Published: January 21, 2005

Most businesses require some form of remote access to resources at the main office. The criticality and the type of remote access required may vary for different organizations. Many methods are available for providing remote access to resources. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and may or may not be suitable to a particular remote access scenario. Typically, organizations require implementing multiple remote access methods for different remote access scenarios existing in their environment. The following factors determine the type of implementation that is suitable for different remote access scenarios existing in an environment:

  • Type or resource being accessed: For example, do you want to access e-mail or files on network shares, or do you want to run a line-of-business (LOB) application that requires a high-bandwidth connection to the database server and cannot be run over slow Internet connections?

  • Period of time for which access is required: For example, do you need to check e-mail (which typically requires a few minutes), do you want to remotely work on an LOB application for a few hours, or do you want to permanently connect the branch offices to the main office.

  • Location from where the resource is being accessed: For example, are you accessing resources from a trusted client computer at a branch office, from a laptop connected to the Internet, or from a public computer at an Internet kiosk.

Remote access methods can be classified into the following three types:

  • Remote connection: This connects the remote computer or branch office to the main office local area network (LAN). The connection could be a direct physical connection, such as leased line and dial-in connections, or a virtual connection through the Internet using Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology. In this method, users access resources as if their computer was present at the main office.

  • Web publishing: Depending on which resources the users need to access, some resources, such as e-mail and extranet Web sites, can be made available to remote users through the Web.

  • Remote access to LOB applications: This enables users to run LOB and other applications over the Internet without much performance degradation. It also enables the remote users to access their desktop computers located at the main office.

The Medium Business Solution for Remote Connectivity provides guidance on implementing all these three types of remote access methods.

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This solution provides guidance on enabling remote access to the IT infrastructure at the main office. It focuses on various methods available for remote access and provides recommendations for implementing highly reliable and secure remote access methods that best addresses the needs of a medium business. The scope of the guidance provided in this solution includes:

  • Designing and deploying the infrastructure to enable branch offices to connect to the main office and enable branch office client computers to access the resources available at the main office.

  • Designing and deploying an infrastructure to enable authorized remote users to connect to the main office over the Internet using VPN.

  • Enabling remote access to information on the corporate LAN through secure HTTP Web sites. This includes publishing Outlook Web Access (OWA), SharePoint-based extranet, and TSWeb Web sites.

  • Enabling remote users to access LOB and other applications over the Internet.

  • Enabling users to remotely access their desktop client computers over the Internet.

  • Enabling the IT staff and service providers to remotely access servers for troubleshooting purpose.


The prerequisites for implementing remote connectivity in the medium IT environment are as follows:

  • A properly designed network infrastructure as recommended in Chapter 2, “Physical Network Design,” of the Medium Business Solution for Core Infrastructure.

  • An appropriate Internet access and domain name registration for the business.

  • Core infrastructure services as recommended in Chapter 3, “Network and Directory Services,” of the Medium Business Solution for Core Infrastructure, including:

    • Domain Name System (DNS)

    • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

    • Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)

    • The Active Directory® directory service

  • A properly secured network infrastructure as recommended in Chapter 4, “Secure Internet Connectivity Services,” of the Medium Business Solution for Core Infrastructure.


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