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timb551Flag for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Is it possible to configure external users (laptops) to access the web only when VPN is connected


I have a group of users who regularly travel with their laptops and i want to be able to have more control on what they are browsing when away from the network.

At the moment when they are in the office they go out through our Watchguard which acts as a transparent proxy and has Websense setup to filter what they can see.

In addition to this when they are connected via SSL VPN externally the traffic is forced down the tunnel and again they use the transparent proxy.

The problem i have though is if they dont connect to the VPN when say in a hotel they can browse what they want.

Is there a way that i can stop browsing access unless they are connected through the VPN.

I know that we could specifiy a proxy in the internet settings but because the Watchguard is a transparent proxy i dont believe this would work.

Any advice would be great.

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You can set up PPTP VPN. That locks them to your server and then your internet for browsing.  Then you need to ensure VPN is always on and cannot be disabled.

I have lots of business users travelling with company laptops equipped with split tunnel IPsec VPN. I do not have issues with them using Internet outside of the company system.
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Wouldnt want to use PPTP due to the insecurities.

We use the Watchguard Mobile VPN with SSL and a 2 factor authentication system.

I dont know how i can make sure thats always on though.
You would have to ask Watchguard support. I don't think you can force it always on, but I am not certain.
For the most part (in systems I see), VPN is not required for Email access (Outlook has its own security). So if a business user is travelling, needs Email (common), does not need the company system at all times, it seems constraining to force users through a slow system to get internet.
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It may be constraining but unfortunately security needs outweigh the possible constraints.
Only maybe. Ransomware is spread via dodgy emails and constraining internet browsing does not resolve this.

Common sense and user training is vastly more important that chaining users to something.
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Im afraid user training and common sense doesnt go far enough as users will be prone to ignoring any training and especially common sense.

In addition it isnt ransomware that is my main concern.  We have policies on what users are allowed to browse in terms of file sharing and personal email etc.
Avatar of John Tsioumpris
I think there is an option to use the gateway of the VPNs endpoint so that you can control the traffic.....but if they connect without using the VPN they can always catch something....i think one way would be to protect the Laptops with something like Deep important documents are saved on the cloud and with every reboot the Laptop returns to the approved condition...
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When the VPN is connected i dont have an issue as the traffic is forced down the tunnel.

My issue is more of a Windows and watchguard setup in that i want the OS to only be able to browse the web when the VPN solution is connected.
How about adding a proxy server. Lock the Proxy settings in Internet Explorer down VIA GPO, so users cannot change it, and no one can access the Internet unless they are connected VIA VPN. This is just a suggestion.
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Hi Edward, that is defintley an option available to us but i was looking at seeing if we have any options using what we currently have before investing in a new system.
I wonder if you put in as the proxy but leave the VPN settings alone under IE if that would work.
A proxy server will certainly work. The consultant before me put one in at a client of mine. It did very effectively constrain internet use.
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Shaun Vermaak
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DirectAccess setup seems to be the way to go but im not in a position to test this yet.
Glad we could help.

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