Is It Safe to Use TeamViewer? What Are its Alternatives?

TeamViewer is a fast and safe remote management tool designed to help managed IT service providers proactively monitor remote systems, client endpoints, and networks. It can monitor devices like Windows, macOS, and Linux for early identification of issues. It helps team members stay connected from different locations via online meetings. TeamViewer consists of an intuitive and easy-to-use interface with powerful remote access features.

Besides having plenty of useful functionalities such as identification of unattended access, wake-on-LAN, and ticket assignment, it has a few limitations in terms of security, image quality, and cost. There are multiple solutions available on the market with enhanced features and better communication capabilities. Before looking at TeamViewer alternatives, let’s look at what makes TeamViewer still a preference for some businesses and of less value for those looking for a more advanced remote management system.

Advantages of Using TeamViewer

  • It can be installed and updated with ease
  • TeamViewer help teams share sensitive files across different locations
  • It makes communication easier for remote teams with video, chat, and voice calling features
  • It can be used on Android, Linux, BlackBerry Windows, and Mac devices
  • TeamViewer is free of cost for non-commercial purposes
  • It helps provide easy access to remote machines
  • It helps detect and highlight issues to other team members
  • It helps team members conduct online training sessions for up to 25 members simultaneously
  • It helps boost sales potential
  • It doesn’t require router configurations
  • The team can easily access crucial data and applications anytime, anywhere using TeamViewer
  • It provides excellent customer support
  • TeamViewer supports remote printing, remote chatting, and wake-on-LAN without any specific configurations
  • With TeamViewer, users can share their screens, application window, and entire desktop
  • It helps with easy file transfer from online storage services such as OneDrive, Box, and Google Drive
  • It provides a drag and drop feature to share files from one system to another

Disadvantages of TeamViewer

  • TeamViewer isn’t free for commercial purposes and requires a license
  • It cannot share large files
  • It doesn’t work through proxy servers
  • It needs a fast continuous internet connection to perform
  • Every system needs to have TeamViewer and the same version installed on it, or else it won’t work
  • Machines are only accessible when they are active and available

5 TeamViewer Security Best Practices

According to BBC, a significant number of TeamViewer accounts were hacked back in 2016. Reports of attacks grew sharply, and hackers used credentials either from the data stolen by other companies or from giant caches. Due to the growing number of attacks, TeamViewer was forced to issue an emergency fix for a serious vulnerability in the program in December 2017. These reasons were enough to give TeamViewer a tag of insecure application. Although TeamViewer was designed keeping in mind the first-run mode and the ease of use over difficult-to-navigate security models, the concept didn’t work as expected. While many organizations have moved to various TeamViewer alternatives that promise to offer much more, companies and professionals who are still using TeamViewer can follow some best practices to help safeguard their crucial data.

  1. Run TeamViewer Only When It’s Needed
  2. Create Strong Passwords
  3. Two-Factor Authentication
  4. Update TeamViewer
  5. Advanced Security Options

1. Run TeamViewer Only When It’s Needed

Don’t compromise when it comes to securing official data. Immediate action can help prevent security breaches and data theft. Make sure to log out from the application once the work is done to help keep your data secure. Logging out of the application is the best way to avoid giving access to the machine to someone with hacking capabilities. Moreover, keep updating the application from the TeamViewer website while it is temporarily off to help ensure you’re on the latest version of the application with advanced and new features.

2. Create Strong Passwords

Creating strong passwords helps secure your system and crucial information from vulnerabilities. To create strong passwords, users need to log in to the TeamViewer management console. This console helps users secure their accounts in two ways, either by choosing a change password option (to set strong passwords) or by opting for two-factor authentication (adds extra steps to the basic login procedure to provide enhanced application security). Users can set passwords with the combination of special characters, letters, and numerals.

3. Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security on TeamViewer accounts. It adds a verification step along with a login ID and password. When two-factor authentication is activated, users receive a unique code on their cell phones soon after logging in with the ID and password. However, two-way authentication doesn’t apply to the actual client by default. If the account is accessible to the client with the four-digit pin, activating two-way authentication is of no use, so lock the client for the account to enable effective two-way authentication security.

4. Update TeamViewer

Although TeamViewer gets automatically updated, if it’s disabled or turned off, the user may be running an outdated version of the application. For such scenarios, they can download an updated version of the application by running the application and selecting basic installation steps. Users may be asked to enter a new password for the updated version.

5. Advanced Security Options

Advanced security options provide granular control over TeamViewer remote access functionalities. This type of advanced security provides a wide array of granular permissions for remote access sessions. Users can configure these settings as “allow,” “after confirmation,” or “denied based on the requirements.” However, we advise selecting the “after confirmation” tab, so it asks for access permissions before transferring files or establishing a VPN connection.

Pricing Models of TeamViewer

TeamViewer can be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes. For non-commercial purposes, the tool is free, but for commercial purposes, there are three different options to choose from: Business, Premium, and Corporate. These versions of TeamViewer include the basic features remote management, including file transfer, multiplatform support, chat, and remote support of unattended servers with a few differences. TeamViewer offers a seven-day money-back guarantee with purchase.

Business: This version, if purchased, can be installed on a single workstation. To install it on other workstations, users need to purchase additional installations. Each workstation can run up to three concurrent sessions. The Business version is considered one of the cost-effective versions of TeamViewer. However, it includes fewer features than Premium and Corporate.

Premium: The Premium version of TeamViewer can be installed on unlimited workstations and can run up to ten concurrent sessions from each workstation. This version includes features such as TeamViewer Manager, multichannel routing, TeamViewer Portable, the web connector, and the MSI package.

Corporate: The Corporate version has all the features TeamViewer offers. Each workstation can conduct fifteen concurrent sessions. In addition, up to three workstations can simultaneously start the concurrent sessions. Corporate version users get one year of priority support from TeamViewer.

7 BEST TeamViewer Alternatives in 2020

Undoubtedly, the features of TeamViewer are worth mentioning, such as its scalability, ease of use, screen sharing, no additional plugin or software required, compatibility with mobile and desktop devices, built-in meeting recordings, audio and video calls, and file sharing. However, with previously mentioned security breaches, individual users and corporations are seeking TeamViewer alternatives. Some need TeamViewer alternatives for specific operating systems such as Windows or Mac, while others are looking for more advanced features.

There are a lot of programs like TeamViewer with similar or more advanced features along with a high emphasis on security. Outlined below are some remote management software tools for Managed Service Providers that are useful for corporations seeking remote management and for non-commercial users.

  1. Dameware Remote Everywhere
  2. Mikogo
  3. Splashtop
  4. Chrome Remote Desktop
  5. VNC Connect
  6. Webex Meetings
  7. Join.me

1. Dameware Remote Everywhere

screenshot of dameware remote everywhere showing meeting session history

SolarWinds® Dameware® Remote Everywhere is a powerful cloud-based solution offering remote management, ease of use, and agility. It helps organizations provide seamless, fast, attended and unattended access to remote devices. It offers remote desktop support for various operating systems including Windows, macOS, and Linux. With this tool, admins can add users, manage permissions, and grant access through the Active Directory management tool. The tool can reboot the system in hibernate or sleep mode and can be used for remote client management, arranging online meetings, online chatting with teams and end users, and one-click screenshots of remote devices. SolarWinds Dameware Remote Everywhere allows users to:

  • Monitor and record sessions in real-time
  • Upload data on the cloud
  • Mass deploy agents to machines
  • Adjust quality and session color as per the user requirements for high-to-low bandwidth
  • Manage multiple devices on Mac, iOS, Windows, Linux, and Android platforms
  • Provides a safe connection with two-factor authentication, multi-level authentication, AES 256 encryption, and session-specific pin generation

SolarWinds Dameware is quick to establish active sessions and helps keep the users’ data secure with its advanced encryption protocols and support (multi-level permission access and two-factor authentication). Using SolarWinds Dameware, users can connect to unresponsive machines quickly with AMT, wake-on-LAN, and KVM support. If errors occur, admins can resolve them without disturbing other users for their login details and system info. The tool provides all the information, including BIOS, event logs, and updates. It also saves the details of each active session in the form of notes, logs, screenshots, and recordings soon after it ends. This helps provide valuable information for troubleshooting errors. The tool offers pre-session or in-session chat, video, and voice conferencing and uses VoIP.

2. Mikogo

screenshot of mikogo connecting to a free online meeting

Source: https://www.mikogo.com/

Mikogo is a reliable alternative to TeamViewer directly accessible in the browser via Android devices, Mac, Windows, Linux, and iPhones, and doesn’t require downloading and installation procedures. This cloud-based HTML viewer can connect up to twenty-five users on the same computer simultaneously. Admins or users with access to the controls can switch roles whenever required and can control remote machines. The tool features a data transfer function to share and exchange sensitive information among the participants. Mikogo includes the standard features a remote management tool must have, such as the ability to record sessions, chat features, an interactive whiteboard, and screen sharing. Its free screen sharing features allow users to view, share, and control desktops of other participants. This feature helps display live feeds, online sales demos, training groups, and web conferences. Moreover, the tool offers a 14-day free demo version for a single user per session.

3. Splashtop

screenshot of splashtop's security settings

Source: https://www.pcmag.com/

Splashtop is a remote desktop solution that helps provide access to applications, projects, files, and training remotely. The solution is accessible on devices such as smartphones, desktops, Linux, Windows, and macOS. Users and corporations can choose from Splashtop products to meet their current requirements. The version can also be upgraded if required. However, users may need to pay extra for additional features, as different Splashtop products vary in features and pricing models. Splashtop Personal is an excellent alternative to TeamViewer as it’s free of cost and provides access to up to five devices connected in a local network. This version can only be used for non-commercial purposes.

For business purposes, Splashtop Business offers remote management capabilities. This paid version of Splashtop, gives users additional features such as file transfer, access to local printers, and ability to communicate via chat with other remote participants. It also offers a built-in feature TLS-encrypted (256 bit) connections for high stability and performance while remotely associating with teams. Splashtop Classroom and Mirroring360 are upgraded and advanced versions of Splashtop with screen sharing features that help users share their content, ideas, applications, desktop, and more without the need for external plugins or hardware.

4. Chrome Remote Desktop

downloading chrome remote desktop extensions

Source: https://www.youtube.com/

Chrome Remote Desktop is a popular remote access application available for free. It’s easy to set up and use and provides a stable connection between remote machines. However, users need a Google Chrome extension to use the application in the best way possible. It helps control remote computers with good internet connectivity. The application quickly runs on the devices, platforms, and browsers on which search engine giants run. Chrome remote desktop has special applications for iOS and Android devices, which helps manage computers remotely. It requires permission to access remote computers. The Chrome Remote Desktop Host automatically gets downloaded for data sharing needs. Chrome Remote Desktop doesn’t include features like screen sharing, chats, video conferencing, and more. It can only be used to manage remote computers and file sharing.

5. VNC Connect

screenshot of vnc connect showing connectivity and security details

Source: https://www.pcmag.com/

RealVNC is a remote access software for commercial and personal use. It has several advantages over TeamViewer in terms of sharing capabilities, security, flexibility, and cost. This safe and robust application helps protect online remote sessions by encrypting them with 128-bit AES, complex password settings, and two-factor authentication. VNC Connect includes a licensed server app to control machines remotely and a VNC Viewer app that can be downloaded free. Users also need to create accounts on RealVNC to manage subscriptions and grant permission access to other users or teams. Both the VNC applications (Server and Viewer) don’t require firewall or router configurations and are automatically discovered over the internet.

The tool comes with both paid and free versions. However, users need to compromise with the features if they select the free version of VNC Connect. The paid Professional and Enterprise versions can control or manage an unlimited number of remote machines. They also include additional features such as data transfer, remote printing, or chatting options. The Enterprise version of VNC Connect can encrypt sessions with 256-bit AES. It can also enable direct remote connections with remote machines, which means the devices remotely located can connect without the need for internet connections. Web conference features aren’t available in any of the versions.

  • Easy to deploy
  • Connects the entire ecosystem
  • Pre-install or connect on demand
  • Granular access control
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Responsive and intuitive
  • Direct and cloud connectivity
  • Doesn’t require training
  • Attended and unattended access

6. Webex Meetings

screenshot of webex meetings connecting to audio and video

Source: https://win10fix.com/

Cisco acquired Webex Communications in 2007, and since then, it’s been developing and distributing software solutions for collaborations in companies. Webex Meetings is a remote solution to help organizations and individual users conduct remote sessions, online training, and more. It focuses on web conferencing, voice calls, and chats. However, the online remote sessions from Webex meetings can only be taken via the Cisco Webex Cloud, similar to other Webex products. The Webex cloud is distributed worldwide across data centers along with backup and caching concepts. The cloud and the solution helps provide maximum bandwidth and availability to the users.

WebEx meetings come in paid and free versions. With the free version, authorized users can conduct free online meetings with up to two other participants. To add more people and to use additional features of Webex Meetings, premium packages are available with advanced and upgraded features. Users can conduct web conferences, add up to 100 participants in online meetings and conferences, access various screen sharing options, access systems remotely, secure meetings using passwords, and create specific user profiles.

7. Join.me

screenshot of join.me's meeting and chat screen

Source: https://www.pcmag.com/

Join.me is a web tool that helps in organizing online meetings. The service offers additional space for admins to schedule and hold online meetings. All sessions get automatically recorded for future purposes and to keep track of who is doing what. With its free version, users can easily organize online meetings with up to ten participants and video conferencing up to five members. However, you must download the app and register before using all its features. Besides VolP, video conferencing, and chatting options, the service also enables data sharing and screen sharing. The subscription modules of Join.me contain additional administration capabilities and productivity-increasing features (PRO), in which you can allow up to 250 participants to attend the meeting. Additionally, the services offer plugins for Outlook and Google and whiteboards.

How to Make an Informed Decision

With overwhelming options of TeamViewer alternatives, it’s challenging to make a choice. Administrators need to look at an organization’s unique considerations, such as requirements, budget, features needed, and concurrent sessions required, before making a decision. If the organization needs a solution with robust capabilities, reliable security, and primary feature like data transfer and web conferencing, SolarWinds Dameware Remote Everywhere is highly recommended. It includes more features, intuitive user interface, management console, and session recordings to help users troubleshoot errors with ease.

Consider asking the following questions before buying any specific tool:

  • Is the solution valuable and worth the money you pay?
  • What kind of support do they offer to fix bugs?
  • How often do they push updates?
  • Can you customize the solution to meet your needs?
  • What kind of security does the software provide?

The answers to these questions can help you make an informed decision and simplify the process of remote management.