MSPs: What do you need to know about Chrome Remote Desktop?

Scott Calonico

Not long ago, plenty of MSPs (especially those smaller businesses concerned with tight budgets), were scrabbling around for a good alternative to the discontinued LogMeIn Free remote access solution.

It’s likely that several found at least some solace in Chrome Remote Desktop, a free Google remote access solution.

Chrome Remote Desktop has been around since 2011, and allows remote access to any computer running Google’s Chrome browser.

It’s not perfect, as it requires any machine you wish to remote control to have Google’s Remote Desktop software already running.

However, for basic remote access requirements, where the software can be set up in advance, Google Remote Desktop has long been a decent LogMeIn alternative, which, most importantly of all, remains completely free.

Chrome Remote Desktop for Android

Now, Google has taken things to the next level by offering a free Android app that interfaces with Chrome Remote Desktop.

Compatible with any Android device running Android 4.0 or above, Chrome Remote Desktop for Android now allows mobile users the same access to desktops running the Chrome Remote Desktop client software. This means easy access to a home or office machine from smartphones and tablets.

The Android app is out now, and Google are reportedly developing an iOS version of the mobile app too, for release later in the year.

Is Chrome Remote Desktop suitable for MSPs?

Chrome Remote Desktop’s limitations mean that it’s not the best remote access solution for MSPs, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some useful applications.

The solution is well worth some consideration for individual clients who may wish to access their home or office desktops when they’re out and about. The software itself is free, and the implementation is simple. The mobile app seems to work well too.

However, professional MSPs really do need something a little more “business grade.” Features like “unattended support” and the ability to easily reboot into safe mode are essential for MSPs. In addition, any IT professional who’s tried to talk an inexperienced user through the install of a remote client will attest to the importance of a simple Web plugin-based installer!

However, this doesn’t mean Google Remote Desktop shouldn’t become part of your MSP “toolbox.” Just like the discontinued LogMeIn Free product, it can prove valuable in some scenarios – just don’t expect it to replace a fully-fledged remote solution developed for the MSP market.