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Updated Oct 23, 2023

Remote Desktop: Connecting to Your PC From Anywhere

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Chad Brooks, Business Strategy Insider Managing Editor

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As the world continues to rapidly adapt and change, employees across the globe are finding new ways to get their work done without going into the office. Particularly since the pandemic started, work-from-home and hybrid work policies are increasingly common for companies to offer. This new flexibility is great for employees; however, many companies have had to figure out how to ensure employees have remote access to their office workstations. 

With the help of remote desktop software, employees and IT specialists are able to remotely access computers so they can work from any location, while still being as productive as they are in the office. By using remote desktop software, employees are able to access their office computer from home, while IT personnel can use the software to fix other computers from their location. In essence, the software makes it as if the user is sitting right in front of the computer they are accessing, when in fact they may be at home, in a coffee shop or in another office hundreds of miles away.

What is remote desktop software? 

In business, remote desktop software allows a user to connect to, access and control a computer from a remote workstation as if the computer was right in front of them. A remote desktop station creates a one-to-one connection between two workstations, which can include mobile devices. By installing the software on both the computer you are trying to access (the host) and the device you are currently using (the client), you can create a connection between the two devices to access the host as if it’s local. 

Types of remote desktop software

There are two main types of remote desktop applications. One is designed for IT specialists as a way to solve their clients’ computer problems without having to actually sit down in front of their computer. Rather than personally inspecting the computer, they can log on to it from their own office and fix any pressing problems. This saves time and allows IT specialists to handle many more issues than they would if it were necessary to visit each computer personally.

Among the things remote desktop IT service providers can do with the software are download files, reboot computers and chat via the connection about problems that arise. Remote desktop software also gives IT professionals the opportunity to record sessions to help train other employees on how best to solve issues.

Employees who want to access their personal computer from work or their work computer from home generally use the second type of remote desktop software: remote PC access. Remote PC software gives employees the opportunity to log on to a work or home computer from any other computer or mobile device. Once logged in with the remote software, users are able to use every file and program on the PC they are accessing. This eliminates stress for employees who may have left a file at the office or are working on a project at home and forgot to bring a file to work the next day. In those situations, they can remotely access their computer to retrieve the needed files.

When do you need remote desktop software? 

Remote desktop software continues to grow in importance for businesses, especially as so many companies shift to remote or hybrid work policies. According to Techopedia, remote desktop software is particularly important for network administrators, such as IT support, as they need to remotely access employees’ computers to fix software issues and provide aid when necessary. They use remote desktop software to help resolve technical issues employees may be experiencing, install new applications or programs that are being implemented by the company, and remove viruses remotely, which can keep company information safe and secure. 

Did You Know?Did you know

In a report by Owl Labs, 74% of workers said the option to work remotely would make them less likely to leave a company.

What to look for in remote desktop software

When choosing remote desktop software, there are a number of features and options users should be looking for. In addition to being able to access a computer’s files and software, any remote desktop application should have the ability to transfer files and retrieve system information.

Employees or IT experts using remote desktop software should also look for an option that is easy to use and download. Complicated setup processes or login procedures will become frustrating and make the remote desktop software more of a chore than a tool for getting work done easily.

Because sensitive or confidential information is often being accessed via remote desktop software, security features are critical. Any remote desktop option should use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Transport Layer Security (TLS) and the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to provide secure transmissions over the internet.

What to look for in remote PC software

When choosing remote PC software, users should make sure it offers several important features, including the ability to access a remote computer from more than one device, turn the remote computer on and off, stream music, and turn on a webcam.

The software should also include file sync, the ability to drag and drop files between the computer and the device accessing it, and the capacity to conduct private chat conversations between the two.

Like remote desktop software, remote PC software should have top-notch security. Secure services support password protection, encrypt data transfers and can block IP addresses from remote access. The software should also have an automatic timeout so that no one can access the remote PC later if the user forgets to log out.


Many companies offer free trials, so you can test out their software and make sure the service and features are a good fit for your business’s needs. 

Remote desktop and remote PC software options

Our team looked at various remote desktop and remote PC software to find the best options available for different teams’ needs.

  • For smaller teams, our RemotePC review recommended this software for its easy setup and usability without the need for an IT department, as well as its affordable price tag, starting at $3.95.
  • Larger teams should take a look at our Zoho Assist review, which ranked this as the best all-in-one option for remote PC software. The cloud-based software offers enhanced security features to keep your company’s information safe. 
  • For other top-rated options, see our GoToAssist review, which recommended this option for its easy-to-use interface and navigation tools; our Splashtop review, which pointed out that two users can share access to the same computer; and our Goverlan Reach review, which discussed how the software can interact with a variety of operating systems.

Sean Peek contributed to the writing and research in this article.

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Chad Brooks, Business Strategy Insider Managing Editor
Chad Brooks is the author of How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business. He has spent more than 10 years guiding prospective entrepreneurs and business owners on the ins and outs of launching a startup, scaling a company and maintaining profitable growth. Within the world of entrepreneurship, he is particularly passionate about small business communications tools, such as unified communications systems, video conferencing solutions and conference call services. Brooks, who holds a degree in journalism from Indiana University, has lent his business expertise to a number of esteemed publications, including Huffington Post, CNBC, Fox Business and Laptop Mag. He regularly consults with B2B companies to stay on top of the latest business trends and direct growing enterprises toward the modern-day business technology required in today's digitally advanced world.
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