Whether you need to telecommute or troubleshoot someone else's computer, remote PC access software lets you work on another computer from across the room or across the globe.
Zoho Assist Review
Anyplace Control Review
Is Remote PC Access Safe?
One of the troubling things about remote PC access is the idea that if you can access your work computer from home, someone else may be able to as well. That's why we closely investigated the security available with each of these platforms. We considered the strength and ease of setup for the security features of each platform.
All of the software allows you to customize the security settings for your remote session. These features typically include blanking the screen of the host machine while you are accessing it, locking the keyboard and mouse, and disconnecting if the session is inactive for too long. You can adjust these features and create or change credentials to access either the program's dashboard or the remote computer.
Secure transmissions are necessary when working with remote computers, especially when you are using them to access sensitive or proprietary information. The industry standard is 128-bit encryption, but more financial and government institutions are moving toward 256 bits. Both encryption methods offer more than enough security. The 128-bit encryption protects you from outside attacks and maintains your performance. While the 256-bit encryption offers more security, likely more than you will ever need, the longer encryption affects performance. Your motivation to use remote access software should help determine the level of security you need.
Passwords are a given for any remote PC access software, so we checked for IP filtering so that you can block access from specific computers even if the person has the password. This feature is particularly helpful in protecting businesses from former employees gaining access after their employment ends. Locking screens and keyboards so those near the remote PC cannot see what is going on allows you to work in privacy even when your computer is in an open office. An automatic time-out feature protects your computer from someone accessing it should you or an employee forget to log out from a session. We took all these features into account, along with the ease of setting them up and changing them.
What Can Remote PC Access Software Do for Me?
There are many reasons you might decide you need remote PC access software. Whether you're telecommuting and need to access your work computer from home or your business has an IT department that needs the ability to remotely control computers to fix problems, remote access is a key component of any business.
A remote desktop connection makes it easier than ever to reach an office computer from another computer or mobile device. Whether you or your employees need to work from home on a regular basis or you are out to dinner and remember an important email that must be sent before morning, you can access your work computer from anywhere on your personal devices.
This software is ideal for IT work. You can access computers remotely as if you were sitting right in front of it to access any programs that need updating or to troubleshoot connection problems. Many of the programs we reviewed are complete enough to suit a business IT department while maintaining usability at home. Some of the programs even allow for web conferencing, so you can use them for demos, classes or working on group projects when everyone is scattered across the country.
Whatever your reason is, remote PC access can simplify your life and help you become more productive and connected.
What Else Is Important in Selecting Remote PC Access Software?
While the functionality, security and usability of each program greatly determines the usefulness, we also took into account the customer support options each company offers with its software.
Each company offers a thorough knowledgebase you can use to address any problems that arise, though the quality of the help may differ for each service. While you can reach any of these products' technical support via email or help ticket, the best remote services provide free telephone and chat support. In addition to the knowledgebase, user manuals, help files and FAQs are helpful, particularly when the live tech support is only available during business hours or is located in another country.
It's not always possible or convenient to take your computer wherever you go, but there are times when having quick contact with another computer can mean the difference between a successful day and a disaster. In a longer-term view, accessing computers remotely means employees can work from home, which can save your company time and energy while increasing performance and job satisfaction. Remote PC access software lets you access your computers anytime, anywhere.
What We Tested, What We Found
Several factors help determine which remote PC access software will work best for you, whether you are using it to telecommute or to fix a group of company computers all at once. We evaluated the security and sharing features, functionality, and usability of each program to determine which is the best remote PC software.
All of the software gives you access to applications and shared files, so we looked for more advanced functions, such as the ability to work with a remote computer that has multiple monitors. The ability to look at multiple screens on your single screen can be useful when you're troubleshooting the computer. Many of the programs also allow you to access multiple remote desktops at once, which is called grouping, so you can set up demos or install updates to several computers without going to each individually. This feature is particularly helpful for IT when it is implementing changes to computers or updating software.
While most of the software allows you to group computers one way or another, we found that some programs make it much easier to use this feature than others. For example, Splashtop Business and TeamViewer's clean dashboards house grouping tools where you can assign computers or users to specific groups and later perform large-scale updates or the same action on the computers.
With cross-platform support, PCs, Macs and handheld devices can interact, so it doesn't matter if you or your employee has one type at work and another at home. We tested how easy it was to connect from one device to another, including from PC to PC, PC to Mac, PC to an iOS device, PC to Android and vice versa. We also considered how well the software performed while we were working remotely.
Sharing tools are the two-way communications between the remote PC and the local device. These include chats, web conferencing or the ability to keep notes on a shared clipboard for later reference. While all the software features file synchronizing, the ability to drag and drop files between computers is an added convenience, especially if it works across all platforms.
Sometimes, you only need to access a remote computer once, such as when helping a new hire learn a new program. In those cases, a non-invasive guest invite that's simple to download is a plus. As with the remote features, we looked at the interface to see how intuitive these tools are and whether they required instruction.
We took into account the features available during a remote session. We looked for chat between the remote and host computer, a shared clipboard, drag-and-drop or file transfer tools, and other sharing features. We found that, while most of the software allows you to drag and drop files from one PC to another, this feature is typically not available across all platforms. TeamViewer offered the most sharing capabilities across all of its desktop and mobile platforms, making it the best PC remote software to use if you will be working with files between the host and client computer.
Verdict and Recommendations
Remote desktop software can improve the efficiency of your business and provide your IT department with a solid option for maintaining a large network of computers. These solutions are also helpful for remote employees who need access to the company network.
When evaluating this software, we looked at the overall efficiency of each program, including ease of installation, performance and security. Remote PC access software shouldn't be difficult to install and use, since typical users aren't IT professionals, but just employees who need to access their computer for work. We recommend platforms with clean interfaces that make the transition between computers seamless and make it easy to switch back and forth. Making the connection between computers should take a few simple mouse clicks.
Performance is key to what makes remote PC access software favorable. You don't want software that lags, demonstrating noticeable delay between your input and the remote PC display. Sometimes performance is indicative of the quality of your internet connection, but the software also needs to be dependable and able to make strong connections while being secure.
Security is paramount to remote access software, since you're making an ongoing connection between computers over the internet. You don't want your connection to be compromised by attackers who can take advantage of an unsecure connection and gain access to your network. It's important for the software to include encryption tools, using either a 128-bit key or 256-bit key, the latter being most secure. Even if someone intercepted your connection, they wouldn't be able to use it.
List of 12Best Remote PC Access Software
Remote PC is an access solution that allows you to control your computer through the internet with just about any device. It is compatible with Apple and Android devices as well as both PCs and Macs.
Zoho Assist is a great remote PC access solution for companies that offer their customers hands-on technical support for their products. It's also optimal for businesses that do remote, computer maintenance.
Read our review of Anyplace Control to see how it compares to the best remote PC access software.
ShowMyPC is an affordable remote PC option. Read our review to see how it compares to other remote PC access software.
Whether you want to share desktops or access a computer remotely, NoMachine has numerous sharing options. Learn more in our review.
Radmin is a fast-connecting remote PC solution. Read our review to see how it compares to other remote PC access software.
RealVNC’s remote PC access software works on a variety of platforms, making it one of the most versatile programs we reviewed. To learn more, read our review.
Splashtop Business has numerous security features in place to protect your safety. To see how it compares to other PC remote software.
TeamViewer is one of the easiest remote PC access software to use. Read our review to see how it measures up against the competition.
GoToMyPC offers high performance and security. See how this easy-to-use remote PC access software compares to others in our review.
ScreenConnect's easy-to-use remote PC access software works for personal users, telecommuters and IT technicians. Learn more about its features in our review.