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I administer a website that runs on IIS on one box, and SQL Server 2008 Workgroup on another box. typically I remote into the DB box and run SSMS to work on the db, but I would like to be able to access the db directly with SSMS on my local box. I've seen the other questions about allowing remote access to the database, but my question is, is this safe? I'm concerned that I'm opening a hole in the firewall and potential for hack attempts. Is this just a bad idea in general?

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Are you asking if it is ok to remotely manage SQL 2008 from the internet or from your local box on an internal network? – August Jan 5 '11 at 20:25
from the Internet – dave thieben Jan 6 '11 at 2:01
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It is safe, provided that you have a VPN between you and the production server. If you don't have a secure VPN tunnel then you will want to keep RDPing into the database server and using the tools from there.

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thanks. I'm mostly wondering because some web hosts offer SSMS access to SQL databases over the Internet w/ a hosting package, so it seems like it should be reasonable to do so. – dave thieben Jan 6 '11 at 19:22
yes they do, however it does leave those servers open to attack as they are publicly available. – mrdenny Jan 6 '11 at 19:37

With the proper security in place, this is pretty harmless.

Is the SQL server on the same network as your local box? If so, then allowing SSMS access to your local box would be harmless.

If the SQL server is on a separate network, I would first establish a secure VPN connection to the network (using L2TP/IPSEC or similar) first, and then use SSMS from your local box.

If the server IS on a remote network and you don't have access to a secure VPN connection, I would continue to RDP into the SQL box like mrdenny stated.


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Someone can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but is there a way to block remote SSMS, but still allow other remote connections to SQL Server (i.e Table queries?). I thought they all ran through the same ports/protocols, and the only way would be to disable network access to SQL Server entirely.

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What you'd be looking at is setting up SQL users and giving them specific rights. SSMS connects to SQL the same way a third party app would connect. – KJ-SRS Jan 5 '11 at 21:50

Requiring all connections to be encrypted is a good idea.

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