Running your Business Software Directly over a VPN.

Many organisations need to have people access their
applications remotely, over slower connections than they would otherwise have
in the office.

While many people often use Remote Desktop Services to get access to their Business Software, ee are often asked “can I access my system directly over  a VPN?”

Simply put, the answer is “maybe!”

What are the considerations and factors?

There is really no single answer to this question, as there
are many variables like:

  • What type of “wide area network” is being used”? Internet based, NBN, Private?
  • What is the speed of the links – at each end
  • How many simultaneous users will be using the application and network?
  • What other traffic will be running over the same VPN?
  • What is the expected activity of the user?  Heavy or Light?
  • What printers (brand of printer) will be used?

Oh, and just a reminder – the NBN is not truly a
“business grade” network.

So, in short, while most systems will technically function over a VPN connection (Including Sybiz, Sage, Ostendo) , it comes down to these factors.

What is the problem?

Any network application will transfer an amount of data over the “VPN” or network connection – with the amount of data dependent on the “action” the user is performing.  So simply editing a single customer will transmit minimal data.  However actions such as  running a report, an analytic, printing an invoice, or loading a dashboard will transfer a lot more data – both back and forth.  Thus, these “heavier duty” actions may not function at an acceptable level.

What is the alternative?

For most, and for many years the alternate solution is to implement a “Terminal Server” or “Remote Desktop Server” ( often referred to as an “RDS” ).  This is a server, at the same location as the database server where the business system resides, and provides data to the application via local access, not over the VPN.  This RDS then hosts, and runs the business systems locally, which is then accessed essentially sharing and transmitting only screen, keyboard and other resources data (e.g. printer) back and forth, so greatly reducing the  data transmission and not suffering the same performance and functionality issues as a straight VPN.

Thus, using a Remote Desktop server for any worker who needs remote or Bring Your Own Device access to applications and network resources can greatly improves data protection, worker performance, whilst providing a more controlled environment and that can only be a good thing for your organisation.

Will it be supported?

Kind of.  If an issue can be shown to function locally,
but not over your VPN, then likely it may not be possible to resolve over a
slow connection, thus the question “Is it supported?” is not really the right
one.  It simply may not be possible to “fix” the issue.