Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Keep IT simple - Use RDWeb instead of Site-to-Site VPN

So you have a couple of users moving from the main office to a new office (say they're moving to the public works garage) that is located miles away from the main office. These users need to still be able to use the business application but don't need anything else from the business network and security isn't a high concern. At the remote office the two users will need basic internet, ability to print, and have access to the business application; nothing else is needed. What do you do? Do you buy an expensive firewall to build a site-to-site vpn connection to the main office? Or, since you already have RDWeb implemented for remote use of applications, do you use RDWeb? The cheapest and most efficient solution would be to go with RDWeb. If you're not familiar with RDWeb, I suggest you do some reading on it, but for now know that RDWeb is a feature of Windows Server that builds a portal to essential applications and remote desktop access your employees need either remotely or locally.

Why do I say use RDWeb instead of the VPN connection? Well because RDWeb is simpler. What you can do is give the two users computers with encrypted hard drives, a solid anti-malware solution (I suggest malwarebytes PRO along with Microsoft Security Essentials\Defender and then have OpenDNS at the border), and decent internet bandwidth to give them a great working environment. RDWeb will provide access (securely) to the work application(s) and they can use it almost 99% the way they used it before at the main office. For situations like this, RDWeb trumps the other method of site-to-site VPN because it requires less setup, equipment, and time.

I know for other situations where high-security is a primary concern, file shares are needed, printers are manged from the main network, etc. RDWeb may not be the ideal choice but for a situation like the one described above where the two users just need access to the business application(s) then RDWeb is the clear winner I think. It was the winner at work. The situation described above is a real-world scenario. My work will have a new public works garage and two of our users will be leaving the main office to work out at the new garage. We already have RDWeb in place for remote users so the two users will access the business application through our portal.

One of the things to keep in my mind with any project, especially IT projects, is to keep the solution simple.

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