For most MSPs and IT admins, their remote desktop solution is a buggy and expensive necessity. Without it, IT is hamstrung. But integrating it into their company’s tech stack and maintaining it drains IT resources and adds to the growing list of vendors to manage.
Remote desktop protocol (RDP) is likely at the center of this conundrum. It was the first tool on the scene but came with substantial performance, security, and operating system limitations. IT admins have developed proprietary technologies to overcome RDP challenges and provide remote assistance.
But these often require relaxing firewall rules (a security risk) or setting up complex VPN tunneling (a time-consuming, disruptive task). These solutions weigh on the admin system, impeding technicians’ ability to troubleshoot from anywhere, slowing ticket resolution, and increasing the risk of cyberattacks.
At this point, modern IT teams and MSPs are looking for alternatives that can scale to meet their demands. And in their research, they’re likely to come across TeamViewer.
While TeamViewer has advantages over remote desktop protocol, it also has some distinct disadvantages that can impact your tech stack complexity and budget. In this post, we’ll explain what TeamViewer is, its pros and cons, and introduce another cheaper, well-integrated solution: JumpCloud Remote Assist.
What Is TeamViewer?
TeamViewer is remote connectivity software that allows users to access desktops and mobile phones remotely. The application is built to serve employees, IT teams, and MSPs at small businesses or large enterprise organizations. With TeamViewer, users can:
- Work on their office desktops from home
- Run server maintenance remotely
- Monitor and manage mass deployments and application patches
- Repair, manage, and control devices
- Support unattended devices, such as iOS and Android phones, digital signage, kiosks, and point-of-sale devices
- Conduct secure file transfers
TeamViewer has several advantages over more traditional software like RDP. Some of these features include:
- Multiplatform access: RDP only works on Windows-based devices. TeamViewer allows IT admins and MSPs to troubleshoot and monitor macOS and Linux-powered devices as well.
- In-session automation: Unlike RDP, TeamViewer gives admins the ability to automate tasks with pre-configured scripts. This can save IT time and limit disruptions to their workflow.
- Remote chat: To solve problems, IT teams need to chat with the person they’re trying to help. TeamViewer has built-in chat functions to enable seamless communication.
- Session recording: New IT team members can benefit from TeamViewer’s session recording capabilities. These recordings can be added to onboarding documentation, or admins can use them for quality control purposes, giving newer IT personnel pointers for troubleshooting common issues.
- Multi-user support: TeamViewer lets IT team members pull in one of their peers to help them with a difficult case or hand off an entire session to someone else when they need to address another emergency.
- Unattended access: Companies often have devices left unused for long periods of time — think display TVs, monitors, and kiosks. Those devices need upkeep, and TeamViewer lets IT maintain them from afar.
- File transfer: TeamViewer’s drag-and-drop functionality makes moving files from one system, like Box, OneDrive, or Google Drive, to another quick and easy.
- Remote printing: With TeamViewer activated, users can print any document from anywhere.
Although TeamViewer is a step up from remote desktop protocol in many ways, there are still some drawbacks to be aware of when evaluating it as a potential solution for your organization. Namely:
- IT sprawl: Just like RDP, TeamViewer is an entirely new application to manage. IT teams need to be trained on proper usage and all of TeamViewer’s features. On top of that, they have to weave TeamViewer into their existing tech stack. They also have to stay up to date on TeamViewer’s vulnerabilities, identifying and patching them as quickly as possible.
Opting for a tool that’s fully integrated with your patch management, cloud device management, password management, and identity & access management tools makes implementation and maintenance much simpler.
- Potential for outages: According to some users, TeamViewer has a tendency to go down — sometimes on a weekly basis. Performance can also be a problem in areas of poor internet connectivity, causing sessions to freeze or disconnect entirely. TeamViewer is also known to crash when sending or receiving large files and cannot operate through proxy servers.
Look for alternatives that don’t demand high-quality, high-speed internet to perform basic remote assistance tasks and have near-100% uptime.
- High cost: TeamViewer is only free for personal use. Commercial licensing comes with a hefty price tag. It costs nearly $230 per month for just 30 licensed users and 500 managed devices.
TeamViewer’s commercial licensing can be expensive for businesses on a tight budget. For enterprise companies, TeamViewer has become a cost-inefficient choice, not only because of its price but because of the additional work required to keep integrations healthy. Opt for remote desktop solutions that give you the most bang for your buck.
Is JumpCloud a Good TeamViewer Alternative?
TeamViewer is better than RDP, but it’s not the only alternative. There’s another remote desktop offering that doesn’t add extra costs or tech stack complexity and operates well in poor connectivity environments: JumpCloud Remote Assist.
Putting JumpCloud at the center of your IT stack ties all of your tools together in a logical, harmonious way, helping you automate manual processes and reduce the number of point solutions in your stack — something 42% of IT professionals cite as their biggest challenge.
As one JumpCloud user says, “Currently, we use TeamViewer, but I have been really looking forward to trying out JumpCloud’s solution as that would eliminate one more platform/cost for us to manage.”
Another says, “Since we use mostly Macs here, with a few Windows machines/servers, and a few Linux servers; I end up using a variety of remote access tools, and often. Be it RDP to the servers or Apple Remote Desktop to the Macs. Finding a nice, consistent, multiplatform system has been…. difficult.”
Consolidation reduces costs as well. Delivering access, identity, and device management within a single platform eliminates the need for various tools that cost money to implement and maintain.
Besides making remote access and assistance easier and cheaper, a centralized, unified stack improves your security posture — an increasingly important concern. 78% of IT professionals say that IT sprawl has a negative impact on their security.
JumpCloud’s Remote Assist comes with MFA and SSO capabilities and out-of-the-box identity and access management designed to keep systems and data safe and secure. IT admins can also access a computer system directly without the user being there to approve.
One JumpCloud Remote Assist user shares, “There are plenty of feature-rich desktop support vendors out there, but none of them come as part of an Open Directory Platform. If we can cover your main desktop support issues, you will be able to consolidate IT vendors, reduce cost and provide a great support experience for your end users.”
A JumpCloud-centric stack improves lifecycle management across all systems and devices while facilitating a fluid and enjoyable experience for employees and IT personnel, ultimately empowering everyone to be more productive.