How to manage teleworking workstations without VPN with WAPT?

by | Nov 10, 2020 | Working from Home

There is no longer any doubt that 2020 is the year of the implementation of telework. The health crisis only has the advantage of democratizing this practice. For some organizations, this transition has been smooth because the infrastructures were already adapted to this type of situation. For others, it was necessary to act quickly because this approach was not widespread in the organization.

Today, the challenge is to stabilze the methods and tools put in place urgently to manage IT workstations in teleworking. We propose you a short tutorial to easily manage teleworking workstations, with or without VPN. To do so, nothing better than our software deployment solution: WAPT.

Can we manage teleworking workstations without a VPN?

There is no concrete advantage to manage teleworking stations without a VPN. Many organizations have suffered from the hasty implementation of telecommuting.Some organizations may not have been able to implement a VPN solution. Users may also not need a VPN to work (cloud services, for example), and therefore do not activate it regularly.

Luckily, WAPT makes it possible to manage teleworking workstations, even without a VPN. So you can deploy software and configurations without worrying about network issues or user behavior. Setting up teleworking is good. Managing it properly is better!

The steps to follow to manage teleworking stations without VPN:

Here are, in only 5 steps, how to manage telework stations without a VPN:

  1. Install WAPT.
  2. Create a WAPT package dedicated to teleworking.
  3. Create a record on your external DNS.
  4. Configure certificate authentication.
  5. Use a reverse proxy (bonus).

Before going into details, a little precision is necessary! As you have seen, we have decided to use WAPT to complete this tutorial.WAPT allows us to complete this tutorial in less than 5 minutes. We invite you to do better and to share your performance with us in the comments!

1. Install WAPT :

To install WAPT, you will need to create a WAPT server. This server will have to contain your domain name, such as “wapt.tranquil.it” for example. It will also have to be on a public IP address, usually in DMZ.

To manage the emergency with peace of mind, don’t hesitate to use WAPT Enterprise for 30 days. This trial period is renewable, if necessary. You will receive the installation documentation at the same time as your trial license.

2. Create a WAPT package dedicated to teleworking:

Now that WAPT is installed, you will need to go to the console to create your first WAPT package. The purpose of this package is to modify 2 values of the wapt-get.ini file on WAPT agents. From your Windows machine running WAPT, open a command prompt and write: “wapt-get make-template [package name]”.

Again, our documentation is here to help you. Here is the content of the package to be modified, depending on the name of your server:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
from setuphelpers import *
uninstallkey = []

def install():
   wapt_server_string = “https://wapt.tranquil.it”
   repo_url_string = “https://wapt.tranquil.it/wapt”
   inifile_writestring(WAPT.config_filename, “global”, “repo_url”, repo_url_string)
   inifile_writestring(WAPT.config_filename, “global”, “wapt_server”, wapt_server_string)

3. Create a record on your external DNS:

To continue, you will need to create a record on your external DNS. In our example: “wapt.tranquil.it ==> Public IP address”.

You can also create a record on the internal DNS with “wapt.tranquil.it ==> Local server IP address”. This way WAPT agents are sent back to the local WAPT server when they are on the local network of the organization.

If you don’t know how to do it, this documentation explains how to create a DNS record in graphical environment with Windows RSAT.

4. Configure certificate authentication:

To configure certificate authentication on the client, the easiest way is to follow our documentation.

5. Use a NGINX type Proxy reverse (Bonus) :

This step is optional and a bit complex! Nevertheless, it brings more security to your information system. To achieve this, you will have to put your WAPT server behind a NGINX type reverse proxy server. If you don’t know how to do this, we recommend this blog article to help you.

And that concludes this tutorial. From now on, you can manage computer workstations from home, even without a VPN!

Manage teleworking workstations with WAPT

WAPT is the software deployment and IT asset management solution we have developed! It is a versatile tool that will be useful to you to manage all computer stations, even teleworking computer stations:

  • Package deployment allows you to install, update or uninstall any software or configuration on any computer workstations.
  • With IT inventory management, you benefit from a lot of information directly in the WAPT console. You can easily follow the status of your computer equipment.
  • With WAPT Self Service, you can let users install software that you have previously approved yourself.
  • And many other features!

By using WAPT to manage the implementation of telecommuting, you keep the advantages of a local network, without the constraints.

Go Farther with WAPT Enterprise

WAPT Enterprise is the ideal tool to quickly deploy software, make a complete inventory of your computer park or control Windows updates. Many features are also designed to simplify the administration of the largest IT assets. Still some doubts? You get one month free to try WAPT Enterprise!

How to correctly implement teleworking?

Even if the health crisis tends to prove the contrary, the implementation of telework is a process that takes time. Each organization has its own information system, its own needs and its own security measures to be respected. The IT team must do a real adaptation work before starting this type of project. Setting up telework requires several elements to be calculated:

  • Space: How to dispatch the organization’s resources?Do all employees have the capacity to telework? etc, etc.
  • The equipment : Does the organization have sufficient resources to enable everyone to telework at the same time? Do employees have to keep the equipment at home? Etc, etc.
  • The tools: Do the teleworking computer workstations have all the software so that everyone can work in good conditions? Obviously, WAPT Self Service is there to help you.
  • Security: Whether we’re talking about physical security or cyber security, there are many things to measure! The objective is to ensure that every access is secure.
  • Collaboration: You must also think about adapting the missions of all employees to maintain a good level of efficiency and synergy. It’s up to you to find the right ratio of teleworking for that!

All these elements allow you to consider an optimal implementation of teleworking. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different, especially during this particular time. For many organizations, the implementation of telework had to be done urgently. So, if you want to read more about it, you can discover our special teleworking focus or review our dedicated webinar!