What is Remote Access?

Remote access is the ability to access a system or network, whether it’s a personal device or office server, without being physically present. This allows employees to work off-site, such as at home or in another location, while still maintaining secure access to a distant computer or network.

Remote Access Types

PBBA features typically include:

  • Remote Desktop: This type of remote access allows users on one computer to see and interact with the actual desktop and user interface of a seperate, remote device. In order to setup remote desktop support, software has to be installed on both the host (the computer that controls the connection) and the target (the computer that is being accessed). Once this connection has been properly configured, the remote desktop software opens a window allowing the host system to control the target desktop.
  • Remote Access to Files: Basic remote network access allows files to be read from and written to the target, even without remote desktop capability in place.

Remote Access Technology

Originally, remote access solutions used dial-up technologies to allow employees to connect to an office network via telephone networks connecting to remote access servers.

Virtual private networking (VPN) technology has replaced this physical connection between the remote client and the server by allowing users to create a secure tunnel over a public network such as the Internet.

Virtual private network technology provides remote login and file access functionality across wide area networks. A VPN requires client software be present on host systems and it also requires VPN server software to be installed on the target network. As an alternative to VPNs, client/server software based on the secure shell protocol (SSH) can be also be used for remote file access. SSH provides a command line interface to the target system.

A remote access server is the system and related software that manages and controls user access to remote networks. Otherwise known as a communication server, a remote access server relies on a firewall server for protected access to the server, and a router that can forward the request for remote access to another part of the network.

Why Remote Access is Important

Remote connectivity introduces flexibility. Whether a small business seeks to enable volunteers to work from home, or a large organization needs to link software engineers working from off site locations, remote access can help off site workers feel connected to the ecosystem of a business.