Remote Computing Security!

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vnatale
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Remote Computing Security!

Post by vnatale » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:04 pm

I know many of you are quite familiar with many things computer so I'm hoping one or more of you can shed some light on the following.

Right now at home I am actively using two desktop computers. This one has four 23" monitors while the other has two 23" monitors.

I have been using a VPN to connect to my office computer. For some reason I've never been able to get it to work on this computer but it always does on the other computer. First I use the VPN to connect to our server. Then I use Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection to connect to my specific office computer. Other than when the modem for the organization was down for a day or two it's been an excellent setup for me.

I also work for a business as a consultant. With them I go to a website, put in a user name and password and that brings to the person's computer with whom I work. I enter that computer's user name and password and I'm "at" that computer.

With both offsite computers there are shared Dropbox folders with these two home computers which allow me to easily and quickly move files back and forth between this computer and all the others.

The question here pertains to what is going to be happening with my office computer at my organization and what I'll be able to do with it.

The person in our organization who has been managing our organization has, of course, always been worried about security issues. Therefore to lessen them she ordered a more advanced firewall and hired an outside group to monitor all our computers. At the time my understanding was that their role was limited to keeping all our computers up to date. Nothing more.

But then next week I received an email saying that in less than a week's time I had to get a new office computer (because my present one is Windows 7 and a Windows 10 computer is necessary for what they are doing) AND, THIS IS A BIG ONE, I needed an organization owned laptop to be able to access my office computer. I would not longer be able to access my office computer with my home computer.

I quite negatively responded to that, saying that I am NOT a laptop person and that there was no way I could get my work done using a laptop to the same level of productivity that I can while using a combination of two desktop computers with a total of six 23" monitors connected to them.

The response that I got was that the only way that this group could manage our organization's computer security was if all computers remotely accessing our office computers were organization owned and managed by this group.

That just did not make sense to me in the light of how I am able to access the other business's computer securely using my personally owned computer.

Therefore I'd love for any of you to give me facts of what is possible and what is not possible regarding maintaining security of an organization computer system AND what can safely be allowed to connect to it remotely.

Thanks

VInny
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ochotona
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by ochotona » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:48 pm

Modern laptops with a docking station can drive dual 39" monitors with ultra HD. The performance is snappy if you have solid state drives. Yes an organization owned laptop is more secure, then access can be tied to the MAC address, literally the name of that exact computer. Windows 7 is way out of date. You need to wood chipper it.

If you really need high computer power and graphics have then provision you a high end virtual desktop and ditch the Remote Desktop. Use HP-RGS or TGX
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vnatale
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by vnatale » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:04 pm

ochotona wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:48 pm
Modern laptops with a docking station can drive dual 39" monitors with ultra HD. The performance is snappy if you have solid state drives. Yes an organization owned laptop is more secure, then access can be tied to the MAC address, literally the name of that exact computer. Windows 7 is way out of date. You need to wood chipper it.

If you really need high computer power and graphics have then provision you a high end virtual desktop and ditch the Remote Desktop. Use HP-RGS or TGX
We are a non-profit and I am its finance director (and extremely frugal in my personal life). Therefore costs are always a concern for me. Particularly unnecessary costs.

This is my personal home setup that I've paid for and own. Which I'm also able to do my organization's work more productively than what I have to use in my office.

The Windows 7 office computer is now 7 years old and was slated to be replaced by a Windows 10 one with a CPU three times as powerful as the one in it with 32GB of RAM and supporting at least two monitors with the ability to add a video card to be able to drive four monitors. But that might not be needed with replacing my two office 23" monitors with two 32" monitors.

I have NO need for either high computer power or graphics. As I write this I have open 11 tabs in Edge, one file in Excel, listening to music on Windows Media player, have my email program open, and running SnycBack to backup up 28 different profiles to backup to five internal / external drives. I have QuickBooks open on the other computer. And, if I was also "working" right now I'd have open on this computer two large Excel files open plus Outlook.

This computer has 16GB of RAM, a nice performing I7 CPU, and supports the four monitors connected to it. It fits my needs.

To repeat we are a non-profit. Not a highly profitable business that can spend money on whatever is (ideally) needed. Though some people in my organization seem to think that is who we are!

Finally, are you saying that the other remote setup I described wherein I connect to it via my other home computer is subject to security risk by not connecting to that computer by being tied to its MAC address?

Vinny
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ochotona
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by ochotona » Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:09 am

Non-profits probably have looser security than say ExxonMobil... many have been hacked. If $10,000 goes missing from a non-profit is that less bad than $10,000 missing from ExxonMobil? I'm just the messenger. It is what it is. Accept the new deal or stop working for the organization. I'm not sure what to say beyond that.
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by vnatale » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:36 am

ochotona wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:09 am
Non-profits probably have looser security than say ExxonMobil... many have been hacked. If $10,000 goes missing from a non-profit is that less bad than $10,000 missing from ExxonMobil? I'm just the messenger. It is what it is. Accept the new deal or stop working for the organization. I'm not sure what to say beyond that.
The latter is something that I am considering. There has to be a balance between productivity and security. When security concerns end up bring you back to to the Dark Ages of Computing and, thus, affecting productivity so much then I'm questioning if the correct security solution was chosen.

Vinny
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by shekels » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:45 am

vnatale wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:04 pm

I needed an organization owned laptop to be able to access my office computer. I would not longer be able to access my office computer with my home computer.
What they are trying to tell you is that they are going to update and add/remove and possibly monitor the new computer without your permission.
Also will not allow an independent computer to breach the Firewall at the office.
They will not need your permission to update/monitor the new computer because it is will be a organization computer.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by Mountaineer » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:53 am

As an aside, I'm surprised you can't (won't?) update a 7 year old Win 7 computer to Win 10 - and I realize that will not solve the problem of your company wanting control over a "company" computer. I have a 10+ year old Dell 8400 desktop with an Intel P4 that upgraded just fine to Win 10. It's just s - l - o - w, but not really slower that it was with Win 7.
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vnatale
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by vnatale » Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:04 am

Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:53 am
As an aside, I'm surprised you can't (won't?) update a 7 year old Win 7 computer to Win 10 - and I realize that will not solve the problem of your company wanting control over a "company" computer. I have a 10+ year old Dell 8400 desktop with an Intel P4 that upgraded just fine to Win 10. It's just s - l - o - w, but not really slower that it was with Win 7.
The person who oversees all our computers and systems and myself, at this point, have the exact same old computers. We two had been in discussion and had been in agreement to have two super custom built computers built for us. She was supposed to have ordered the parts for the builder to have build the computer. Then, she had second thoughts, and thought that it might be better to buy a brand name computer with a warranty and that, perhaps, this new outside group should obtain the computers for us.

That was about a month and one-half ago. Then THE virus hit us big-time and nothing more was said to me about our new computers until last week when I received the email telling me my office computer was no longer sufficient and I needed to have a laptop at home to be able to continue to connect via VPN.

Plus, somehow, all of this was supposed to have been accomplished by this past Monday.

Getting a new office computer in the intervening time had been somewhat of a moot point for me as I continued to use my office computer for just one program (QuickBooks) while transferring all my other work to this computer. Outside of the email of last week I saw no urgency to me getting a new office computer when I was no longer working in the office and relying upon my present one in such a minimal way.

I absolutely LIVE on dropbox. If somehow the only way I'm going to be able to get files between my office computer and working on them at home is via an encrypted flash drive then I'm not going to be able to work that way. I gave up using flash drives once I started using dropbox so extensively. I refuse to be put back into the dark ages of computer and allow security to take precedence over productivity.

Vinny
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by shekels » Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:14 am

vnatale wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:04 am


I absolutely LIVE on dropbox. If somehow the only way I'm going to be able to get files between my office computer and working on them at home is via an encrypted flash drive then I'm not going to be able to work that way. I gave up using flash drives once I started using dropbox so extensively. I refuse to be put back into the dark ages of computer and allow security to take precedence over productivity.

Vinny
Good Luck with that.

Security will be priority going forward.
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by pugchief » Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:15 am

Can't IT just make a firewall exception allowing Dropbox?
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by shekels » Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:18 am

pugchief wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:15 am
Can't IT just make a firewall exception allowing Dropbox?
It may not be the program, but the Computer that is allowed on the network
.
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Re: Remote Computing Security!

Post by vnatale » Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:38 am

pugchief wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:15 am
Can't IT just make a firewall exception allowing Dropbox?
Don't know. I've been referred to this outside group to get my questions answered. I've countered that ALL of the answers to these questions should have been known by those who decided this solution and PRIOR to deciding upon this solution. For me it's part of the decision making process to ask and get all the answers. That's my style.

I'm having major problems with the way this was decided and now being implemented.

Vinny
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