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Published by Indrajit Banerjee
10 tips for remotely administering workstations
10 tips for remotely administering workstations

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Published by: Indrajit Banerjee on May 14, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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10 tips for remotely administering workstationsBySysnetadmin.co.cc
 Relying on various technologies to remotely administer workstations can save you asignificant amount of time and money. Here are some pointers to help youGet the most out of remote administration tools and tactics. 1 Know the hardware You may feel as though you have ingrained knowledge about your inventory of workstations—but do you really know it? Having critical information available isimperative to being able to remotely administer the workstation through the life of asystem. Consider the following factors:Is USB 2.0 available on all systems?Is there a DVD or CD drive? Can it write?What boot sequence have you configured—and how do you change it?What kind of connectivity back to your main back office is available?Knowing the answers to these types of questions will make a big difference in many of the situations you'll need to address in a remote administration role for workstations.2 Identify client firewalls and configurations If you have client firewalls in place, be sure you know what can and can't be done.Determine where and by whom any tasks can be performed (and how to disable that). Agood example would be trying to get a critical file or update to an application from anauto update mechanism or some other nonstandard source. While this "one-off"mechanism may sound simple enough, will all systems be able to access the update asexpected? 3 Know thy network  Many large enterprises put rules in place for remote locations that do everything fromlimiting traffic amounts for each site to restricting what traffic can occur from the remotesite to restricting MAC addresses that can connect on the remote site. For the plethora of tasks that are involved with remote administration of workstations, be sure to build your strategy around network traffic patterns that are permitted. Also know the procedure or  parameters to get the permitted traffic changed if possible.
4 Memorize command-line tools to save timeFor those of you who are dealing with low bandwidth connections, having your commonadministrative tasks memorized from a command line can save everyone's time. For Windows XP systems, consider memorizing the following commands:Compmgmt.msc — Computer Management MMC snap-in, a good hub of all types of information, including the Event Log, Device Manager, and Services.Ipconfig — The TCP/IP configuration utility. Some common parameters include /release,/renew, /flushdns, and /registerdns.Shutdown.exe — A tool to remotely reboot or shut down a system. With appropriate permissions, a system can be rebooted remotely as well. Net Use — can be used to map a drive, simply authenticate, or stop a mapping.5 Make everything as centralized and singular as possibleWhen possible, have every element of your workstation infrastructure collected in one place and one instance. The last thing you want to have to worry about is a large number of little file servers scattered around your enterprise. So for file storage, having remoteusers use the central resource is critical.That way, your backups and consistent security access policies are the same for your remote users as for your central users. Your IT costs will be lower and you'll ensure thatadministration and access are controlled in one manner regardless of location. A notableexception may be a large remote site with a number of users who may end up floodingthe remote connection between the sites with consistent traffic. If you have a remoteoffice that has, say, 40 people in it, a local file server may be appropriate, with backupsoccurring over the network, time and traffic permitting. By contrast, consider the exampleof a store, where you may have fewer than 10 users and only a few computers. In thissituation, you want to do everything possible to keep the IT footprint low.6 Have Internet distribution mechanismsFor remote locations, consider going directly to the Internet instead of using the VPN or wide area connection. For instance, say you need to deploy a large service pack for theclient operating system. If you are looking at a 300MB download for a handful of clients,deployment would not be possible on most remote connections. Certain clientadministration tools can manage distribution of packages over the Internet to help remotelocations and laptop users while away from the central network. For example, whenremote workstations (including laptops) are to receive their management packs throughthe Internet, iPass may provide the quickest download.7 Line up alternate connectivity options We all find ourselves using a tool in a primary fashion and being able to address 95% of our issues through that tool. For Windows XP, that would generally be Remote Desktop.

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