RDP vs VPN: What Are the Differences?

Did you know that approximately six out of ten American workers think they conduct most of their work from home after the COVID-19 outbreak began?

While working remotely, the number one concern of our minds is security. This is especially pertinent as working remotely gives hackers more opportunities to access our data and company files.

That said, there can be safety and security issues when working remotely with remote desktop protocol (RDP) connections or with the more common VPN connections. But what are the differences between RDP vs VPN technology? With so many similarities, it’s hard to tell which you should use.

In this article, we’re outlining the key differences between the two technologies. Read on so you can decide which is best for your needs.

What Is an RDP?

The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft, which provides a user with a graphical interface to another computer. The technical support staff used it to remotely control a customer’s computer.

RDP uses TCP port 3389 and UDP port 3389. It is based on the T-120 protocol.

RDP provides a user with the experience of sitting in front of another computer. It allows users to access files, applications, and printers as if they were on the local computer.

Advantages of an RDP

Businesses and organizations use RDP to allow remote access to a computer, usually to provide support or access files. Here are some advantages of RDP tips to learn more:

RDP Is Typically Faster

An RDP is faster than a VPN connection because it uses fewer resources. An RDP connection uses less CPU and RAM than a VPN connection, which frees up your computer’s resources for other tasks.

Also, an RDP connection can be faster because it can avoid the overhead of encryption and compression that a VPN connection use.

More Reliable Connection

RDP connection does not need the use of a third-party server, which can often be the case with a VPN connection. This means there is less chance for a connection to be disrupted because of server issues.

Does Not Require Additional Software

An RDP does not need any extra software to be installed to function. All you need is an active internet connection and an RDP client. This makes it convenient for users who want to access their PC from a remote location.

Disadvantages of an RDP

One of the disadvantages of an RDP, it is less secure than a VPN because it uses unencrypted protocols. This means that anyone who has access to the network can intercept and read your data.

Another drawback is you can use RDP to grant full access to a system, which can be a security risk. If an attacker gains access to an RDP session, they can wreak havoc on a system or steal sensitive data.

Finally, RDP is a Microsoft-proprietary protocol, which means you can only use it with Windows systems.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a private network that encrypts and transmits data while it travels from one place to another. It is created by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through dedicated connections, virtual tunneling protocols, or traffic encryption.

VPNs use a variety of encryption and security protocols to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and that data remains confidential. If you are looking for Windows VPN for your business, you may check out here for more information.

Advantages of a VPN

A VPN enables you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. There are many advantages of using a VPN over RDP. Check out below for some other advantages VPN tips:

Encrypts All Traffic

One of the primary advantages is that VPN encrypts all traffic, making it more secure than RDP, and it’s impossible for anyone to snoop on your activity. RDPs only encrypt the login information and data transmitted during the initial connection. Once the connection is established, the data is no longer encrypted.

Able to Tunnel Through Firewalls

A VPN can tunnel through firewalls which RDP is not able to do. This allows users to access work computers from home or other locations without opening ports on their corporate firewall.

Offers More Privacy

A VPN is a more secure way to browse the internet by hiding your IP address and location from websites and online trackers. This makes it more difficult for people to track your online activity or hack into your personal information.

Can Bypass Geo-Restrictions

VPN can bypass geographical restrictions where you can access content that would otherwise be unavailable in your country. This can be extremely useful if you want to access content from another country or if you want to avoid censorship.

Disadvantages of a VPN

For businesses, the disadvantages of a VPN are that it can be costly to deploy and manage a VPN network, and it can be complex to troubleshoot if something goes wrong. Also, it requires a monthly subscription, and the price can vary depending on the features and level of security offered.

Another disadvantage of a VPN is that it can be slower than an RDP connection. This is due to the fact that data must be encrypted and decrypted as it passes through the VPN tunnel. This process can add a significant amount of time to the overall connection.

For individuals, the disadvantages of using a VPN include data theft if the VPN connection is not properly secured and the possibility of contracting malware or other malicious software if the VPN server is compromised

Choose Your Connection Needs Between RDP vs VPN

In conclusion, RDP vs VPNs have their own advantages and disadvantages. RDP provides a graphical interface for users to connect to remote resources. VPN provides a secure, encrypted tunnel for users to connect to remote resources.

It depends on your needs on which one is the better fit for you. If you need a higher level of security, then VPN is the way to go. Yet, if you need to access files on a remote computer, RDP will do.

For more tips and topics like this RDP vs VPN guide, check out the other articles on our blog!