VPN vs. RDP: What’s the difference?

Companies have to invite more outsiders (vendors, suppliers, and business partners) onto their networks and systems than ever before as our reliance on outsourcing grows. Although a vendor may require remote access for various reasons, the most common cause is to provide technical support. Due to the rising need, many tools have been developed to facilitate this activity. Some were created from existing technologies, while others were specifically designed to enable merchants access to networks.

VPNs and remote desktop sharing are two of the most popular and widely utilized remote support tools. In both theory and practice, they are highly different and serve diverse use cases. They all have limitations in terms of their applicability in specific contexts, and they all have various security risks, both in terms of design and when applied incorrectly.

Let's look at the distinctions between these two types of tools and see more about them.

Virtual Private Network

A VPN is one of the most dependable and secure ways to safeguard your devices, and it was designed specifically for use with public WiFi. A virtual private network (VPN) connects users' devices to a private network over a public network. VPNs protect your Internet connection by acting like a bulletproof vest. They preserve your privacy, enabling private and anonymous web browsing and encrypting the data sent through that connection.

The VPN acts as a mediator when you connect to the Internet, hiding your IP address (the string of digits assigned to your device by your ISP) and protecting your identity. Furthermore, your data will stay unreadable until it reaches its intended destination if it is intercepted in any way.

A VPN establishes a secret "tunnel" between your device and the Internet, concealing your sensitive information through encryption. Therefore, your traffic is encrypted when you use a VPN so that no one can intercept it over public WiFi. VPN encrypts your connection everywhere, so you don't have to worry about external security. Cybercriminals won't be able to break through the encryption barrier, and you'll be safe.

It's vital to remember that VPNs aren't the same as anti-virus software. A VPN connection protects your IP address and encrypts your browsing history, but it does not safeguard your machine from outside intrusion.

What is Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)?

RDP, or Remote Desktop Protocol, is a Microsoft-developed proprietary technology that allows you to connect to a remote computer via a public or private network and control it as if you were sitting directly in front of it. You must first configure an RDP client application on the remote end for this to operate.

RDP may be the best option for accessing your PC or providing technical assistance within the same business network. Suppose you want to utilize RDP outside of your corporate network. In that case, you'll need to configure that network to accept incoming connection requests, making the initial setup much more difficult for someone who isn't tech aware.

Remote Desktop vs. VPN

A series of apps known as Remote Desktop allows users to access and operate a computer remotely. This is especially handy for individuals who are regularly on the road but still need access to their desktop resources. Those who work from home or in the field are most likely to use Remote Desktop.

The construction of a smaller private network on top of a more extensive public network, such as the Internet, is known as a Virtual Private Network or VPN. Virtual private networks (VPNs) connect computers as if they were physically connected to the same switch. VPN enables previously exclusively available apps on a local network to be used over the Internet.

Both VPN and Remote Desktop allow you to access resources from a remote place, but they differ in what you can do with them. When you connect to a network via a VPN, you can only access resources shared on that network. This applies to shared folders, printers, and even other network servers. Remote Desktop allows you complete control of a specific computer on the network, giving you access to a lot more. This grants you access to shared network resources and the resources of the managed computer. If he were sitting at that workstation, the user could start applications and complete other tasks

Difference between VPN and RDP

The following table highlights the major differences between VPN and RDP −

A VPN is a private network within a more extensive public network. Within the Internet, for example, there are private networks.A Remote Desktop is a collection of apps that allows users to access their computers from a remote location.
VPN allows you to access only a network.Remote Desktop allows you to control the entire machine.
When it comes to granting users access, VPN access has constraints.Remote Desktop does not.
VPN is less flexible than Remote Desktop.Remote Desktop is more flexible.
VPN is regarded to be far more secure.Remote Desktop appears to be more vulnerable.