DirectAccess is a new feature in Windows 7 along with Windows Server 2008 R2. This particular feature gives users an environment and experience working remotely as they would be working in the office. Due to the amount of globalization and employees traveling all around the global village, it is necessary that they connect to the corporate network where ever they are to perform their certain tasks.
Yes, we had Virtual Private Network (VPN) as a solution for this all these days. But still we needed something better than VPN due to certain challenges like,
Connecting to a VPN connection is tedious, it takes numerous steps a user has to perform. This can be really troublesome for a newbie sales personal
VPN requires a thorough end user training on how to connect and basic troubleshooting steps if a user couldn’t connect.
Establishing a VPN connection is not instant and it takes some time, this can be really annoying when you are at the airport and wanted to send that one last mail before you board the aircraft
In some instances VPN traffic might be blocked
These are some of the issues which required a new technology and Microsoft as always came up with it.
When a user connects a notebook or a mobile computer which has DirectAccess configured to the internet, it automatically establishes a bi-directional connectivity between the notebook and the users organization (Corporate network). This enable a user to be connected to hi corporate from a coffee shop using a WiFi, or an Air Port.
DirectAccess uses IPv6 and IPSec to generate this connection where IPSec will be used for authentication and Encryption technologies such as AES and DES will be used for Encryption of the data to make it secure. In the backend when the client establishes a connection it creates an IPSec tunnel to the Windows Server 2008 R2 DirectAccess Server to flow the IPv6 data.
For administrator with Network Access Protection (NAP) feature can make sure that all the clients are up to date and meet the Organization Health policies even if the users are roaming as they will be connected to the corporate network as soon as they are connected to the internet.
DirectAccess is an Enterprise Feature and require Windows 7 Enterprise/Ultimate and it is not available on any other editions and the DirectAccess Server should be a Windows Server 2008 R2 or later.
For a complete list of requirements please click here
For the DirectAccess Technical Overview Document click here