In my opinion, the easiest and most popular way to use VPN in a corporate environment is to pair it with MS Remote Desktop. This combination provides complete remote access solution for staff. To set this up, we need the following assumptions met. Learn about the remote access strategy.

VPN server and client

First of all, a VPN server needs to be set up. This can be a hardware appliance like a Checkpoint Edge or it can be software like Microsoft’s ISA server. Either of these will accept PPTP (point-to-point tunneling protocol) as the encapsulation method for the VPN client, which comes built-in every MS Windows OSes.

Have a physical computer in the office

The second item needed is a computer sitting in the office for every staff out in the field working from home. VPN connectivity is too slow by itself and bandwidth is better utilized by taking over a physical computer that sits on the local network. This computer has to be assigned exclusively to the remote staff so there are no complications that are inherent in time-share use. 

A decent computer at home

The third item needed is a fast enough and computer at home, with a minimum broadband internet connection. Even though processing power is expended at the office computer, computing experience is better if the same computer standards are implemented at home.

MS Remote Desktop is enabled

The fourth item needed is to enable MS Remote Desktop or MSTSC at the office computer so that it listens for incoming connections, and at the home computer so that it is allowed through the firewall. To enable MSTSC at the office computer, just right-click My Computer, go to Properties, Remote tab, and then click the checkbox to allow remote connections to this computer.

Standard printers at home

Finally, it’s important to ensure that the printer driver used by the printer at home already exists and is easily installed by default on the office computer. This ensures no additional printer driver downloads, installation, and terminal server printer mapping configurations are needed.

If these five items are followed, it will provide a cheap and simple remote access strategy for your small business.