Connect two computer

glophillips1 used Ask the Experts™
Without having a server I have a program with 4 licenses that I want to be able to work on host computer and also on employees computer that is offsite.  I know this should be possibe.  Which is the best way to configure this?
Gloria in Oklahoma, US
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David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Describe the program in question, as each program can have very specific licensing.
The question is entitled "connect" two computers.  So is this a licensing question or a system integration question?


It's a system integration.  The program is 1095Mate by Real Business Solutions and the version I am purchasing has four licenses.  The program is to prepare 1094's and 1095's for Affordable Care Act.  I want to be able to install on my computer and then have my employee install on hers but all data reside on my computer.  I have LogMeIn but I want her to be able to work on her computer so I can work on mine. I am open to all solutions but prefer if it is inexpensive.  If I must I will see if I can get another computer to set up as a server, but I didn't want to go that way if I didn't have to.  I just don't know enough to make a sound decision.

Gloria in OK
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Well according the the installation material, you'll need to setup a shared network folder to share data folders between each of the PC's running Mate
In order to have a shared network folder, as required, you need to have a "network" first.
Normally, this is accomplished with a VPN.
In order to have a "real" site-to-site VPN, you will need public addresses at each end for the end point routers.
You may already have that.
Then you need end point VPN-capable routers and I would recommend the same make/model.
Then you need to assure that the LAN subnets are different.  Easy enough to do.
Overall, not too expensive to set up.

Alternately, you could put a computer on your site for your employee's use and have her use LogMeIn or some other remote access service to access it.  Except for setup, the VPN approach is less money and has no recurring cost.

(Data rates over a VPN are limited by the slowest speed as each communication goes UP at one end and DOWN at the other.
Most often, the UP speed is lower so becomes the limit.
This may or may not be an issue for you).
Top Expert 2016

The program must let you chose the data location.  i.e. a sql database or some other location
For simplicity's sake you will need a router that has vpn capabilities and since we are talking about a program that uses confidential information any breach of security will put you in a significant legal liability standpoint.  

The user would vpn into your vpn router and be put on your local network and access the data location (it could be a shared location) or the on premises database

The normal computer that a user uses is a single user at a time system. So basically you'd have to have a spare computer that the user can log into remotely if you went the remote desktop from remote pc to local pc.

What I'd do is with a spare PC buy and setup Server 2019 Essentials and a vpn router. I would set up a small domain and vpn into the local site and then remote desktop into the server (you could use remote app)
You are talking about $500 for the software, $200 for the router plus a used PC.. lets say $1000 plus a consultant to set this up for you maybe another $500 to set this all up for you.
You could use a cloud provider like Azure to keep the hardware costs down (CAPEX) but it will increase your monthly costs (OPEX)

a lot really depends on how this software works and its licensing.
It should be noted that VPN suggestions are being made in response to you indicating you have LogMeIn installed.

If the two PC's are in the same office and on same internal network neither will be needed.

"IF" the two PC's are on the same network a share on your PC should be enough at least for the short term.

Other thoughts:
Given the nature of the data you're going to be dealing with, you're likely going to need to be HIPPA compliant
Drive encryption and a reasonable backup strategy is strongly recommended
I took note of the original question you posted:
computer that is offsite
So, you would need a way to access the files *remotely*.
VPN-capable routers can be had for less than $100 each (plus setup).
@ Fred

Totally missed that


Thank everyone for their input.  I did further research on my own and understand a VPN now.  This is something I will set up but not to use for the instance that I put forward.

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