Remote Access to Network From Home

Dung Do
Dung Do used Ask the Experts™
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I want to have the ability to connect safely to my network from home. Is there any freeware out there that allow me to do that? Do I have to open up any port on the wireless router?
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Senior Systems Admin
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
There are a number of remote access applications that have a free version for "Personal" use (splashtop, VNC, teamviewer), but your situation is commercial use, so they would want you to pay for the application.

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Commented:
What if my environment is small. We only have around 20 servers. And I only need to have to access to only 1 servers. I can SSH to other environment.
unfortunately, using this software for commercial purposes in not free -
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Hi Dung Do

Ever considered to use a windows Server as VPN Server? Or better the firewall itself if possible (licenses etc)
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/remote/remote-access/vpn/always-on-vpn/deploy/vpn-deploy-ras
https://www.thomasmaurer.ch/2016/10/how-to-install-vpn-on-windows-server-2016/
you need to open specific ports and create NAT to that VPN Server.

Wireless router? as Firewall for your 20 servers?

regards
Thomas

Commented:
Checkout ultra VNC its open source and free for commercial use.    https://www.uvnc.com/

Here is a list of free remote access apps:   https://alternativeto.net/software/teamviewer/?license=free&platform=windows
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
A reasonable way for that kind of environment is a hardware VPN router at that end and then VPN application software to access it. We do this for our clients. The hardware router is a valuable one time expense.

Then NCP Secure Entry for access is bomb-proof. Shrew Soft is free and works but not as robust overall. You can access whenever you wish and no software is needed at the other end.
Be very careful about VNC versions that require you to open up ports (port forwarding) on your firewall.  There are a number of security issues with them.  The ones that go through a web portal (VNC Connect, for example) should be much more secure.

Of course, if you set up a VPN, the free VNC versions can go through it, not require port forwarding, and should be secure (at least as far as remote access is concerned).

I've become a fan of PfSense as firewall software.  It's free and you can put together a very respectable (used) computer to run it for $200 or less.  It has good VPN support (both site-to-site and client-site) among its features.
Pete LongTechnical Consultant

Commented:
If you have 20 servers are any of them running Windows? Install RRAS and setup SSTP VPNs?

P
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology Professional

Commented:
Something like Teamviewer or GoToMyPC are good solutions that don't require any firewall accommodations to work. And really, if the company wants you to be able to access the network remotely to save the cost of you having to come in after hours, or whatever reason, they should be willing to pay a few dollars for a proper, secure solution.

As soon as you start trying to use remote desktop or VNC for remote access over the internet, you have to make allowances in your firewall for them to work and that's a security compromise.

As for VPN, your work firewall may already have something built in to allow it, or you can set it up on one of your windows systems as mentioned. However then it puts the onus on IT to ensure that whoever is connects is doing so from a secure computer. I would say purchasing a separate VPN device is probably overkill unless you have multiple users with remote access on a regular basis.
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Assuming the organization is fine with the idea of you doing it....
The only recommendation from here I would agree with is leveraging VPN capabilities on your firewall. Alternatively, use a PC lying around, and set up a VPN server using something like SoftEther or OpenVPN. Set up the client on your PC at home, and you should be good to go.

I wouldn't go with a TeamViewer or GoToMyPC unless you're getting a proper business setup. That way if people from the IT team leave, their access can quickly be shut down. It's been mentioned a few times why RDP isn't a good idea (unless you're going to build the infrastructure for that, which definitely is costly). VNC is most (not all cases) requires opening up firewall ports. But I haven't seen any true business solution like you could find with TeamViewer or GoToMyPC, so I still wouldn't recommend it.
@Brian B:
"you have to make allowances in your firewall for them to work": that is the case for versions of VNC that do direct connections.  VNC Connect is different in that you go through the manufacturer to get establish remote access.  It's somewhat similar to GoToMyPC and others.  It requires no changes to your router/firewall.

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