“A big win is that we can now securely manage our connections and credentials in a way that is easy to update, easy to share, and easy to protect. It is also incredibly easy now to add access for a new technician to a certain scope of connections and/or credentials, just by proper placement in AD groups. No more emailing connections or storing them in a network location, no more texting credentials, and so on.”
—Eric Olmstead, SBT’s Building Automation Senior Programmer
Siemens Building Technologies (SBT), an Operating Division of Siemens AG, is a global electronics and information technology company that employs more than 40,000 people worldwide. The enterprise provides a complete offering of technical infrastructure for security, comfort and efficiency in buildings.
SBT’s West Sacramento, California, branch IT team manages approximately 30 servers, and supports the high-tech needs of both customers and the local office. However, the team was constantly facing several remote connection management-related challenges, including the following:
- There was no way to organize, manage and share connections to customer sites and servers/clients in an efficient and secure manner.
- Since some customers didn’t permit backdoor access to their networks through the use of third party proxies (e.g. TeamViewer, LMI, G2A, etc.), the team had to use VPN access from their local office’s external IP.
- Sharing credentials with customer servers, clients, and local office servers was a difficult and costly task.
As a result of these issues, SBT identified that its remote connection solution, RDCMan, was ineffective and had to be replaced. According to Eric Olmstead, SBT’s Building Automation Senior Programmer, “RDCMan crashed often, was an unsupported and antiquated tool, and was very difficult to manage and share connections.”
SBT’s Solution: Remote Desktop Manager
SBT searched online for a solution and discovered Remote Desktop Manager. According to Eric, “RDCMan had failed me yet again on that particular day, and I was in the mood to solve the problem once and for all. After a quick browse of Remote Desktop Manager’s available features and solutions, I decided to dive right in to a trial of the software. Immediately, my stress dissolved as I became familiar with the potential that the product possesed.”
Two weeks into the trial, SBT decided to purchase a Remote Desktop Manager Enterprise License, and to set up a complete SQL server backend to handle the storage of the DB and the synchronization tasks. The team has also developed a Single Sign-On system and integrated it into their private, non-corporate domain.
Since implementing Remote Desktop Manager, SBT’s IT team has solved its challenges and continues to enjoy significant advantages, including the abilities to:
- Create connections on one user account, sync up to an SQL database, and propagate to other users automatically.
- Allow offline edits for certain users, which can either be accepted or rejected upon reconnection to the SQL server. As such, the team can securely manage who has access to these sites using the remote desktop protocol.
- Develop GP OU’s in their private domain, specify user access according to group participation, and structure RDM’s tree to inherit certain relationships with these groups. This provides RDP and credential exposure to only those who need access, thus limiting the exposure of the username, password, and RDP ports being used.
- Simply manage connections, update the database, and share credentials. For example, the team can easily make AD GP changes that propagate to RDM whether adding new users, moving users to new groups, or removing user access altogether.
SBT’s experience with Remote Desktop Manager has been so positive and impressive that Eric is also using it for his other company, “Olmstead Technologies”, which provides: custom website design, support and hosting; AD design, configuration and support; network engineering, configuration and support; and custom coding and scripting development (PS, VBA, etc.).
Here’s Eric’s view on what he likes most about Remote Desktop Manager:
“This is an easy one. The ROI. For a nominal fee, paid only one time, RDM can be used by an unlimited number of people – in our case, it is a single domain license – and it satisfies all requirements for security and manageability. And above all, the support is second to none. The forum is filled with application knowledge, experience, and possible uses. The tech support is incredibly quick to answer, acts professionally, and provides the expected expertise to quickly solve the issue at hand.”