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What is a VPN and can I set one up?

What is a VPN?

VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network”. A VPN is basically a secure connection made to a remote network over the internet. They are often used by companies to allow their employees to connect to an office network from a remote location.

Who needs a VPN?

VPNs can be used for a variety of reasons but one example would be a business that has employees that work from home or on the road a lot but still need access to the office network will often set up a VPN.

How can I set up a VPN or Remote Desktop for my small company?

The answer to this question varies widely depending on many factors. Most small office networks already have what they need in place to provide VPN access to the network but just don’t use it.

Most hardware firewalls provide VPN capabilities and just need to be configured to do so.

Windows based servers also have the ability to act as VPN servers that can provide secure VPN connections to external users.

As with anything else, your IT professional should review your existing infrastructure and needs then they can provide a cost effective solution.

How do I remote desktop?

Once a VPN is in place you can easily use Remote Desktop to access your PC, simply connecting to the internal IP address of your office PC over the VPN connection.

Remote connections can be more complicated if no VPN is in place as most networks share a single external IP address and port forwarding has to be setup in your internet router to forward remote connection ports to your PC. This is less secure and not very user or admin friendly.

Microsoft Small Business Server has remote connection ability built right in; you can access it through your server’s external website.

Again your IT professional can assist you in deciding which is best for you.


 

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