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What is virtual network computing?

With so much of the the global workforce working remotely, corporations are racing to establish secure and efficient home-working practices. Virtual network computing (VNC) could be an essential part of these new systems, but it might not be the end-all solution. So what is VNC, and is it safe?

Malcolm Higgins

Malcolm Higgins

What is virtual network computing?

How does VNC work?

VNC is a system for remote computer control. From long-distance troubleshooting to new corporate work structures, VNC could be a game-changer for your business.

The process relies on a simple client-server model. With the client software installed on a computer, a user with access can take control of the hardware from a remote server.

They’ll be able to observe the operating system, run any installed programs, and even utilize connected machines like printers and external hard drives. With a strong internet connection, it should run as smoothly for the remote operator as it does for anyone physically using the computer.

VNC for businesses

VNC is particularly useful for businesses, and can serve two main functions:

  • Long-distance technical support
  • Remote working

Having these capabilities will enhance technical troubleshooting within companies. If an employee is dealing with a problem on their computer, VNC would allow a technician to watch their actions in real-time and even take full control without ever visiting (or leaving) the office.

Centralized tech support could become a far more effective option for businesses with multiple workspaces or large teams of remote employees.

The issue of remote workers is an increasingly relevant one for many companies. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the work-from-home movement was changing the ways that teams interacted and used company assets.

VNC can give workers at home complete access to their office desktops with no restrictions on company software and database permissions.

Remote working: the benefits of VNC

Major players in the tech and banking sphere, including HSBC and Twitter, are already normalizing remote working practices. Desks have been replaced with kitchen tables, boardrooms with Zoom calls. For many businesses, it’s clear that office space needs to be utilized differently in the future.

VNC frees workers from the necessity of physical office access. If their computer is installed with the right client software, they could now reach it from a home device. Lockdowns, business trips, and travel disruptions would no longer disrupt workflow.

That’s not to say that VNC is a perfect solution, of course. Leaving aside the security issues for now – we’ll deal with them shortly – bandwidth can be a serious hindrance. If your home connection is slow, it might make the experience of remote operating impractically slow and cumbersome.

Is VNC secure?

There are some serious security risks with VNC. It does, after all, grant access to private files, passwords, and databases.

Some VNC software provides fairly strong encryption levels, but many don’t go far enough. Worse yet, remote employees may be using vulnerable home routers or unsecured public Wi-Fi.

To really provide secure connections and enhance VNC security, the best practice may be to run traffic through a VPN. Operating VNC with the security of a VPN provides both ironclad security and dynamic flexibility.

What is a VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) is an encryption service that protects data online. When someone switches on NordVPN, an encrypted tunnel is established between their hardware and a NordVPN server. All online traffic – including their VNC connection – will be secured by this tunnel.

With over 5400 servers in more than 50 different countries, NordVPN matches users with the fastest connections available. The NordLayer app offers a business solution where your entire team can enjoy encrypted security for their VNC.


VPNs and VNC aren’t mutually exclusive: they offer different benefits and work well in tandem.

VNC provides remote access to devices, facilitating home working. It gives employees more freedom and flexibility, but it doesn’t offer the safety and privacy of a VPN. While NordVPN enhances security with genuine end-to-end encryption, VNC changes the way workplaces and individuals operate. A VPN does also offers some useful home working functions, including Meshnet, a feature that allows for secure remote file access.

We’re entering an unprecedented era of remote employment. Across the planet, working from home is producing new challenges and unexpected benefits. To combat these challenges and make the most of those benefits, companies can create a strong remote-working infrastructure with a VNC, enhanced and protected with NordVPN.

Also available in: 日本語.

Malcolm Higgins
Malcolm Higgins Malcolm Higgins
Malcolm is a content writer specializing in cybersecurity and tech news. With a background in journalism and a passion for digital privacy, he hopes his work will empower people to control their own data.

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