Networking Unplugged

Perspectives on the reinvention of networking in the cloud era

Posted June 11, 2015
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Extend AD to remote sites and users

For many system and network administrators, Active Directory (AD) provides a critical tool for maintaining security and control of servers, desktops and users within an office and across the campus. However, it can be challenging to extend AD domains to smaller remote sites, mobile users and newly acquired organizations. While there is a number of options available, most are costly and difficult to implement and maintain.

Options for extending domains to remote sites include deploying MPLS or IPSec VPNs. But MPLS is prohibitively expensive for many and IPSec VPNs can require new hardware and complex configurations. Extending domains to mobile users introduces another set of issues. SSL VPNs do not provide true domain membership and users lose the transparent, office LAN experience. Equipping mobile users with Remote Desktop (RDP) or other forms of terminal services have the same domain trust issues and introduces new vulnerabilities like exposed IP addresses and port forwarding. User experience in terms application and file browsing and printing is also compromised. When companies want to incorporate public cloud virtual machines into the picture, these legacy WAN options become even less desirable.

Pertino has collaborated extensively with enterprise customers and cloud-driven companies to reinvent wide-area networking for the new set of challenges IT organizations face as mobile and cloud deployments proliferate. One byproduct of this collaboration is ADConnect—a virtual service that runs on Pertino cloud networks and lets IT teams deploy AD servers anywhere while extending secure, domain-enabled connectivity to remote sites, servers and users. Pertino with ADConnect takes just minutes to deploy, does not require hardware or complex configurations and lets you pay as you grow.

One company that is benefiting from Pertino cloud networks is Midas Hospitality, a hotel management company with properties across 13 states. Previously, all hotel assets and users were on local workgroups. The IT team spent 20-30 minutes per device—per month—to deploy and software and configuration updates. With the company's unyielding growth, this was not sustainable. Midas solved this dilemma by deploying a Pertino cloud network to connect their hosted AD servers and extend domain services, like group policy ad updates, to each property while still maintaining a separate corporate domain for office employees. You can read more about their story here.

Pertino cloud networking makes it easy and cost effective to ensure remote users always authenticate to the AD at log in (rather than their cached credentials) and extend AD domain services anywhere. Healthcare companies and services organizations that work in highly regulated industries are required to comply with federal regulations like HIPAA, PCI, and ISO. To meet these strict guidelines, one of the key requirements is password management. I’ll save the discussion of this topic for future blog post.

Want to learn more? Check out the Pertino datasheet, watch our ADConnect video or view a slideshare on how to set it up in just a few steps.

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