What is a RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) Solution?

Easily integrate a Remote Desktop Protocol solution across your organization’s cloud-hybrid network, with the Perimeter 81 RDP.

Remote Desktop Protocol Definition

The popular Remote Desktop Protocol – or RDP – comes natively with Microsoft Windows and allows users to connect to a Windows PC from afar, and to see the “desktop” of this remote PC on their local machine or device. Even from across the globe, users connecting to a remote desktop through RDP can use the mouse and keyboard in their hands to access resources hosted elsewhere, making remote work easy.

RDP users require more than the RDP client that comes with their operating system, there also needs to be RDP on the server (the hosting machine – it could be a PC) that they connect to and manipulate. The client can be on a mobile device and is not limited to a PC, and nor is it limited by operating system, with RDP for Mac, RDP for Linux, and even Android and iOS. At this point RDP is so popular that it’s become a general term and is therefore also offered by a variety of third-party vendors.

Though clients are available for all operating systems, one must remember that the machine hosting the remote desktop itself must always be a Windows PC. There is also RDS, or Remote Desktop Services, which allows multiple users to connect to the same PC at once, and Remote Desktop Gateway, which is a client installed on Windows Server only and allows users to access enterprise networks remotely and securely, much like a Business VPN.

How Does Remote Desktop Protocol Work?

Getting set up with RDP is simple because it doesn’t require much configuration or even any extra downloads, if you’re using Windows on both the client and server side. From the server (the computer that you wish to connect to remotely) you’ll need to enable Remote Desktop simply by searching for it in My Computer and clicking the slider. It’s also important to enable incoming and outgoing traffic on port 3389 via your firewall. Connecting to this PC from another Windows machine is easy with the Remote Desktop Connection client. Just type in its IP address and the password to get in.

RDP is an evolution of the T-120 protocol standard and is a multi-channel protocol that makes it easy for many users to connect to the same remote machine, moving traffic such as presentation data, communications on serial device, licensing information, peripheral input data (like keyboard and mouse) and more from remote PC to hosting PC. It works very similar to the 7-layer OSI model over a standard local area network.

Data is first passed down through the protocol and sectioned before being directed to a channel via Multipoint Communication Service (MCS). It’s encrypted and packaged onto the network layer and sent to the client. Data packets sent in the opposite direction are unwrapped and decrypted for normal use in the application. Although there is encryption (128 bit) as part of RDP, due to common attacks targeting port 3389 connections over the internet should be avoided unless there is also a VPN – and ideally other security solutions – as backup.

Benefits of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

  • Easy Remote Access:
    Remote Desktop Protocol is the most accessible solution for enabling remote workers to connect to local systems. This is because with it, a user can access very resource-intensive applications and business tools via a thin client device like a mobile phone or basic laptop. From any location, work is easy to get done for any role – a useful concept for offices that have moved off-premises.
  • No Burden on IT:
    IT teams running a deficit on time and manpower can appreciate RDP for its ease of management and security. Because the applications and settings are stored on the cloud, it’s simple to onboard and configure a new user, and even simpler to add computing resources to a business application without having to upgrade everyone’s machines individually.
  • Business Continuity: Though RDP comes in handy when remote work is an option and not a mandate, it can also save the bottom line should disaster strike unexpectedly. Resources held in the cloud (not on local hardware) and available using nearly any device means that work can still get done even if the office is underwater, or if something else occurs to disrupt business as usual.
  • Boost Worker Productivity: Employees who are comfortable and feel like they’re in control of their environment are happier, and therefore more productive. The knowledge that their job is possible from wherever they prefer to be also comes with trust that motivates employees to be efficient, and actually get work done. This is healthy for the business as a whole, and promotes ownership and accountability.
  • Cut IT Costs: RDP is a remote access solution that doesn’t require any extra hardware to set up or run effectively – just the PC or server hosting the client and the device connecting to it. This and the lesser degree of configuration and maintenance required cuts both time and money from the IT budget, much like any other component of a standard cloud migration.
  • Secure Your Data and Traffic: A primary benefit of RDP is that companies can better defend against hackers and bad actors trying to get a hold of the data shooting between users and devices on the network. The cloud is less susceptible to data theft and RDP supports basic encryption and other security measures, but it’s recommended to complement it with additional tools regardless.

Why Do Companies Need Remote Desktop Protocol?

IT teams for organizations realized long ago that there are few advantages to keeping infrastructure on-premises, and this coincides with a new trend that has seen companies move employees from the office as well. Dealing with an office desktop system and the hardware that’s often involved is a time-consuming process that also requires physical proximity, and it contrasts with the idea that most other components of the organization are already cloud-based.

Why use an antiquated remote desktop solution when IT is no longer close by to maintain it, or when the resources that it’s designed to access are on the cloud? RDP is more relevant to the new remote work strategy and the migration of resources to the cloud, as it helps employees access important applications and systems no matter where they are, or if the device they’re using is powerful enough to run these applications themselves.

Without RDP, IT would need to physically maintain the storage and remote desktop hardware required for employees to connect using their devices. Alternatively, they’d need to ensure that each individual employee PC was powerful enough to use the applications required. When everyone including IT must stay home, RDP is a perfect solution for both supporting and accessing remote resources, so no members of the organization need to go out of their way to get their jobs done.

Remote Desktop Protocol FAQs

What is RDP?
RDP meaning is Remote Desktop Protocol, a type of program that allows someone to connect remotely via their personal device to a virtual PC desktop hosted elsewhere.
How Does RDP Work?
RDP works when the host machine (a Windows PC or server) has its version of the RDP client and the connecting device (a tablet or PC of any operating system) has its version of the RDP client. The two are connected via T-120 protocol with only the knowledge of the hosting PC’s IP and password.
Why is RDP important?
RDP is important because it comes with Windows by default, so people should know how to use it in order to access a desktop at their office, for example. It’s also a vital remote access tool that supports remote work, or the employee’s ability to use resource-heavy applications from afar, and from a device that isn’t necessarily capable of running these applications natively.
Is RDP Safe?
RDP is safe for basic tasks given that it encrypts data, but there are known vulnerabilities with RDP and the port 3389 that it uses to send and receive traffic. For this reason, it’s highly recommended to use a multi-layered security approach in addition to default RDP security protections: VPN, 2FA, Wi-Fi security and more.
Is RDP Hard to Setup?
RDP is very easy to set up and use. All that’s required is the client on the hosting machine and the client also installed on the connecting device. One can simply type the IP address and password of the host machine into the connecting PC’s client to gain remote access.
Is RDP Hard to Disable?
RDP is extremely simple to disable. It can be turned off by going to the hosting PC’s settings (Remote Desktop Connection) and toggling RDP to “Off” rather than “On”.
What is the default RDP Port?
The Default RDP Port to which the server listens is 3389 (TCP) and 3389 (UDP). As it is widely known, it is recommended to change the RDP Port to avoid brute force attacks.
What is an RDP Manager?
RDP Manager, RDPMan, or Remote Desktop Connection Manager is a tool used by companies who wish to more easily manage their multiple remote desktops. With RDPMan it’s possible to visualize and consolidate RDP connections in a single window – a useful idea for IT.
What’s the difference between Remote Desktop Protocol 7.1 and 8.0?
The 8.0 version of RDP is newer and comes with some extra features such as Adaptive Graphics for better rendering, the ability to autonomously select either TCP or UDP as the transport protocol, USB redirection, DirectX support and other upgrades.
Is RDP a VPN? (RDP vs VPN performance/VPN security)
RDP vs VPN performance, or RDP vs VPN security, are ideas that are irrelevant because these products complement one another and should be used in tandem. VPNs do encrypt traffic like RDP but are used to gain access to entire networks and not single machines/desktops.
Which Operating Systems are Supported by RDP?
RPD can be used from any operating system, desktop or mobile: Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and even Linux. Other third-party vendors offer RDP clients that fit into these operating systems as well.
What is the Difference Between RDP and RDC?
RDP is Remote Desktop Protocol, which is a broad term used to describe the idea that the program has a purpose to support remote desktops, while RDC is the actual name of the client that is installed on the host machine (PC or server), allowing devices to connect to it.
How Can I Tell If Remote Desktop is Running?
By going to settings or My Computer, and typing in ‘Remote Desktop’, you’ll see a menu that will show if RDP is toggled on or off.
What’s the difference between RDP and Remote Access?
Remote access is the overarching notion that one is able to access resources stored or hosted on a faraway machine (the cloud), remotely using their preferred device. RDP is the name of one of the many software programs that makes remote access possible.

Get Secure Remote Access with RDP

Perimeter 81’s cloud-friendly RDP solution is a crucial part of our broader Network as a Service product: A unified networking and security powerhouse enabling IT to quickly set up, segment, and secure any modern network for remote employees.

Multi-layered Security

Access remote desktops with built-in VPN encryption from IPSec, SSL, and WireGuard. Add DNS filtering, multi-factor authentication, and automatic Wi-Fi security on top for a network with countless layers of defense to make your attack surface nearly nonexistent.

Suited to Remote

Employees who choose to work from home are able to securely and quickly access the local and cloud applications they need. They can also browse the web safely from any device, share data, and talk with their team while expecting on-premises levels of security. 

Custom Access

The RDP solution is part of our cloud-native platform, which integrates seamlessly into the entire network. With the power of Software Defined Perimeter, allow employees to access only the network resources required for their individual roles, reducing the impact of their security habits.

Benefits of RDP via Our NaaS Platform

  1. Better visibility over remote traffic on the network
  2. Integration with the cloud and local resources remote employees need
  3. Secure, comprehensive, and low-latency remote network access
  4. Network setup and user onboarding within just 15 minutes
  5. Scale and secure RDP as your company grows, with little effort

Looking for a Remote Desktop Protocol Solution?

Capabilities of NaaS with RDP

One Unified Panel
A single cloud-based platform to connect and secure all local and cloud resources on your network. Includes access management, monitoring, security and more.

Fast Global Access
Design your network for global users and put resources close to them. Our data backbone is made up of 50+ data centers providing fast access close to workers.

Complement RDP Security
Enable 2FA, single sign-on, and automatic Wi-Fi protection across mobile devices using iOS and Android, PC and Mac desktops and the web when connected.

Zero Trust for Users
Reduce the attack surface and make your network a miniscule target, by implementing least-privilege access policies based on role, devices, location and other qualifiers.

What NaaS and RDP Offer Your Business

Security on All Devices: BYOD policies multiply the number and variety of devices connecting to your network. Ensure only authorized devices connect to your virtual desktops with NaaS endpoint security.

Cloud Agnostic Integration: The ease with which our solution integrates into your virtual office, whether local or cloud-based, enables organizations to protect all their resources in unified fashion.

Superior Quality Assurance: Connecting to the network through a diverse global server array helps the QA and marketing teams determine how best to target different markets, and how successful current efforts are.

Safe Remote Access: Automatic Wi-Fi security lets remote workers connect to sensitive resources from the public internet without fear of exposure, while encrypted tunnels shield data sharing from prying eyes.

Precise User Segmentation: Beyond the functions of traditional security tools, granular policy-based permissioning helps organizations exercise more control over those entering their virtual infrastructure.

IP Whitelisting: Explicitly define the IP addresses that are allowed to access the network, granting IT teams a stronger grip on security and also the ability to assign static IPs to automatically trusted sources of traffic.

The Perimeter 81 NaaS / RDP Solution Includes:

  • One-click network deployment
  • User-friendly virtual desktop for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
  • Manage cloud resources in a unified platform
  • 24/7 knowledgeable customer support
  • Unlimited bandwidth and data availability
  • Automatic Wi-Fi security
  • DNS Filtering
  • Multiple global private and public Cloud VPN gateways

Looking for a Remote Desktop Protocol Solution?

Simplify remote access for your employees today.