One of the biggest selling points to our small business customers is the ability to access their workplace computers and network from home. Who doesn’t love the idea of working from home. Why drive to work when you can accomplish a majority of your tasks from your living room. The two common methods of accomplishing this is: VPN (Virtual Private Network) and Terminal Services.
VPN connects you to your office network as if you were physically in your office. There is a little bit of configuration involved. First, at the remote computer (usually the workplace computer) you need to enable incoming VPN connections. For this example we are going to be using Windows XP Professional. Right click “My Network Places” -> Left click “Properties” -> click “Create New Connection” -> select “Setup Advanced Connection” -> select “Accept Incoming Connections” -> click next twice -> select “Allow Virtual Private Connections” -> select a user from that computer that you want to use as the login info (user must have a password) -> click next and make sure “TCP/IP” is highlighted click next and you are done. If your remote computer is behind a router/firewall then you must configure port forwarding to the remote computer. Port forwarding is an article in itself, but basically you must open port 1723 to the remote computer.
Now for your home computer: Right click “My Network Places” -> left click “Properties” -> click “Create New Connection” -> select “Connect To The Network At My Workplace” -> select “Virtual Private Network Connection” -> fill in any name -> for host name or IP you must enter in the public IP address of your office. To obtain the IP address open up a web browser and go to Whatismyip.live from your office. Write the number down and this is what you are going to put in that field. Click next and finish. Now login in using the user name and password.
Once you are connected you are not going to notice anything really drastic. But you now have the ability to file share with computers / servers from your office. In our next article we will be discussing connecting your office network using Terminal Services.