Remote Desktop Software

The Top 10 Remote Desktop Software For IT Teams

Discover the ten best remote desktop software, also known as remote access software. Explore features such as remote access, communication tools, and secure file transfer.

The Top 10 Remote Desktop Software include:
  • 1. AnyDesk Enterprise
  • 2. BeyondTrust Remote Support
  • 3. ConnectWise Control
  • 4. GoTo Pro
  • 5. Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Services
  • 6. RemotePC by IDrive
  • 7. Splashtop SOS
  • 8. TeamViewer
  • 9. RealVNC VNC Connect For Instant Support
  • 10. Zoho Assist

Remote desktop software, also known as remote access software, enables one computer to view or control another computer from any location. It can be used for transferring files between two machines without having to use a third-party communication or file-sharing app, for collaborating on group projects in real-time, and for demoing services to potential customers. But one of the most common use cases for remote desktop software is for IT teams or help desks to remotely troubleshoot problems on their users’ or customers’ machines without having to pay them a visit or talk them through the issue over the phone. This saves time and resources, while enabling businesses to offer comprehensive IT support to their remote users. 

When an IT admin starts a remote desktop session, their machine—the “client” system—sends a signal via the internet to the machine they want to access—the “host” system—asking for permission to connect to that machine. The host system then authenticates the client system by asking the admin to log in using their credentials. Once logged in, the admin can view the screen of the host system and control it as if they were there in person. 

To enable this, remote desktop solutions offer remote access between the client and host systems; this can range from having view-only access to taking full control over the host machine. They should also offer a text-chat or voice-chat for communicating. Most solutions offer file transfer via a file management interface, but some also offer drag-and-drop file sharing, a shared whiteboard, or a shared clipboard that enables admins to copy text, images, or files from one machine, and paste them onto the other. 

In this article, we’ll explore the top remote desktop software. We’ll look at features such as remote access, communication tools, and secure file transfer. We’ll give you some background information on the provider and the key features of each solution, as well as the type of customer that they are most suitable for.

AnyDesk logo

AnyDesk is a remote access company headquartered in Berlin, Germany. Their eponymous AnyDesk remote desktop software provides secure remote access to any other device running the AnyDesk host application. AnyDesk offers cloud and on-prem deployment options, and is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, FreeBSD and Raspberry Pi operating systems, with cross-platform compatibility so technicians can troubleshoot any host device, from any client. The solution offers a business version—AnyDesk Enterprise—designed specifically to enable IT teams to manage and deliver support to employees, partners, and customers with ease.

AnyDesk’s lightweight software offers a comprehensive feature set, including real-time screen sharing and recording, remote printing, chat, and unlimited file transfer. AnyDesk secures all remote connections with TLS 1.2 protocol and AES 256-bit encryption—this ensures that nobody but the IT admin and end user can view any data exchanged between the client and host machines. The platform requires admins to verify their identities using two-factor authentication before granting them access to host machines. This prevents threat actors from using the software illegitimately to remotely access users’ computers and steal data. AnyDesk also offers high frame rates and low latency, ensuring that connections are not only secure, but also efficient, even in areas with poor internet connectivity.

In addition to the platform’s standard remote desktop features, the Enterprise version of AnyDesk includes training to help you get the most out of the platform. The company offers comprehensive deployment support, including installation, client set up and management, and writing scripts. Users praise AnyDesk for its compatibility with a wide range of devices and being easy-to-use for admins and end users. We recommend AnyDesk Enterprise as a strong solution for SMBs looking for user-friendly remote desktop service, as well as mid-market enterprises with a diverse device fleet.

BeyondTrust logo

Headquarted in Georgia, US, BeyondTrust is a market leader in access management solutions. BeyondTrust Remote Support (formerly Bomgar Remote Support) is a remote desktop solution designed to enable service desks, IT admins and vendors to provide fast, secure support to their users and customers. The platform offers physical, virtual and cloud deployments, and is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android devices. It also offers support for legacy operating systems via RDP, Telnet, SSH and VNC.

Via the Web Rep Console, admins can use any browser to troubleshoot issues via live chat, screen sharing, and full remote control. Remote sessions can be initiated via email invitation, access link or session key. The entire support interface is customizable, allowing organizations to offer support from their universal brand. All support sessions are recorded and logged, providing a full audit trail that can be used for compliance, accountability, and training new IT staff. As well as the remote access itself, BeyondTrust Remote Support offers in-built security features. For example, privileged admin credentials are rotated in the Remote Support Vault, and granular role- and session-based permission settings prevent unauthorized third parties gaining remote access by enforcing the principle of least privilege across all admin accounts.

Users praise BeyondTrust Remote Support for its user-friendly web interface and real-time support features, including file upload/download and screen sharing. We recommend BeyondTrust Remote Support as a strong remote desktop tool for mid-market and large enterprises looking to offer remote support to their users. In particular, organizations that must prove compliance with strict industry or federal data protection regulations, thanks to its granular policy configurations and robust audit functionality.

ConnectWise logo

ConnectWise is a leading provider of software for technology solution providers (TSPs), headquartered in Florida, US. ConnectWise Control, formerly ScreenConnect, is ConnectWise’s remote access solution, which is available via two packages: Access is aimed at remote workers and smaller IT teams that need to connect to remote endpoints; Support is aimed at larger IT teams needing to provide a full help desk service. ConnectWise Control deploys as-a-Service, and is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and ChromeOS operating systems and most browsers.

ConnectWise Control offers all the standard features you’d expect from a remote desktop solution, plus the ability for technicians to live stream remote sessions to troubleshoot issues in real-time via the user’s device camera. However, the platform’s key strength is the level of security it provides: all remote access sessions are secured with AES 256-bit encryption and admins must verify their identities using two-factor authentication before a session can begin. The platform also offers role-based access policies that define which technicians have remote access and to which networks, functions, and features. Session activity logging—including hosts and guests, timestamps, and video recordings of all remote sessions—can also be limited to specific technician accounts. As well as its robust security features, ConnectWise Control offers high levels of customization across the entire platform, from white-labelling the customer support interaction, to configuring the host page, host client, and guest client.

ConnectWise Control offers seamless integrations with ConnectWise’s other products, as well as out-of-the-box integrations with other third-party security and IT operations tools via the ConnectWise Marketplace. Users praise the solution for its ease of setup, navigable interface, and reliability. We recommend ConnectWise Control as a strong solution for SMBs and mid-market enterprises looking to provide remote support, without compromising on security.

GoTo Logo

Headquartered in Massachusetts, US, GoTo (formerly LogMeIn) is a global provider of SaaS and cloud-based tools designed to support remote work and collaboration. Pro is their remote access solution for SMBs, which enables IT teams or support desks to access the computers of 10 end users at once. GoTo Pro offers remote support for Windows and macOS devices, and admins can offer support from their browser, Windows or macOS desktops, and iOS and Android mobile devices.

GoTo Pro offers real-time remote control of host systems with desktop sharing, multi-monitor display, clipboard sync, remote printing, and a whiteboard tool. The platform offers in-depth reporting on all remote access sessions—including session recordings for auditing and accountability purposes. GoTo Pro secures all remote access sessions using an authenticated SSL/TLS connection. Users sign in with their email and password, and can also set up two-factor authentication (2FA) via one-time passcode. Admins must be authenticated before connecting, either via password or 2FA powered by RSA SecurID. The platform also offers account lockout (which locks accounts after several incorrect login attempts), inactivity timeout, and 256-bit encryption for all remote sessions.

Users praise GoTo Pro for the ease with which clients and hosts can establish connections, and the speed and reliability of those connections. It’s important to note, however, that, while the platform allows for mobile devices to be used as the client machine, admins can only remotely access desktops at the time of writing. As such, we recommend GoTo Pro to small- to mid-sized businesses looking for an intuitive, user-friendly remote desktop tool to help troubleshoot issues across end user desktops.

Microsoft logo

Remote Desktop Services (RDS), formerly known as Terminal Services, is the remote desktop solution for Windows devices offered by Washington-based tech giant, Microsoft. RDS is a set of features within Microsoft’s Windows Server that enables users to remotely access desktops, applications, and virtual machines. While RDS only enables users to access devices running Windows, they can do so from Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android client devices that support Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). The solution can be deployed on-prem via Windows Server 2016 and in the Microsoft Azure cloud.

There are two main client components that use RDS within Windows. The first, Windows Remote Assistance, allows IT admins/technicians to have cooperative control over a host system once they’ve been invited to access that system by its user. The second component is Remote Desktop Connection—the application to support remote desktop use cases—which grants admins/technicians full access to a host system with all the rights and permissions assigned to its regular user. During a remote session, technicians can interact with the host system as if they were accessing it locally, including printing, audio, and multi-monitor viewing. RDS supports in-app and web single sign-on and offers native multi-factor authentication via smartcards to help prevent unauthorized remote access. All remote sessions can be secured with RC4 128-bit encryption, but those running on Windows Server 2003 onwards can use FIPS 140-compliant encryption methods, including AES 256-bit.

Users praise RDS for its speed, scalability, and ease of use when establishing remote connections—both for technicians and end users. We recommend Windows RDS to organizations of any size looking for a lightweight, cost-effective way to offer remote IT support to Windows devices within their organization.

RemotePC logo

RemotePC is a remote desktop solution owned by California-based technology provider, IDrive. The platform enables remote access for IT support, schools, and teleworking employees, and is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android host systems. Any device can be used to offer remote support thanks to the platform’s web version. RemotePC is available via five packages, from “Consumer” for personal use, to “HelpDesk” for businesses and MSPs looking to provide comprehensive IT support services.

Technicians can use the desktop client or web version to access host machines remotely. They must authenticate with their account password and a session code shared with them by the user of the host device before each remote session, helping prevent access from unauthorized third parties. All connections are secured via TLS 1.2 and AES 256-bit encryption. Once connected, RemotePC enables technicians to access and manage files on the host system, transfer data between machines with file drag-and-drop, and remotely print. The platform offers multi-monitor viewing, live chat, and a whiteboard for ease of communication. Finally, for added security and auditing/compliance purposes, all remote session activity is logged with optional video recording, and all machines can be backed up to a secure cloud location for ease of data recovery.

Users praise RemotePC for its reliable performance and simple yet intuitive interface. Some note that the web version works less effectively than the desktop version, meaning that it’s trickier to offer remote support on-the-go via a mobile device. Overall, we recommend IDrive’s RemotePC to small to midsized businesses that need to offer comprehensive remote support services to a fleet of desktops. Its robust communication functions also make this a particularly strong option for IT teams in schools.

Splashtop Logo

Based in California, US, Splashtop is a provider of remote desktop and remote support software. Splashtop SOS is their remote desktop solution designed for IT teams and help desks. SOS is compatible with Windows, macOS, virtual machines, and iOS and Android devices, including unattended, anytime access for Windows, macOS and Linux. It’s available via three packages: SOS offers support for unlimited devices on demand; SOS+10 adds anytime unattended access to 10 machines per license; SOS Unlimited adds access to an unlimited number of machines.

Splashtop SOS is hosted in AWS, making it quick to deploy but also enabling users to benefit from a computing environment secured with firewalls, DDoS mitigation and built-in intrusion prevention. The platform protects all remote desktop sessions with TLS 1.2 and AES 256-bit encryption, as well as offering session access codes for on-demand support, screen auto-lock and session idle timeouts, and remote connection notifications. All connections, file transfers and management events are logged for auditing and security purposes, with the ability for all remote sessions to be recorded and saved locally. In terms of remote desktop tools, SOS offers remote viewing and control, drag-and-drop file transfer, live chat, Windows desktop sharing, and remote reboot. Finally, the SOS app is fully customizable in terms of layout, enabling businesses to offer their users a familiar interface for IT support.

Splashtop SOS is a comprehensive, easy to manage remote desktop solution for SMBs, praised by users for its ease of use for both technicians and end users, fast connections, and support for mobile devices. Larger organizations interested in Splashtop may wish to consider Splashtop Enterprise, which also includes single sign-on, end user access, and remote management.

TeamViewer Logo

Based in Germany, TeamViewer is market-leading platform that comprises tools for remote access, control, monitoring, management, and troubleshooting. In this listing, we’ll focus on their eponymous, flagship product for remote access and support. TeamViewer is compatible with most desktop and mobile operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, as well as IoT devices and kiosks. It offers a user-friendly desktop/mobile client, and businesses holding Remote Access, Premium, Corporate, or Tensor licenses can also connect via their browser.

With TeamViewer, technicians can provide ad-hoc remote support to users, with integrated service case management to help keep on top of tickets. The platform offers full remote control, secure file sharing, remote printing for Windows and macOS, screen sharing for mobile devices and mobile-to-mobile connection support, and live chat. Technicians can also view system diagnostics remotely in the TeamViewer desktop app for efficient troubleshooting. TeamViewer secures all remote sessions with AES 256-bit encryption and requires technicians to verify their identities before sessions via built-in two-factor authentication. The platform is SOC2, HIPAA, ISO 27001 and ISO 9001:2015 certified and GDPR compliant, making it a popular choice amongst businesses in heavily regulated industries.

Users praise TeamViewer for its ease of configuration and ongoing management, user-friendly interface, and particularly the robust support offered for mobile devices. TeamViewer has a strong community for troubleshooting, and their support team is very responsive, making this a good solution even for small businesses with less technically experienced IT teams. Due to the wide feature set, device compatibility and compliance certifications, we also recommend TeamViewer as a strong option for larger enterprises.

RealVNC logo

RealVNC is a remote desktop and remote access specialist based in Cambridge, England, that offers solutions to enable effective remote IT support, as well as allowing businesses to monitor and secure remote user access to corporate desktop applications. VNC Connect is RealVNC’s flagship remote access solution. The platform is available via two packages: Device Access is for IT teams and remote workers that need to access devices or shared resources remotely; Instant Support is for IT teams and help desks that need to provide real-time, effective support. Throughout this listing, we’ll focus on Instant Support, which is compatible with Windows and MacOS.

VNC Connect is comprised of a host and a client component: VNC Viewer must be installed on client systems; VNC Server must be installed on host systems. VNC Viewer is available for desktops and mobile devices, so technicians can offer support on-the-go. Instant Support offers complete remote control, live chat, two-way file transfer, remote printing, text copy and paste, and keyboard mapping. VNC Connect secures all remote sessions with system login credentials and end-to-end AES 128-bit encryption by default. Enterprise customers can enable AES 256-bit encryption and set up multi-factor authentication via integrations with Duo, RSA SecurID, Yubico Yubikey, and FreeRADIUS. Other configurable security features include session permissions, authentication attempt threshold, screen blanking for Windows, and comprehensive audit trails.

Users praise VNC Connect for its ease of deployment and set-up, the support for multiple authentication methods, and the option to connect from iOS and Android devices. We recommend VNC Connect as a strong solution for SMBs looking to offer an effective remote helpdesk to their desktop device fleet, with customizable security they can step-up as needed.

Zoho Logo

Zoho Corporation is a global technology provider based in Chennai, India, which offers a wide range of IT management and business productivity applications. Zoho Assist is their cloud-based remote access software, which delivers unattended remote access for IT teams and MSPs looking to offer secure, effective remote support to their users and customers. The platform is compatible with Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Raspberry Pi and ChromeOS devices, with unattended access available for Windows and MacOS. Zoho Assist is delivered via five flexible plans, with support ranging from one technician up to unlimited technicians.

With Zoho Assist, technicians can start remote sessions from any device via their browser or the mobile app. The platform offers multi-monitor support, file transfer, one-click reboot and reconnect, live chat, voice and video chat, a shared clipboard, and high levels of aesthetic customization so businesses can deliver a universal, familiarly branded support experience. Technicians can also share their own screen during a live session for demonstrations. All remote sessions are connected via a TLS 1.2 protocol and secured with AES 256-bit encryption, and file transfer is secured with SSL 256-bit encryption. The platform logs all activities carried out in remote sessions for auditing and security purposes, as well as supporting two-factor authentication via SMS- and time-based one-time passcodes, inactive session timeout, and data anonymization.

Users praise Zoho Assist for the strength of its unattended access functionality and its compatibility with a wide range of host devices. The platform is easy to use, requiring little technical knowledge to set up and manage, yet doesn’t compromise on security features. As such, we recommend Zoho Assist to SMBs looking for a secure, user-friendly remote desktop solution.

The Top 10 Remote Desktop Software For IT Teams