Remote access has become an essential aspect of our daily lives. Whether you’re working from home or traveling to a different part of the world, staying connected with your office network is crucial for business continuity. Regarding secure remote access, two popular technologies come into play – VPN (virtual private network) and RDP (remote desktop protocol).
The solutions differ in several ways. This can impact their suitability for specific use cases. There is a clear contrast between them: RDP provides remote access to a computer or device, whereas a VPN allows access to secure networks.
In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between VPN and RDP and help you choose the right technology for your needs.
A Remote Desktop Protocol, or RDP, is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft that provides a graphical interface for users to connect to another computer over a network connection. RDP is based on the T.120 family of protocols and uses port 3389 by default.
RDP allows users to access applications and data on remote computers as if they were local. This allows users to work from anywhere. RDP is also convenient for administrators, as it provides a way to remotely manage and troubleshoot servers and desktops.
However, because RDP is based on T.120, it is not as secure as some other remote access protocols, such as VPNs or SFTP. Additionally, RDP gateways add better security and avoid MiTM.
There are several key reasons to choose a VPN over RDP for secure remote access. First, VPNs encrypt all data passing between the remote user and the corporate network, ensuring that third parties cannot intercept sensitive information. Second, VPNs offer a higher level of security than RDP by authenticating users and authorizing access to specific resources. Finally, VPNs are typically much easier to set up and use than RDP, making them a more user-friendly option for most organizations.
In short, while RDP can provide secure remote access, it is often more difficult to configure and maintain than a VPN solution. For this reason, many businesses choose to use a VPN when providing secure remote access.
A VPN has several advantages. Here they are at a glance:
There are, however, some disadvantages to VPNs:
There is a disadvantage to using a VPN for RDP access instead of a dedicated RDP solution. Mainly, they might not provide the same level of security as a dedicated RDP solution.
Having said that, RDP is not as secure as a VPN because it can be monitored by your ISP and it requires you to have a specific IP address.
Likewise, there are also many benefits to using RDP over a VPN for secure remote access. Here they are:
But, while RDP provides some advantages for remote access, there are also several disadvantages to consider.
Below are some key points to keep in mind.
Overall, VPNs tend to be more dependable and offer better performance than RDP.
There are a few key factors to consider when deciding if you need a VPN or RDP for secure remote access.
First, think about the type of data you need to access and whether it is sensitive or not. If the data is sensitive, you will likely need a VPN to encrypt it during transit. If the data is not sensitive, then RDP may be sufficient.
However, in general, VPNs are better for business reasons. You might also want to consider the number of users who will need to access the data. If there are many users, then a VPN may be more scalable than RDP.
For these reasons, it is important to use a secure VPN connection when accessing sensitive data over an RDP connection. A VPN encrypts all data transmitted between the user’s computer and the VPN server, ensuring that no one else can intercept or read the data. Additionally, a VPN can provide authentication features to verify the identity of the remote server before connecting.
Let’s look at specific use cases to determine what might be best if you are a business or an individual user.
If you are a business, you may need to use a VPN or an RDP, depending on your specific needs for secure remote access. Here are the key differences between the two:
There are several reasons why Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is better than both VPN and RDP for secure remote access:
Perimeter 81 goes beyond the limitations of a legacy VPN and RDP to provide Zero Trust Network solutions that can offer complete peace of mind to business owners. With a global backbone of over 50+ data centers and an edge presence, enterprises from all sectors can depend on Perimeter 81 for cost-effective remote network security access.
VPNs may provide adequate security for on-prem resources, but only Zero Trust solutions offer the user-based access rules required for true cloud security.
Why CISOs choose Perimeter81 ZTNA for their IT teams:
Complete peace of mind: With Perimeter81 Zero Trust Network Access, organizations can be confident that access to their data, critical applications, and infrastructure is secure without the expensive orchestration, maintenance, or hardware of legacy solutions.
Lowered total cost of operation: Orchestrating a tall stack of solutions to achieve security requires extensive maintenance, management, and overhead that our unified SaaS eliminates.
Holistic security capabilities: When IT can access more functionality with fewer tools, security improves, and human error diminishes. Equip your IT team with everything in one cloud panel.