Tuesday, 8 September 2009

SBS 2008 Remote Web Workplace Plus Its URL DNS Requirements

Perhaps one of the more common questions seen on various forums are around the Remote Web Workplace or accessing the SBS server domain via some sort of remote access method.

The simplest out of the box way to access the SBS Domain is via the Remote Web Workplace.

The portal was put in place for SBS 2003 and was and is the Killer App for SBS and small business.

When the user first hits the SBS 2008 RWW site, they will see the following:


A username and password request with the requisite visual cues indicating that the site is as secure as their banking site (third party trusted certificate installed).

As a side note, there is no reason to run with the SBS self-issued certificate anymore. The administration grief involved with maintaining remote connectivity via Windows Mobile, Windows desktop OSs and Outlook is too costly in the long run. A GoDaddy certificate is absolutely inexpensive to purchase and install.

Sean Daniel even has a great blog post on how to install that GD certificate:

So, we have our brand new SBS 2008 (setup checklist post) or migrated SBS 2008 (Our Migration Guide) ready to fly into production.

One of the most critical steps to complete before any new or migrated server is put into production is the following:

  1. The client’s Web domain registrar is sourced and the logon information for managing that domain is acquired.
  2. The client’s Web domain host is sourced and the logon information for their Control Panel or other such domain details management is discovered.
  3. The URL for the Remote Web Workplace on SBS 2008 is settled on with the client.
  4. The DNS A record pointing to the SBS 2008’s gateway ISP IP is set in place in the domain hosting DNS management console or Control Panel.

Out of the box, SBS 2008 sets the following domain during the Internet Address Wizard (using one of our domains as an example):

  • remote.sbshosting.ca

However, during the Internet Address Wizard we can click on the Advanced link and change the prefix “remote” to whatever we need such as “mail” or “smtp” if the DNS A already exists for the client’s external IP address.

Okay, so we have our client’s domain hosting all figured out, the next step is to take note of the various URLs used to access the various SBS server services using one of our own domains as an example:

The RWW portal once logged in looks like:


For most users, the simplest way to gain access to their remotely accessible resources is to start in one spot. That is the RWW.

  • Outlook Web Access
  • Remote Desktop connection with the list of computers restricted to the user presented. No computers allowed? Then no list at all.
  • Companyweb SharePoint site link.
  • The ability to manage the additional links listed under the three standard RWW buttons.
  • The user can change their pass phrase in RWW or Outlook Web Access.

For those that are a bit more advanced in their abilities to get around SBS remote access they can bookmark or save shortcuts for the various needs.

From there, we can explore the Office 2007 and SharePoint integration then get really into some of the efficiencies presented with both plus Windows 7 (previous blog post).

In our experience, once the business owner has seen the Remote Web Workplace and all of its remote access goodness in action SBS 2008 becomes a very easy sell.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*All Mac on SBS posts will not be written on a Mac until we replace our now missing iMac! (previous blog post)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Finally I found the solution to my (simple) need for the correct URL for RWW. Amazing how many sites didn't think to include this important detail.