General Networking/Lan/Wan/VPN Connetion to a server

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Question
Dear Jeff,

Hope all is well.

We have a management system called LCMS (Language Center Management System) that can only be accessed when we are connected to the server or network on the server.

I would like to access LCMS from when I am at home or abroad and I was told that I need a VPN connection.

I would appreciate your help in guiding me on how to setup the VPN, where I can get it from, if there are costs involved, etc...

The server is running on Windows XP Professional (Version 2002, Service Pack 3)

My laptop where I would like to connect to LCMS from is Windows 7 Professional (Service Pack 1)

Please let me know if you need more information.

Thank you for your support in advance,

Issa

Answer
Hi Issa,

I'm afraid that this is one of those things that can't be provided with a few paragraphs of info over the Internet.  If you don't have an IT / Techie guy at your company then you'll need to hire someone to help you folks to buy, install and configure an applicable solution.

A possible low-cost option would be to use your Internet router (if it supports this) for your remote client-based VPN.  Your current router may or may not support this.  One other option is to talk with your ISP - they MAY have this kind of thing covered or they may not.  If not, then routers that do support this cost probably only $50-100.  But you'll need someone to set it up and configure it - as well as your laptop.  It's just not the kind of thing that can be advised from my desk here with a bit of Q&A.  You need someone at your site to get this done.

It shouldn't be all that big a deal, but this might take only like a few hours to get done or it might take all day.  Sometimes this stuff takes longer than one would think, and it's probably best done after hours or on a weekend, so that other people aren't impacted by the changes that may need to be made.

One way to get started is to go to craigslist and do a search for VPN - and select "SERVICES" from the pull-down menu.  This will get you a list of companies that specialize in IT for small businesses.  Speak with several and be very direct and CLEAR about exactly what you want.  You should know BEFORE you call them what your current network gear is (if you don't then it looks like you are not prepared and you are expecting them to do some additional homework).  At the very least they will want to know the make and model of your router and who provides your Internet service.

Keep the focus on the one specific project.  And get a flavor for how well that person "gets it" and communicates back to you.  A good IT person looks to UNDERSTAND the situation and then move forward, rather than just jumping in with both feet.  References are always helpful, especially for those small businesses they already support with a VPN.  You'll want them to think that there is "more work to be done in the future" but without promising anything - this way they will think this could be the start of a long term support arrangement (and maybe you want that, maybe you don't).  But for now, you do want a bit of focused assistance.

Note: If they start talking in Jargon, then that's kind of a red flag.  A good IT person will try and speak YOUR LANGUAGE, try and be consultative and helpful - and not "talk techie" or try and convince you they are so clever, etc.

I wish you luck with this but this is definitely the time to hire someone to help.  Essentially you want something like Geek Squad or whatever. It's not high-end rocket science.  Even a clever college kid can probably set this up but what you WANT is someone that has done it before - not someone who is trying to learn how to - on your dime.

Good luck!!!

J

General Networking/Lan/Wan

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Jeff K

Expertise

Specialist in leveraging technology toward fulfilling a customer's business objectives: enhancing revenues and giving them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Networks: architecture, design, monitoring and trouble-shooting
Technologies: Bandwidth Management (QoS), WAN Optimization, Application Performance Management (APM), User Experience Management

Experience

Over 20 years in computers and networking. Strong, broad-based expertise from years in Operations and Sales Engineering at major corporations and hardware vendors.

Education/Credentials
B.A., various courses in computers and networking as well as many many years of OJT (on the job training) and real-world experience.

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