How DirectAccess can help you foster a modern, remote workforce

Whether your employees work from their home office, are on the road, or occasionally take a mental health day, they need access that is reliable and easy to connect to Celestix SecureAccess E or V Series appliances bring just the flexibility and simplicity needed for these users.

One of the biggest challenges that most organizations face today, is keeping remote users productive, and reducing the challenges associated with traditional connectivity methods, such as VPN.  Let’s be honest – users just want things to work.  What may seem intuitive to us as IT Pros, is not second nature to the sales team or rest of the workforce.  Whether it be struggles with VPN connectivity, remembering what URLs to use (how do I get to OWA again?), or using a VDI session. These issues do cause users pain, hence lost productivity (sorry boss, I couldn’t submit my TPS report again).


This is where our DirectAccess solution can help and overcome these challenges.  DirectAccess (DA) is an always on, bi-directional tunnel, that instead of connecting the user to the network, really extends the network to the user, so that they have the same experience inside and outside the office.  From accessing mapped drives, short name URLs to installing software and systems management functions, the end user experience is greatly enhanced.

The always-on behavior of DA is an interesting concept.  Compared to other solutions, DA connectivity initiates once the user is outside the network, and has a valid Internet connection.  The user does not ‘dial’ or initiate a connection, all connection requests are done silently without their interaction.  If you use login scripts or group policy preferences, these are applied at login times as well.

From a systems management and operations perspective, we now have visibility and insight into these remote managed clients when they are outside of corporate network.  We can receive inventory, push software and updates, and ensure that the security is applied, as well as configurations via group policy.

Lastly, from an end-user perspective, the feedback that we get is that users love the experience.  When they go to a hotel, they connect and login to the captive portal, and connections initiate automatically.  If there are connectivity issues, DA will automatically reconnect, and reconnections are very fast as well.

If you’re worried about security, and always on, DA has you covered as well.  From an operational perspective, the risk is no greater than a client system that goes home for the weekend and comes back into the office on Monday.  The risk is actually lessened, as you will have information about that system (virus infections, patch status, etc.).  From an authentication perspective, DA performs multiple layers of authentication, with both the machine account (certificate and NTLM), and the user (Kerberos).  Instead of a single user name and password like most traditional VPN systems have, DA in essence performs 3 different authentications.  Lastly, the tunnels are IPsec encrypted, guaranteeing strong security for your users.

As a remote worker myself, I work offsite about 80% of the time, either from my home office or on the road.  At my various companies, we have implanted DirectAccess, and greatly simplified our access needs and troubleshooting.  I no longer have to think about connections to corpnet, accessing files and systems, or even out of sync passwords between my laptop and the domain.

If you are interested in simplifying access for your modern, remote workforce, please call us on 510.668.0700 or email [email protected].

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