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Windows password strategy - remote users over VPN

Hi all,

I have a client using Windows Small Business Server 2000 who has a number of remote users. These users predominantly have laptop machines, all of which are on the SBS Windows 2000 domain, the users logging into their machines using a cached domain profile, and connecting to the office LAN over VPN (currently a Linux-based Smoothwall implementation, soon to be Cisco PIX). They authenticate to the VPN using signed certificates and then authenticate to Windows resources on the LAN using the credentials cached when they logged onto the laptop.

Currently the users have static passwords, i.e. password expiry is NOT enabled on the domain. The client wants to move to a more secure environment, in other words to enable password expiry, but in the past I have had problems when the domain account password expired and the machines were remote; the user would be able to log into the laptop (as it was off the LAN, the machine was unaware of the expired pw) and connect to the VPN, but then there would be a password mismatch and the user would be unable to get to networked resources. All of this would happen in quite an ugly way, in other words no nice dialogue popping up telling the user that their pw had expired and they needed to change it.

So I guess my question is, how can this be achieved without the aforementioned ugliness? I can't put that in as a solution as the users wouldn't be able to handle it.

Thanks!
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georgemason
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georgemason
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1 Solution
 
Michael PfisterCommented:
Some VPN client software allow a complete domain login via VPN, that means the tunnel is established right on from the logon screen and the user credentials are verified against the AD, also allowing the user to change the password when required.
I'm not sure if you can do this with your VPN software, i.e. by using the dial-up network to establish the tunnel from the logon screen...
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georgemasonAuthor Commented:
Not possible I'm afraid, not at the moment anyway.

The client is using the ZyWALL IPSec client at the moment, which doesn't include that functionality, and I'm pretty sure the Cisco VPN client doesn't either.
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Michael PfisterCommented:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/sw/secursw/ps2308/products_data_sheet0900aecd801a9de9.html

FEATURES AND BENEFITS
:
• Support for Microsoft network login (all platforms)
:

So it should be able to do it.
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NYtechGuyCommented:

yes, once the PIX VPN is setup you can have the VPN client startup before login.

/justin
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grigory7811Commented:
You can use e-mail notification for users about password expiration before password really expires
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georgemasonAuthor Commented:
Very interesting! Now I definitely have a motive to install the PIX sooner rather than later.

It's a bit off the original topic but does anyone know how one gets the Cisco VPN client to start up before logon?
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marine7275Commented:
If you would have used a juniper or watchguard firewall, you would not be in this mess. Just playing.

Have you ever thought about using a ssl vpn?
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georgemasonAuthor Commented:
Hadn't thought about it, no. Not against the idea although for this implementation the device will be a PIX - partly because I like them, more because I've already bought it and I don't need another one!!

I don't follow how an SSL VPN would solve this issue though? Of Windows password synchronisation I mean?
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marine7275Commented:
using an ssl vpn would negate you having to mess with VPN clients. You would only have to worry about Windows pws.
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georgemasonAuthor Commented:
The VPN clients aren't causing a problem here though. The clients authenticate using certificates at the moment, so no problem. The only problem I guess is the fact that I need the tunnel up before they log on, which seems do-able with the Cisco offering, so no worries.

All I need to find out is how to do it!
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