficult to manage – or to scale up as needed.
Due to these and other shortcomings, it’s no longer so clear that Microsoft RDP alone is truly cost effective for your business. In fact, it may be downright impractical. There are a number of alternative remote access solutions on the market, but it can be hard to know how to choose the right one for your business.
Crucial Features for Remote Access
Before you decide on a specific solution, take a good look at what each system offers. These are the crucial features for remote access in a business setting:
Ericom Connect is just such an end-to-end solution, providing secure remote access that is fast, seamless, easy to use and extremely scalable. It provides an excellent user experience and all of the management and monitoring features you’re likely to need in one convenient package, at a price point that more organizations can afford. Click here for more information on how Ericom Connect can propel your business forward.