UPDATE: If you currently use DirectAccess, we recommend that you investigate the newer Microsoft Always On VPN functionality. For more information on load balancing Microsoft’s recommended solution read Application Experience for Remote Workers using Always On VPN.
Your TOP questions on Remote Access are all answered here by Richard Hicks, MVP, Mobility & Enterprise Expert
Microsoft DirectAccess is a VPN like remote access technology that is a core component of the Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Access role. DirectAccess is a unique solution that is designed to replace traditional VPN access. It provides secure, seamless, transparent and always-on remote access to corporate networks for clients running Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, and now, Windows 10.
Windows 10 support is welcome as over half of the 110 million managed Microsoft clients in Enterprise deployments have adopted the latest release. Eager as they are to get the new features Windows 10 offers, such as the new improved Start menu, the modern Edge web browser, Cortana – the intelligent personal assistant, Windows Hello authentication, and many other improvements.
DirectAccess provides these advantages over most traditional VPN solutions:
- Active Directory Domain joined client computers connect automatically rather than connections being user initiated
- Connections seamlessly work through all firewalls
- Supports selected server access when connected
- Can use IPSEC authentication to corporate servers
- Supports end to end encryption of the connection
- Provides transparent failover to another corporate network access point or site if required
- Supports offline domain join for clients that have never been on the corporate network
- Allows central IT staff to manage the remote computers over the DirectAccess connection
The integration with standard corporate Domains and the ability to manage clients remotely is very compelling especially for maintaining a client population that is remote and mobile with users who seldom connect directly to a corporate network.
Windows 10 and DirectAccess work really well in concert to provide a true remote access solution for Windows based clients. One that users will not have to struggle with, and one that IT and security staff can be confident about using.