Virtual Private Networks

If you need to access your office network from outside, for example from a your PC to a remote office, then a Virtual Private Network (known as a VPN) is the best method to do so.

The advantages of a VPN are the ability to control remote access and encryption.

Access to your office VPN is controlled by system authorization entries, and optionally by restricting access to specific computers by node name or IP address. The simplest setup uses a user name and password setup on the VPN server, much like any remote access software.  Once you have a VPN link established, you still need a user name and password for the machines on the VPN in able to access them.  If these user names and passwords are different, and they should be, then you have a second level of authentication that is required.

Additionally, a VPN can be setup to use client and server certificates.  In this case, each endpoint has a unique certificate, and each endpoint must know about the other endpoint’s certificate in order for a connection to be established.  This adds yet another level of protection.

Finally, if the remote endpoint (the one that is trying to establish the connection, you) has a static IP address, then access control can be used.  Connections can only be made from a list of known IP addresses.  This is common with a remote office, and makes for a very secure VPN.  Connections can only be made from a pre-approved list of IP addresses.

Once the VPN connection is made, all of the information that is sent over it from the two endpoints is encrypted.  This means that the data that is being sent back and forth is nearly impossible for any others to decipher.

A Virtual Private Network will give you the ability to work from a remote location, just as if you were on your office PC.  You can view shared folders, print, email, and anything else that you do from your office PC.

For Windows systems, creating the capability to loon your office PC also requires you to enable RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) on your office PC for the user you will be when using it.  Your remote PC will use its RDP client over the established VPN link and login in to your office PC as you would if physically there.

As there are many different ways to implement a VPN, including hardware devices and software, it is best if you have someone with thorough knowledge of this technology evaluate, and configure your VPN.  We can evaluate your needs, recommend the best solution to meet those needs, and install and configure your VPN.

Contact me for help with this recommended method of remote access.

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