In the 21st century the lines defining the workplace are becoming increasingly blurred. As employees we often need access to specific documents or applications on our office computers when we’re on the road; and as employers we expect our staff to be able to complete projects and get at critical resources no matter where they are and what device they’re using. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) has been allowing users to remotely control one PC from another for years now, but the mobile-based solutions are still relatively new. Here we talk you through how you can use your mobiles and tablets for remote access.
Accessing your Work Computer with Remote RDP Clients
As mobile developers have cottoned on to the fact that remote access, and generally accessing data from anywhere, will be the key to doing business in the future, we have seen a wealth of apps come out. Apps are undoubtedly convenient but the latest browser-based remote RDP clients, such as those from Ericom, forego any need to install anything on your device and work across multiple operating systems and devices.
While apps will suit your average home user, the flexibility of browser-based clients is the best option for business: there’s no need for updates to employee devices as all that’s required is a compatible HTML5 mobile web-browser, like Chrome or Safari, and no installation means reduced security risks. Essentially, once you’ve chosen a software provider, you pay any fees, and use your login details to access their server through the browser. You’ll have to install software on the computer you wish to access remotely but after that it’s straightforward.
Accessing your Work Computer with Apps
If you feel more comfortable using an app and you’re a home user who just wants to monitor activity on a PC from your iPad or use your smartphone to start a program on a computer that’s a few flights of stairs away, then that’s simple too. There are a whole host of apps available: PocketCloud is easy to set up, uses Gmail accounts to log in, and has great cursor control;
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LogMeIn benefits from good server-side compression and scales the image of the remote computer screen to fit the size of your device; TeamViewer is a decent option but has confusing touch controls and doesn’t have a file browser option. As a business user, you’ll want to go for an app that offers intuitive touch screen controls and can open specific applications as well as browse files so there’s no need for users to bring up the desktop every time.
Obviously there are still significant performance limitations which mainly stem from the capabilities of the mobile devices. Many of the components in most smartphones can’t handle the graphical complexities of certain games, say. And streaming video and audio is not often available on free versions or suffers from lags due to connection speed. Don’t expect to get an experience close to using the target computer just yet unless you’re willing to pay for the best service. In the not too distant future though fast, easy remote computing will hopefully be the norm.