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VPN vs RDP: What’s the Difference?

The global pandemic has allowed most organizations, big and small, to switch to working from home. This involved a lot of shifts in policies and initiated the search for better technical solutions to make remote working possible. After all, it was a real challenge for the workforce operating remotely to have secure access to corporate systems and a seamless internet connection for performing job responsibilities and communicating with teammates. This is when high-quality network providers like RCN internet stepped forward with the best internet plans and offers to facilitate the provision of high-speed internet at a more affordable price for remote workers. Cybersecurity also became one of the major concerns with the growing malware attack risks online but the good news is that there is much you can do about it. This is where the active role of VPN and RDP comes into play.

Though mostly considered the same, both offer more secure connectivity to the resources for remote working. However, VPN and RDP are very different in their advantages and disadvantages. You need to know their comparative benefits and limitations to be able to make a more informed choice. So, here we are with everything you need to know about VPN vs. RDP.

VPN or Virtual Private Network

A VPN makes use of advanced encryption along with tunneling techniques to provide a more secure connection passage. It is a security solution for ensuring remote network access for users. A VPN creates a private network and enables specific settings for better and secure accessibility of the devices connected to it. A VPN also makes it possible for applications to be accessible by logging in virtually. However, VPNs only offer access to devices that are present on the network.

We can say that VPN works like an invisibility cloak, allowing you to hide your identity and use another server at another location while you are online and browsing.

vpn virtual remote private network


Remote Desktop or RDP

An RDP, on the other hand, operates by creating a virtual connection between you and the remote computer. Well, as per the cloak example mentioned earlier for VPN, RDP does more than that. It does not only hide your identity rather it makes you become that distant server at another location. Thus, one of the added benefits of RDP over VPN is that you have greater control when it comes to the remote host machine.

Comparison between VPN and RDP

When we compare VPN and RDP in terms of security, VPN seems to be the winner. Also, VPN tends to provide better speeds as compared to RDP, which can get annoyingly slow at times. The reason is that, in the case of RDP, it is not just about sharing files rather it also involves sending mouse movements, app commands, and other types of information to your device and the host.

Moreover, RDP can also make the host machine more vulnerable. Unless certain restrictions are imposed, the user has complete power over the host machine. So, the host machine is not very much protected unless your RDP ensures top-quality encryption.

Why Go for a VPN?

A VPN allows your device to connect to the VPN server, and once you are aboard the VPN server, it only manages your online traffic. So, basically, a VPN does not provide any additional functions to the connected device as an RDP does. You are using your device the same way, just with a new IP address and greater security while being online.

Therefore, it will be safe to say that a VPN is more secure and offers more powerful encryption as compared to RDPs. If you are looking for greater privacy, then VPN could be a better choice.

What to Choose – VPN or RDP?

Well, the type of usage greatly determines what you might need – a VPN or RDP. If it’s for business, then it is better to use a VPN to deliver more secure and private internet access to the employees. You can make use of an RDP in case IT professionals want to access the laptops of the employees working from home. Or, you can use RDP if your employees are required to get access to a central system while working from home and are unable to visit the office physically amidst the global pandemic crisis.

On the other hand, if you are an individual user, you should stick to a desktop VPN to stream your favorite content online or browse carefree and increase your privacy.

The Bottom Line

As the aforementioned discussion suggests, both VPN and RDP are meant to mask your identity. However, they are capable of doing that on different levels and have different usages. RDP is more suitable for businesses, while a VPN might be the right choice for individual users. VPNs, in general, can provide greater security and privacy online and offer a better speed to users.

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