Technology Insight

Remote Access Models: How they work and where they fit

The 2 most popular remote access models are explained and the Benefits / Drawbacks discussed.

January 25, 2021

In our previous article we talked about the minimum and ideal infrastructure needed for telecommuting success.

In this article we will take a brief look at 2 different Remote Access Models; how they work and where they fit.

Grab an expresso (it’s a short article) and lets dig in....

Remote Access & Expresso time

Remote Access has been around since the late 1980s. I remember setting up a modem card in my dads Tandy 1000 so I could ‘call’ other computers. It was rad...  :)

These days there are many different solutions for accessing a remote network. Those solutions fall into 2 Remote Access Models that we will talk about in this article:

  1. Hosted Service
  2. Software

Side note: I mention specific vendors in this article. They are only examples of vendors that have solutions in that Remote Access Model. They are not meant to be recommendations or endorsements.

Remote Access: Hosted Service

Common vendors: Citrix, Microsoft, Netmotion, VMware

Since the COVID 19 pandemic pushed nearly everyone into working from home we will see many employers making this a permanent option for employees moving forward. When your ‘Work From Home’ workforce becomes more prevalent; Remote Access facilitated by a Hosted Service may be the preferred method.

Hosted Services provide a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). A VDI hosts a computer that exists on a server (kind of like an application). There is no physical computer sitting in a cubicle for the employee to use when in the office.

If the Host server has resources available (more RAM, additional processor threads, GPU cycles...) they can be assigned to a Virtual Desktop on the fly. Depending on the size of the Host server; it could have 10 to 100 Virtual Desktops accessible to remote users.

The cost of running a Hosted Service is more than running a physical fleet of workstations. Where it becomes cost effective is in reducing the physical office space needed for employees. When employees do come to the office there would be cubicles they could use; however they are not assigned to a specific employee. This is typically referred to as ‘Hoteling’.


  • Reduce office space (average cost in Phoenix, AZ ~$32 / sqft)
  • Reduce physical hardware potential failures (from ‘x’ workstations to 1 server)
  • Easier Network Administration and reduced infrastructure
  • Simplified on demand software licensing (CAD, Office applications...)


  • Initial capital investment (for on premise)
  • Monthly fees (on premise hosting license and increase for cloud hosted)

Remote Access: Software

Common vendors: GoToMeeting, LogMeIn, Splashtop

The software Remote Access model is by far the most prevalent. It can be utilized by anyone anywhere. It only requires the installation of a host or streaming software on a target device and client software on the remote device. When the software is launched it provides access to all devices where you have installed the host or streaming software. This model has saved me countless hours when my parents had computer problems:

  • Me - “Dad, you should see a button that says ‘OK’”
  • Dad- “Let me look... Nope, I don’t see that”
  • Me - “it might be at the bottom of the screen”
  • Dad - “Nope. All that is down there is a button that says ‘Accept’”

...... that is all way easier with software remote access today...  

Software Remote Access works identically to the way it does for home users accessing their parents computers. The only difference is the backend configuration of the host software and its integration to a user repository (active directory, workgroup...).

This is the way most companies are providing remote access to their ‘Work From Home’ users and it is working great.


  • Easily implemented
  • Low cost (most charge per month per active connection)
  • Workstation still in office (Great If they aren’t permanently working from home)


  • Large pool of hardware to maintain
  • Infrastructure and office space necessary for multiple workstations


If your current Remote Access Model is Software based and permanently moving a large part of your workforce to ‘Work From Home’ doesn’t seem far fetched; I would start investigating Service based remote access vendors.

After making it through the initial ‘How are we going to provide remote access to everyone’ caused by the pandemic; it will be refreshing to have time for researching your Remote Access Hosted Service options.

Matthew worked with Agave IT Services as a Brand & Content Consultant through 2020. He managed our company transition from Agave Solutions Inc. to Agave IT Services (dba). From our Logo to our online presence and business operations platform; Matthew created a solid foundation able to support our growth into the future.

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