Set up Windows Defender
New to the Windows 2016 Essentials Dashboard is the convenient configuration of Windows’ anti-malware suite – Windows Defender. You can enable Windows Defender from the Dashboard to provide real-time protection for your data and keep an eye on your security status via the Dashboard’s Health Monitoring and Health Reporting tabs.
Your server should have enabled Windows Defender by default, but that may not necessarily be the case. Hit the Click to enable Windows Defender command to get started. Your server will check Windows Defender status and enable the feature if required.
Set up Anywhere Access
Anywhere Access on a Windows Server 2016 Essentials computer consists of two components, RWA (Remote Web Access) and VPN (Virtual Private Network). From a computer that has the Dashboard connector installed, one can securely access the server and computer desktops on the LAN from any remote location through a web browser. You can still access the computers on the Local Area Network from computers that have not had the connector installed, the downside is that the connection is not a secured connection. This is the RWA side of Anywhere Access.
The VPN half of Anywhere Access uses a protocol that is basically a network connection similar to your NIC adapter connection. However, using VPN, instead of connecting directly to the Internet, a remote computer actually accesses the local network from that remote location through the Essentials server and then back out to the Internet. This connection is encrypted and is therefore secure. When dealing with potentially sensitive material, you want that secure connection when using a public network.
To set up your server for Anywhere Access, select the appropriate setup option in the Dashboard, then click on the Click to configure Anywhere Access item.
A wizard opens to begin the Anywhere Access process. Click Next.
As you’d expect, the Anywhere Access wizard offers an automated method to configure your server – and indeed your router – for remote access. On the server side, the wizard works well however, automatically configuring routers can be problematic. It’s worth attempting the automatic setup, but if you struggle, you’ll see an option is included to skip the router setup. Select this and you’ll need to manually forward the relevant ports on your router to the server’s IP address.
The first task is to configure a domain name for the server. In the following screen, you are given the choice to use a domain name you already own or to set up a new domain name. We are going to use the second option:
So, click on the “I want to set up a new domain name” radio button and click Next. In the next screen you are asked if you want to purchase a domain name or get one from Microsoft.
As the Microsoft route is the easiest way and cheapest (free) way to go for demo purposes, we will select that option. Obviously, if you need a business/personal domain, you can pick one up.
You need to have a Microsoft account to use a free .remotewebaccess.com domain. However, as with the domain name from Microsoft, this costs you nothing. To obtain an account, click the Sign up now link and register. Be sure to record the account name and password and save it in a secure place for future use!
Once you have your account, enter the details and click Sign in. The wizard begins the process, and in this case, produces a list of domain names associated with my particular Microsoft account.
Create a new domain name, and click on the Check availability button.
- The name can contain a maximum of 63 characters.
- Only letters, numbers, or hyphens (-) are allowed. The name must begin and end with a letter or a number.
- Please note that the Domain names are not case sensitive.
If that domain name is available, you will get the message as noted below, and it is time to click on the Set up button. Otherwise, if you wish to use a previously registered name, select it from the dropdown menu and click Next.
The registration process begins and if all goes well you get the following screen. You now have your Domain set up for remote access, and all that is left to do is click on Next to enable the Anywhere Access features.
Based upon your particular needs are for remote access, you can set up a VPN connection and access to the server from a web browser.
Tick the appropriate boxes and click Next.
In the next screen, the default option is to allow remote access to anyone with the appropriate credentials. You may want to uncheck this box and decide on a per user basis whether remote access is needed.
Once decided, click Next to finally complete this task. Keep an eye on the wizard as it’ll test connectivity to your server from outside the network to ensure remote access has been correctly configured. The troubleshooting steps published in case of an error are really useful for identifying and resolving any problems.
Once you have remote access configured, click on the Close button to take you back to the Dashboard.