Virtual private network (VPN) difficulties

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Hi All,
Does anyone in our community access FrontDesk over a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
We recently replaced our main computer - the one with the FD database or "server" on it, and since then we have been unable to access this computer using our VPN.  We have tried various things, but to no success.
Our database computer uses Windows 10 Professional and our client computers (from which we are trying to access it) use Windows 10 Home.
Can anyone help?
Thanks in advance.
joyaa@goldcoastosteopathy.com.au
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Joyaa Antares

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Posted 1 year ago

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Kirsty

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Hi there - we used to use a VPN but now for the past few years, just RDP to access our server both on site and from remote sites. My understanding is that RDP is very secure these days and certainly the connection is way better.
...not sure if this is helpful... ? 
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Joyaa Antares

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Thanks Kirsty.  We haven't used RDP.  When you use this, does it mean that your remote computer can "have command" of the server screen, and therefore that anyone using the server computer can see what you are doing?
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Kirsty

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Hi Joyaa
We all have our own server log-in and in answer to your question, no your individual session is not viewable on the server screen.
I am not really an IT person, so my knowledge is limited.....but we have progressed thru many stages as we first started running a VPN approx 10 years ago.Is  your server a dedicated server or is it a work station - we have used both...
We have some speed issues at one of our locations and the RDP works really well for us - so much faster. Our main location is super quick - fibre to the premises and close to 100 download. Our other site relies on wireless so upload and down load are restricted. The RDP has made a huge difference to the speed at the remote site.
Cheers Kirsty 
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Joyaa Antares

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Hi K.,
Re. your first sentence (and answer to my question) - thanks.
Our "server" is our main reception computer.  I guess that's a "workstation", isn't it (?)
SS. have emailed me in response to my raising a support request. 
VPN, RDP or SS's suggestion, port forwarding.  Decisions, decisions! :-D 
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Andrew, Community Manager

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Hi Joyaa

I can confirm there is no issues with running Front Desk over a VPN, so long as the connection is suitable and has reasonable latency. 

Setting up and finessing a VPN generally requires some assistance from a technician. Alternatively if you just want Front Desk to operate outside your office we can use a secure Microsoft SQL protocol in combination with port forwarding. A small charge applies as it involves modifications to your modem setup.

For more information feel free to contact us by opening a support case on our website: https://www.smartsoft.com.au/support
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Joyaa Antares

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Thanks Andrew.  

We have had technicians from two I.T. reputable companies look at this already. Unfortunately to little avail, although I imagine that we are 90% of the way there.

I am familiar with the layout of our modem, but don't know what settings to use on its "virtual server setup".  (See pic below).  I will raise a ticket via the link you gave to establish SS's fee.  We don't mind spending $$, but having already expended, hope that you will appreciate that we are hoping to secure a result now for minimal further expense.  

Thank you.
(Edited)
Hey Joyaa, When I'm not moonlighting as a chiro reception, I do small business IT network support.  There are so many types of VPN, it's hard to answer based on what you've said.  Is it the same modem as before?  And not to disparage IT people, we are not all built the same.  Plenty of them don't love doing VPN connections... :-)  It's advanced networking and sadly not all IT people can do that... Great that SS are there to help. Meaghan
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Joyaa Antares

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Same modem M.  Thanks for responding.
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Kirsty

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Agreed!! I have very limited IT knowledge but have been amazed at some of the 'experts' that we have had in the past!
SS have been really helpful for us. :) 
Something to consider is that RDP not running through a RDP server gateway is unencrypted. That would concern me with patient data. By the sounds of it you aren't set up to run RDS which runs on Windows Server. So if you are thinking of running RDP that's fine but I'd run it over an encrypted VPN connection.
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Joyaa Antares

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Thanks Meaghan. Good point.
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Andrew, Community Manager

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On the point of security, for those with concerns, please note as part of our port forwarding configuration we also implement a secure protocol in Microsoft SQL to encrypt traffic to and from the database.
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Joyaa Antares

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Hi All -
UPDATE on the above. First a big thanks to Renée at SS for her very rapid, effective, efficient setting up of "port forwarding" for us, which allows us to access client notes from off site.  She was great.
NEXT - a question:  is a VPN likely to provide us with a better (i.e., faster) connection to our central database?  The port-forwarding does give access, but it takes some 40 seconds to load up the appointment book, over 80 seconds to create on new casual appointment, over 10 seconds to access the "treatment plan" from within the billing details, etc.  So, the system "works" but at the same time, isn't really "workable".  I'd be grateful for suggestions.
J.
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Andrew, Community Manager

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Both a VPN and port forwarding are limited by the quality of your internet connection. The most important factor is latency, the time it takes a data packet to reach its destination and return to your machine. 

Poor latency can be caused by numerous factors, such as the type of connection (Eg. 3G mobile vs cable broadband), network congestion and inadequate bandwidth. The majority of users with port forwarding would not be having this issue.
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Joyaa Antares

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Thanks Andrew - that's good to know.  Or bad to know, depending how we look at it! :) 
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Steve Middleton

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How many users connect to your database at the same time both at the Server site and remotely on a busy day?
Steve.
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Joyaa Antares

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Hi Steve - 
At the server site: four, including the computer that acts as the server.
Remotely - one. Almost never more than that.  And I should probably clarify that the above times refer to the computer gaining remote access.  J.