What Is Remote Access and How Does It Work?

Remote access eliminates the need for users to be present in the office to access a network or file or for IT technicians to add new systems to the company network. It allows employees to work from anywhere and enables IT staff to monitor and manage endpoints remotely.

This blog explains how remote access works, the different ways to carry it out, the benefits, importance and more.

What is remote access?

In its most basic form, remote access is the ability to connect to a computer or network in one location from another place. This can be done in several ways, including via the internet, through a virtual private network (VPN) or by using specialized software, such as a remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool that allows one computer to control another.

IT technicians or employees no longer need to be present on-site to provide or receive IT support. A technician can remotely connect and support a device using remote access tools and technologies. In our post-pandemic world, where hybrid work is taking center stage, remote access makes it easy for employees to work from home or anywhere in the world. You can be out of town and still be able to manage your business without a hitch.

What is an example of remote access?

An example of remote access is when you use a computer, smartphone or tablet to connect to another computer or network from a different location.

There are several everyday scenarios in which remote access comes into play. For example, if you need to access files on your work computer from home, you will use remote access to do so. Similarly, if technicians need to troubleshoot an issue on an employee’s computer, who is working remotely, they would also use remote access.

In both these cases and many others, remote access provides a convenient way to get the information, software or help to do your job without being physically present in the office.

What is the difference between remote access and remote control?

Remote access allows you to access files and applications on another person’s computer without taking control of it. This is useful for people who need to work remotely, such as remote workers or people who travel frequently.

Remote control, on the other hand, allows you to take control of another person’s computer from your own computer. This is often used by IT support professionals to troubleshoot problems on someone else’s computer.

How does remote access work?

As already stated, remote access is the ability to access a computer or network remotely. There are many different ways to do this, but they all involve using some kind of protocols, tools, software and connections.

The most common way to get remote access is by using a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs are commonly used in businesses so that employees can access company resources from their homes or while on the road.

Another common way to provide remote access is via remote desktop protocol (RDP), a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft that works with Mac operating systems as well. IT professionals use RDP to share data between connected computers or troubleshoot problems on other computers. Furthermore, RDP encrypts the data before transmitting it, making it a secure way to share information over public networks.

You can also use SSH (Secure Shell) to securely connect to another computer and transfer files back and forth.

Many tools and services also enable users to access files remotely on other computers. These include solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.

What are the different types of remote access methods?

There are broadly three types of remote access methods: direct, indirect and VPN.

Direct remote access is the most common and simplest type of remote access. It involves using a computer or other device to connect directly to another computer or device over the internet.

Indirect remote access usually requires some intermediary server, such as a web-based email service, to relay messages between two computers or devices.

VPNs create a secure, private connection between two computers or devices over the internet.

The following are some common methods of remote access:

  • Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP): PPP is a TCP/IP protocol used to connect two computer systems over a telephone network or the internet. It is a data link layer communication protocol that connects two routers directly without using a host or any other networking protocol. It can authenticate loop connections, encrypt transmissions and compress data.
  • Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE): PPPoE is a combination of PPP and the Ethernet link-layer protocol that connects users to a network of hosts via a bridge or access concentrator. It encapsulates and transports IP packets over an Ethernet link using PPP.
  • Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP): SLIP is a simple protocol that communicates over serial ports and routers using TCP/IP, enabling communication between machines that were previously configured to communicate directly with one another.
  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP): PPTP is a networking protocol used to connect to VPNs. People who want to connect to a network in a different location than they are in use this protocol.
  • Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP): Also known as virtual lines, L2TP connections enable corporate networks to manage IP addresses assigned to remote users. As a result, remote users can access corporate networks at a low cost. L2TP has two tunnel modes. The voluntary tunnel terminates at the remote client, whereas the mandatory tunnel terminates at the internet service provider (ISP).
  • Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP): RDP is used to access a desktop computer remotely. Remote desktop users can operate their work system remotely (e.g., to edit or create files) and run applications just like they would if they were in front of their computer.
  • Remote Access Services (RAS): RAS acts as a gateway or a server to let users connect to a company’s internal local area network (LAN) remotely.
  • Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS): RADIUS provides centralized authentication, authorization and accounting AAA management services for remote access users in a distributed dial-up network.
  • Terminal Access Controller Access Control System (TACACS): TACACS is an authentication protocol that allows remote communication with UNIX server.
  • Internet Protocol Security (IPsec): IPsec creates encrypted connections between devices and ensures the security of data transmitted over public networks.

What is the most common form of remote access?

A VPN is the most common way to securely connect to a private network over the internet. VPN allows you to access resources on the private network as if you were physically connected to it. Businesses commonly use VPNs to allow employees to access corporate resources remotely. Individuals also use them to securely connect to public Wi-Fi networks and protect their privacy while online.

Using an endpoint management tool, you can create scripts to set up VPNs that provide secure access to your office environment for remote workers. Not only that, but it also makes VPN access easy for end users. Once VPN clients are installed on all of your remote endpoints, you can monitor those clients in your endpoint management tool to ensure they are up and running. If the client goes down, you can also auto-remediate the issue by restarting the VPN client via policy-guided scripts.

Why is remote access important?

In an increasingly mobile and connected world, remote access is more important than ever. It allows employees to work from anywhere, at any time, using any device. It also provides a way for businesses to connect with customers and partners in real time, regardless of location.

There are many benefits of remote access, but the following are the most noteworthy:

  • Increased productivity: Employees can work from anywhere, anytime, using any device. This flexibility can lead to higher productivity since employees can better manage their time and work around personal commitments.
  • Improved collaboration: Remote access allows team members to collaborate in real time, regardless of location. It helps enhance communication and teamwork.
  • Lower costs: Businesses can reduce office space and equipment costs when employees can work remotely. Additionally, businesses can reduce travel costs by conducting meetings and conferences online. In addition, remote access supports bring your own device (BYOD) practice, so employers don’t need to invest heavily in buying computers for new employees.
  • Enhanced security: When properly implemented, remote access improves security since it allows for better early detection and remediation of potential cybersecurity breaches. Additionally, data can be stored remotely off-site, reducing disaster-related data loss risks.

What are some benefits of remote access?

With remote access, you can keep your business running smoothly no matter the economic environment. It also keeps you up and running when a natural disaster like a hurricane or a pandemic strikes and threatens business continuity.

Most MSPs understand how hard it is to keep up with their clients’ ever-changing requirements. With seamless remote access, MSPs can check in on their clients’ endpoints from anywhere at any time. Additionally, remotely providing services to clients reduces costs and ensures continuity of service, improving client satisfaction. Clients are more likely to recommend MSPs with a faster response time than their peers.

For internal IT teams, uninterrupted IT service enhances employee satisfaction, contributing to higher productivity and lower employee turnover. Additionally, remote access helps companies reduce operational costs associated with the on-site management of employees and helps IT teams decrease ticket response times, thus minimizing downtime. Employees can easily share knowledge to complete projects and access cutting-edge technologies for improved productivity.

A common concern among MSPs and internal IT teams is ensuring security when employees and clients work remotely. The ability to monitor and patch vulnerabilities remotely allows technicians to ensure the security of networks and devices, basically the IT infrastructure in general.

What is remote access software?

Remote access software lets you access your device remotely without physically being able to see it. When you remote into a device, you can see the screen, access the files and use the software on the machine just like you would if you were there in person.

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) software is a must-have tool for any enterprise with a fleet of managed devices. These solutions let companies keep tabs on their own and their clients’ network, check uptime and performance and generally stay on top of things constantly.

An RMM tool is also helpful for managing remote access to your network from the outside through an extended VPN or Remote Access Management system. These tools can help you filter which users have remote access privileges and track device usage so that you know who has access to which data and when.

Users can gain remote access to your company’s network through several different channels — an on-premises VPN, an internet-based VPN (also called a cloud VPN), a SaaS app, etc. Whatever kind of external remote access you set up requires management and tracking to ensure optimal security and performance levels.

Utilize remote access with Kaseya VSA

VSA is the only tool you need to manage your endpoints remotely. Through LiveConnect, you can monitor, control and troubleshoot your endpoints from anywhere, at any time, without disturbing the user. You can remote control any device, including PC, Mac, Linux, switches, servers, network devices, printers and more. You can also execute automated agent procedures directly through remote control.

It is impossible to discuss all the benefits of VSA’s remote access functionality in this article. Experience is the best way to understand it. Schedule a demo of VSA today and discover how easy it is to control your dispersed workforce and IT environment.

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