iDrive launches cloud-based Remote Desktop for PCs

All that's needed for Remote Desktop to work is a subscription, an iDrive agent downloaded on a device, and a connection to the service.
Written by Chris Preimesberger, Contributor

Have you ever left documents, images, or video on a laptop, tablet, or phone that isn't close at hand and needed to obtain that content fast? Well, there's a new-gen app for that.

IDrive, on Sept. 9, launched Remote Desktop, a new cloud service that enables users to remotely access their RDP-based Windows computers and servers from any PC, Mac, Android, or iOS device at any time from any location. The company claims that this is the first cloud app to perform these functions.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a proprietary protocol originally developed by Microsoft in 1997 that provides a user with a graphical interface to connect to another computer over a network connection. Both the user and the other PC must employ RDP client software for this purpose.

Using RDP can get complicated, especially in enterprises where one or more servers are used among multiple teams or individuals. But all this configuration involving a VPN (virtual private network), Microsoft RD Gateway, public servers/IP, or firewall changes isn't necessary with Remote Desktop, which automatically makes all the connections necessary for a remote desktop session. All that's needed is for each user to subscribe to Remote Desktop, download an iDrive RD agent onto a device, and then connect to the service.

"Remote Desktop allows users to access their work, share files/folders, and manage their computer as if they are sitting in front of it, making it ideal for remote work, remote learning, and work-from-home," CEO Raghu Kulkarni told ZDNet.

"RDP requires complex configurations. If you use the Microsoft gateway, you have to have a domain controller and configure a specific device you had to buy licenses to, to be able to access from anywhere; if the servers are within a NAT (network address translation, a way to map multiple local private addresses to a public one before transferring the information); are outside of the public IP (internet protocol); or inside of a public IP in a local network; or use VPN solution," Kulkarni said.

"So what we bring to the table is account-based access to RDP servers; you can access from anywhere without any configuration--you just need a username, password, and you connect. We have created a tunnel solution."

Remote Desktop features end-to-end encryption from client to server. "It's secure, and it's faster," Kulkarni said. "When you try it, you will see that you can connect to the RDP-based host really fast, and so you have the best of both worlds. On the one hand, you use a Microsoft RDP, which is a proven reliable platform for enterprise or even a small business, remote access and service; we piggyback on top of it and add our service to make it easily accessible from anywhere."

A summary of Remote Desktop features:

  • User management: Users can be added to the Remote Desktop account and manage their remote access rights via the web application.

  • File transfer and remote printing: Copy and paste multiple files and folders between local and remote computers, and print remotely stored documents, PDFs, images, and other files using local printers.

  • Multi-access sessions: Establish simultaneous remote connections to one computer/server from multiple Remote Desktop viewers.

  • Device redirection: Access local devices and resources such as drives, printers, smart cards, video-capturing devices, and PnP devices in remote sessions.

  • Access via agent installation: Remotely access PCs via agent installation and skip configuring Microsoft RD Gateway, VPN tunneling, and firewall changes.

  • Remote deployment: Deploy the Remote Desktop agent on multiple computers via Microsoft Group Policy using the MSI and MST files.

  • Multi-monitor support: Work with multiple monitors of your remote desktop -- view and switch between multiple monitors on a single screen.

Remote Desktop also enables businesses to meet the mandates of government and industry regulations regarding digital data management, safekeeping, and privacy, Kulkarni said.

Pricing for the service starts at $9.95/year per computer for unlimited users and unlimited remote access. Remote Desktop also offers a free seven-day trial for up to five users.

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