How to secure an RDP connection without VPN?

(Last updated on July 30, 2020)

Route it via ISL Online remote desktop software! The latest ISL Light allows you to use RDP access to Windows computers running in the remote network without VPN tunneling or making any firewall changes. Instead, you can now route the protocol through the ISL Online safe tunnel.

Secure RDP connection via ISL Online











How does Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) work?
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft which allows you to connect from your PC to another PC running on the same local area network (LAN). To connect to a remote PC, that computer must be turned on, Remote Desktop must be enabled, you must have network access to the remote computer and you must have permission to connect.

When you connect to a remote PC by using a Remote Desktop Connection, you’re creating a peer-to-peer connection. This means you need direct access to the remote PC via LAN. To connect to a PC running outside your PC’s network you normally need to set up a VPN or configure a port forwarding on your router/firewall.

What are the benefits of integrating Remote Desktop Protocol in ISL Online
ISL Online’s technology allows you to avoid port-forwarding, VPN tunneling and firewall configuration changes, and route RDP sessions through ISL Online to connect to another computer in a local or remote network without compromising your security.

Additionally, working through ISL Online brings a bunch of other benefits:

  • You can manage all remote sessions centrally
  • Every connection going through ISL Online network is guarded with 256-AES SSL encryption. When you route RDP through ISL Online, that same level of encryption protects your remote desktop connection
  • You can share your RDP session with your colleague on the support team or transfer the session to them.
  • You can access Windows systems from non-Windows platforms

On the other hand, even though working through ISL Online, you can still enjoy all the features of Remote Desktop, such as printer sharing, file sharing and clipboard sharing. You are also able to see the remote desktop on all your monitors as provided by RDP.

Download ISL Light

Set up RDP via ISL Online and secure your RDP connections on the Internet
ISL Online’s technology allows you to use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to connect to another computer in a local or remote network. Follow the instructions below to set up port forwarding for Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) via ISL Online or watch a video tutorial.

Route RDP connection through ISL Online safe tunnel

1. Install and configure ISL AlwaysOn (remote access agent) on a remote PC:

  • Set up unattended access
  • Configure ISL AlwaysOn in order to allow tunnel connections (RDP, SSH). Open ISL AlwaysOn > Settings > Advanced > Tunnel Connections > Allow Tunnel Connections (RDP, SSH).

Enable tunnel connections on ISL AlwaysOn


2. Enable Remote Desktop on a remote PC (we’re using Windows 10 OS):

  • Start > Settings > System > Remote Desktop
  • Enable Remote Desktop
  • Make sure to add users to the remote desktop users list

Enable remote desktop on a remote PC


Start a secure RDP connection via ISL Online
Once you configure the tunneling, start ISL Light on your local computer, log in, click on the »Computers« tab and choose the targeted remote computer. Open the menu and choose »Connect via…«. Select »rdp://localhost:3389« from the list.

Start a secure RDP connection via ISL Online

For security reasons, you will need to provide the remote computer access password.

Enter remote computer access password

After you have entered the access password, an RDP session will be established to the remote PC. You will be prompted to enter the Windows account login credentials to log in to the remote PC.

Enter Windows credentials

After successfully logging in, you will be able to use all of the remote PC’s programs, files, and network resources, as if you were sitting in front of it.

See the remote desktop on all your monitors
If you want to have a remote desktop span multiple screens you need to check this option within Remote Desktop Connection on your local computer. Once you do that it becomes the default RDP setting and it will automatically apply to all RDP sessions routed through ISL Online.

If you are using Windows 10, open Remote Desktop Connection on your local computer, go to Display and check “Use all my monitors for the remote desktop session”.

Remote Desktop Connection - set multiple monitor view

Don’t forget to save this setting if you want to apply it to future RDP connections. Go to General and click Save. That’s it!

Remote Desktop Connection - Save settings

Before Windows 10 Remote Desktop Connection came out you needed to run a command line to achieve the same. See how.

Download ISL Light

How tunneling technology works
ISL Online Remote Desktop tunneling technology consists of several modules. These are the steps that allow establishing an RDP session from the local computer through the ISL Online server(s) to the unattended computer running in the remote network.

  1. The operator starts the ISL Light app for Windows, Mac or Linux on a local computer, chooses »Connect via…« and initiates the RDP session.
  2. The ISL Light app on a local computer establishes a connection with ISL AlwaysOn, a remote access agent running on the unattended computer in the remote network through the ISL Online server(s). A secure AES 256-bit end-to-end encrypted connection is established between the local and remote computer through ports 80/443/7615.
  3. A special scheme integrated into ISL Light starts Microsoft Remote Desktop client (Remote Desktop Connection – mstsc.exe) on operator’s computer and forwards the local RDP port through the ISL Online system to the remote computer’s RDP port (3389). This means that the ISL Online system automatically establishes a remote desktop tunnel to route the RDP session between the local and remote computers without opening the default listening port TCP 3389 on the remote network.
  4. Remote Desktop client integrated into the ISL Light app establishes a connection with the remote access agent (ISL AlwaysOn) and the connection is automatically forwarded to the RDP server built into the Windows operating system.
  5. A native Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection is established between the local and remote computers.

In this post, we have covered a basic scenario, where you have routed your RDP connections through a safe ISL Online tunnel in order to securely connect to a remote computer over the Internet using your RDP access.

Integrating RDP in ISL Online brings several other advanced configuration options, which we will explain in one of our next posts. So stay tuned!

This entry was posted in ISL Light, RDP and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How to secure an RDP connection without VPN?

  1. Richard says:

    Does this also work via the macOS ISL client with macOS RDP app?

  2. Pingback: ISL Online: qué es y cómo funciona -

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