Monday, 3 December 2012

Configuring a Remote Access to a Server: Research, Resilience and Ingenuity

Servers are extremely valuable tools for companies: they improve teams’ productivity and efficiency by allowing workers to share files more easily. However, the added value of a server can be increased by setting up remote access connections. It means that users not connected to the server network can remotely access documents stored in the server through the Internet. As an example, someone in the US can access a server located in Liberia.

To enjoy this feature, not only you need to buy licenses for Microsoft (one license per user), but you also have to configure both your server and computers.

NATC recently configured and installed a Windows 2008 Standard R2 Server for a client. It was a particularly complex and arduous task, consuming a lot of time and energy as we went through the following steps:
  1. Research on Microsoft support website
  2. Call Microsoft tech support
  3. Use an IT engineer based in Canada for support
  4. Extensive online research
It is only at the fourth step that our technician Jonathan Barwon found new directions and got a sense of what had to be done. It took him hours to set it up, but we can sum up all the operations in three main phases:

1) Server management: Add new roles
On the server, you need to activate the remote desktop functionality through the start menu

2) Web access configuration
On the server, in the remote desktop services, you need to enable the web access configuration

3) Connect a Windows 7 work station
Through your web browser (preferably IE), connect to the server and allow connection from computer running any version of remote desktop.

After the installation, our technician also made sure to activate the back up features of the server (i.e. shadow copies of the server hard drives), so our client data will be protected from any potential loss.