For years I have suffered with end user pain as they attempt to connect to their network from remote. It is easy, I tell them.
Start your PC.
Be sure to log into it once before taking it on the trip.
When you do, it has to be wired to the network the first time.
Log in as you would at the office.
Start the VPN Program
Load the settings
Connect to the internet
Go to the providers web page and log in to get access
Connect to the VPN.
Run Remote Desktop
Connect to your PC (do you know the name of your PC?)
log in again with the correct credentials
and they are supposed to remember all of this.
Microsoft saw my users pain, and invented Direct Access. They describe it this way.
DirectAccess, introduced in the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems, allows remote users to securely access enterprise shares, web sites, and applications without connecting to a virtual private network (VPN). DirectAccess establishes bi-directional connectivity with a user’s enterprise network every time a user’s DirectAccess-enabled portable computer connects to the Internet, even before the user logs on. Users never have to think about connecting to the enterprise network and IT administrators can manage remote computers outside the office, even when the computers are not connected to the VPN.
What this means for you, is, never having to VPN in again. Tools work the same inside and outside the network. If you are on the internet, you are also safely on the Internet. No VPN, no multiple credentials, no hassle. Just turn it on and access your files, albeit, a little slower that at work.
What is even better is, IT managers can actually manage the PC from remote, as if it was on the LAN. This means timely updates, easier remote support, and asset tracking and recovery.
This is really cool.
It does require some additional servers, but with Virtual Servers, you may already have the hardware, and only need to install the software to make this work.
What a joy! The end of the network is now at your house, or the airport, or even the golf course!