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Virtual Private Network

Using the internet to connect to network drive

4:25 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've searched high and low for information on this topic, but all I seem to find is yet another company offering to set up a VPN or yet another highly technical datasheet.

Basically, this is the situation:

Our company has a head office that will have most of the IT infrastructure, like a network drive, a printer, etc etc. The network drive is the main thing...

We also have employees on the road and in their home offices (all of which have broadband access) who need to connect to the network drive as if they were connected to the LAN in the head office. So that rules out browser-based VPN solutions, as I need it to be totally seamless and transparent to the end user.

Basically, this is what I think the solution looks like:

From what I can gather, this leaves the option of a hardware solution that sits on the head office network. The one I'm looking at right now is a Netgear FVX538 ProSafe VPN Firewall 200.

In very simple terms, is it just a little box that sits on the network that enables the network to accept incoming VPN connections via IPSec software? I assume that the IPSec software is simply (or with great difficulty) installed on the client pc's (i.e. the remote workers' laptops) and then automagically connects to the VPN? And then I would be able to mount network drives and thus get all the other services working?

I would appreciate correction/guidance from anyone that may have any knowledge of this! Thanks for your help...

6:26 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's pretty simple really. Get a VPN appliance, or you can run software (a W2k or W2k3, or 'routing and remote access'). Then simple create a new VPN connection in the remote laptop. I would think there would be lots of tutorials on how to do this....but if you can find one, I can try to write it out off the top of my head.
6:35 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Your presumption of browser-based VPN solutions are out is incorrect.

There are several very good browser based VPN using SSL tunnels out there, with a reverse proxy solution. (I have implemented a couple with various two and three factor add-ons.)

For example, the F5 Firepass will allow you to set up such SSL tunnel to your network, providing various network mapping, printing and other "local" functionality.

In addition you can set up specific "application tunnels" whereby the user have access to specific systems only, instead of the whole network.

This solution can also verify the client machine has appropriate anti-malware protection loaded, redirect the user if not - or take it a step further and update them.

Client requirements with the F5 Firepass are a browser IE, Firefox, and more), and an Internet connection. The client will recieve either a small Java app or ActiveX control (depending on the browser and OS).

9:16 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies. I have looked at the F5 Firepass, but it's probably overkill for what we need. And it'll be fairly easy for me to get my hands on each laptop to set them up.

Is the built in windows XP VPN connection software good enough? Or should we buy third party software?

2:24 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I would strongly encourage you to look at Logmein. I posted a thread a week or so ago asking about remote access software, and at the reccomendation of a friend of mine I tried logmein. I absolutely love it and my clients do as well. It's browser based, and wonderfully i've had no problems with firewalls or dynamic IPs. Give it a look

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