I have a question regarding the best (and least expensive) way to have varying levels of remote access to a Windows 2000 server. We have a Windows 2000 Server and three Win XP Pro computers networked together for our church. We have a dynamic IP but are using NO-IP.com for a static IP address. We only have a few people who actually work at the church and they use the XP computers. The other people need to work remotely from their home. The server is locked in a "computer closet" and only I have access to that.
The majority of people who work from home need to use our church management software. So I have set up the Terminal Server in the "remote administration" mode and gave them each a TS user ID. Then on the "ENVIRONMENT" tab of their profile I have directed them to that software. When they logon they are directed immediatly to that software, and when they leave the software their TS session has ended. I like this method because even though they are logged onto the server, they do not have access to the desktop or any of the server function/controls. This seems to work well for them with the limitation, of course, that no more than two people at a time can be working at once.
However, as our use of the network is growing, I now have some people who need to logon remotely and work on various documents using MS-Word, MS-Excel, etc. On our network we have folders with varying level of security. For example: the "public folder" is a folder that does not contain any private information, the "Pastor" folder contains confidentional info that only the pastor and his administrator can access, the "Office Staff" folder contains info that should only be shared with people working in the office, etc. I control this security at the moment with their user ID's when the log onto one of the XP desktops located physically in the church.
I have attempted to use VNC to give them access to some of the XP computers. VNC is a free remote desktop program similar to PCAnywhere - see www.realvnc.com
. But this does not work well for us because someone is frequently using one of those XP computers. Also, it is not a very secure way to access confidential documents if someone was to be standing near these computers.
I would like for the users to have virtual desktop logons/sessions to the Win 2000 server so they can log on without using the local desktop. But the church cannot afford Citrix at this time, so I'm hoping there is a cheaper work around for this situation.
Is there a good, inexpensive way to give people a remote access to all the files/programs they need without actually logging onto the desktop of the server?
Any advice/suggestions would be appreciated.