Readers’ Poll: How Often Do You Use DirectAccess?

Over the past week, we’ve featured a series of installments that answer your questions about VPNs and DirectAccess. Of particular interest to you were the hardware requirements for DirectAccess, if DirectAccess supercedes VPNs, and what issues Microsoft could improve or optimize. Before releasing Part 4 of the series, we want to know: How often do you actually use DirectAccess? As always, please elaborate in the comments. [polldaddy...

Readers' Poll: How Often Do You Use DirectAccess?

Over the past week, we’ve featured a series of installments that answer your questions about VPNs and DirectAccess. Of particular interest to you were the hardware requirements for DirectAccess, if DirectAccess supercedes VPNs, and what issues Microsoft could improve or optimize. Before releasing Part 4 of the series, we want to know: How often do you actually use DirectAccess? As always, please elaborate in the comments. [polldaddy...

Q&A on VPNs & DirectAccess with Patrick Oliver Graf, Part 3

This is part three in a series of questions related to DirectAccess and VPNs. Earlier this week we addressed the hardware requirements with DirectAccess and whether DirectAccess, in combination with Windows 8, supersedes VPNs. Question: Its inflexible and complex implementation was one of the greatest weaknesses of DirectAccess in combination with Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft has improved Windows server 2012 in this regard. Are there still issues Microsoft could improve or optimize? Patrick Oliver Graf: Microsoft has considerably improved the implementation of DirectAccess under Windows Server 2012. For example, users can now implement DirectAccess through a single console where they had to use several before. Network Access Translation (NAT) is now able to direct incoming remote access connections to a central DirectAccess Server. Through the new features, there is no need for several servers any more. The system furthermore supports global server load balancing. This means that now a Windows 8 client is easily able to log on to the closest network entry point. However, there are still several unsolved issues. In Windows Server 2012 and DirectAccess, multi-site support still causes quite a bit of hassle. Apart from that, multi-site implementations strictly require a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). This increases the users’ effort and contradicts Microsoft’s statement, maintaining that with Windows 8, setting up secure connections with DirectAccess and Windows Server 2012 has become easier than it is within a VPN infrastructure. According to users’ experiences, it is essential to configure DHCP and DNS entries (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol / Domain Name Server) of DirectAccess implementations with particular care. This, too, increases the implementation effort and makes the system prone...

Q&A on VPNs & DirectAccess with Patrick Oliver Graf, Part 2

This is part two in a series of questions related to DirectAccess and VPNs. Last week, we addressed why VPNs are still necessary with Windows 8. Question: Does DirectAccess have any hardware requirements? Patrick Oliver Graf: While DirectAccess doesn’t require the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) – based virtual smart card capabilities in Windows Server 2012/Windows 8, it is an optional component. It’s worth noting, as small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, often use Windows consumer PCs that do not feature TPM. However, Microsoft does require TPM to be enabled and configured for its employees who wish to enable DirectAccess connectivity. VPN solutions do not have such requirements. Question: Does DirectAccess in combination with Windows 8 supersede VPNs? Patrick Oliver Graf: No, it does not, because Windows 8 systems are only able to use DirectAccess to communicate with servers and clients in pure Windows environments. Users of mixed environments cannot forego a VPN, if their environments include Linux Server, MacOS computers or end devices running on the Android operating system. The BYOD trend will only put further momentum towards environments with a multitude of platforms, which will further diminish the influence of DirectAccess. Moreover, a lot of companies and public institutions, like educational institutions or authorities, have already implemented a VPN infrastructure. Those customers will unlikely abandon their VPNs in favor of Windows 8, in combination with Windows Server 2012. Stay tuned as Patrick addresses more questions related to DirectAccess and VPNs. If you have any questions that you would like answered, send them to editor@vpnhaus.com.  Patrick Oliver Graf is General Manager at NCP...

What We’re Reading, Week of 11/19

Dark Reading – Half Of Machines Shopping On Cyber Monday Likely Contain Vulnerabilities Midsize Insider  – IT Security Threats: The Predictive Problem  SearchCloudApplications – Mobile cloud trends: Apps let enterprises handle the risks of cloud computing TabTimes – Study: Forget corporate deployments, BYOD will drive business adoption of Windows 8...