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  • Setting up VPN to access computers at work

    Hi Folks.

    I've been thrown in at the deep end here at work and would appreciate any assistance.

    I've been give the task of setting up remote access from 'home' to allow our bursar and myself take control of a number of computers. These computers control our Heating system, CCTV system and Cashless Canteen.

    This is where things start to unravel becasue I am now in uncharted territory. We are having a broadband connection installed which includes a BT Homehub Router. I have a Windows 2003 SBS server currently running on another broadband connection but becasue it is a 'managed' system, I cannot use remote access to gain access to these computers hence the new broadband connection. Currently th computers are standalone but I'm going to add them into the 2003 SBS server

    Looking at all this in basic terms, how do I 'control' these computer?

    I've been told that I should set up a VPN but my understanding is that this only gives me access into my network in the school. How to I remote control the computers that run the relevant software after I have gained access.

    One major issue is security. How secure is VPN?

    Any help greatly appreciated

    Declan

  • #2
    Re: Setting up VPN to access computers at work

    A PPtP vpn is secure enough. VPN software is built in to windows xp, 7, vista and 2003.
    You can set any of them up as either vpn server, or client.

    However, because you have the BT router, you have two options.
    Either you can "pass through" the vpn tunnel, to terminate on a computer inside the network, or you can terminate it on the router.
    Without knowing more about how to setup the router, I'd recommend passthrough. There's probably an option where you can set this up, but without knowing more aout the router, I can't tell you for sure.there's probably a single check box.

    The next step is to ensure you can setup remote access on each computer.
    You can do this by right clicking on "my computer" and going to properties, then "remote settings" tab.
    on the remote settings tab, make sure that "allow remote desktop" is enabled. (separate to remote assistance)
    you will also need to add users.

    it MAY be simpler to just ask the managed services company if you can use their vpn (in all likelihood they habe one) and then setup the remote desktop on the computers.

    your proces from home is then:
    1. connect to vpn
    2. connect to remote desktop on the computer
    3. disconnect from vpn when finished.

    There are of course, other options like logmein. with logmein, you install it on the computer in the office, then you can go to a website, and log in there, which will allow you to connect to the screen of the computer in the office.


    if you need clarification, or have further questions, come back and let me know
    Please do show your appreciation to those who assist you by leaving Rep Point https://www.petri.com/forums/core/im.../icon_beer.gif

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    • #3
      Re: Setting up VPN to access computers at work

      Since you are using SBS 2003, just add the computers to the domain and use Remote Workplace to access them. No VPN configuration, just RDP over the web.
      Simples

      LogMeIn (as suggested) is also a very effective free option
      Tom Jones
      MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
      PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
      IT Trainer / Consultant
      Ossian Ltd
      Scotland

      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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      • #4
        Re: Setting up VPN to access computers at work

        Cheers Folks.

        The problem with the managed service setup is that they will not - under any circumstances - allow us remote access into computers via their broadband connection. We are having difficulty even getting computers attached to the network which is why I have kind of 'thrown the head' and asked the boss to provide an alternative broadband connection.

        We are not unique to this in that all other schools are in the same boat. It's just the way the 'contract' with the Department of Education was drawn up.

        I'm going to look into the 'Logmein' route. Unfortunate I can't view the website here in the school because - Yes, the managed service contractors have filtered it!!

        Will any of the routes I take, security is the big issue in terms of Data Protection - especially with the Cashless Canteen system which holds pupil data. The school is hellbent about making sure it doesn't get compromised. One possible snag I can see with LogmeIn is the fact that a third party is involved so they will naturally ask if there are any security issues here.

        Declan
        Last edited by dpbarry; 19th January 2011, 14:45.

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        • #5
          Re: Setting up VPN to access computers at work

          Not that I'm paranoid (Well, maybe a little ) but I never trust remote access to third party apps. Where possible I use VPNs for remote access and then RDP once VPN'd in. RWW is a good alternative in SBS though - you connect over SSL to the RWW website so it is secure.

          Oh, and just my tuppence worth, but take your free BT modem and throw it off something high. They are not fit for purpose for business broadband IMO, and in fact my boss managed to get BT support to admit that and give us a discount on our bill for a few months because of it.
          BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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          • #6
            Re: Setting up VPN to access computers at work

            Originally posted by cruachan View Post
            Not that I'm paranoid (Well, maybe a little ) but I never trust remote access to third party apps. Where possible I use VPNs for remote access and then RDP once VPN'd in. RWW is a good alternative in SBS though - you connect over SSL to the RWW website so it is secure.

            Oh, and just my tuppence worth, but take your free BT modem and throw it off something high. They are not fit for purpose for business broadband IMO, and in fact my boss managed to get BT support to admit that and give us a discount on our bill for a few months because of it.
            Cheers Cruachan.

            Sorry, what do you mean by 'RWW'?

            I actually have a spare Cisco 1700 series router that I possibly could use althought I may need an ADSL card for it. At the moment it has two network cards and a serial card. All I need to do is either get someone to program it or get the manuals out and figure it out myself

            Declan

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            • #7
              Re: Setting up VPN to access computers at work

              RWW = Remote Web Workplace (name may have changed from 2003 to 2008 )
              Basically, connect to a web site and get secure remote desktop through it
              Last edited by biggles77; 20th January 2011, 13:53. Reason: Fix 8) smilie issue
              Tom Jones
              MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
              PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
              IT Trainer / Consultant
              Ossian Ltd
              Scotland

              ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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              • #8
                Re: Setting up VPN to access computers at work

                Paranoid; damn they were good instant photos.

                I had similar issue with a set of schools I worked in and Logmein was the only option available due to having ZERO access to the Routers. I also had concerns about Logmein security but if you have a read of their website that should put these concerns to rest. The real security issue will be the computer you access the Logmein site from. I would suggest a VM dedicated to Logmein and NEVER use it for any other purpose.
                1 1 was a racehorse.
                2 2 was 1 2.
                1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                2 2 1 1 2

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