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I have a client that is a business. The people at this business are not in anyway computer savvy. I was asked to make a file server for them. This server will need to have four shares with a hierarchical structure. Example; Executive Administrators share, Administrators share, Supervisors Share, and Care Givers share. The Exec. Admins. will have access to all the shares. The Admins will have access to the Admin share, Supervisors share and Care Givers share, the Supervisors will have access to the Supervisors share and the Care Givers share, and the Care Givers will only have access to the Care Givers share.

I have set this up in Samba on Ubuntu. This is set up and working fine.

The problem is this. They are going to be giving some of the employees, from each of the levels, netbooks to take to on site jobs, and they want to have access to these shares over the internet. The employees with the netbooks will not have desktop computers, the netbooks are going to replace their desktops. And everyone will have their own computers, either a desktop or a netbook.

I need a solution. Anything more complicated than clicking on a folder is not an option, the employees are going to be using Windows XP(Desktop computer) or Windows 7(netbook) depending on the system they end up using.

Please help.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

It seems like the easiest solution is to set up a VPN that will connect the netbooks back to the office. Configure the VPN client to automatically connect and -- ideally -- the employees won't have to worry about whether they are physically at the office or working somewhere else. From their perspective, everything should Just Work. This obviously requires a little configuration and testing on your part, but it's a pretty common solution to exactly the problem you've described.

There are a variety of VPN solutions out there. OpenVPN is a nice cross-platform solution (I'm using it under OS X, Linux, and Android right now), but I don't have any experience with the Windows client. Cisco obviously sells products in this space, and there are a variety of other options out there.

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OpenVPN works well in windows too. I use it to connect to ubuntu server without problems since years. There is a windows GUI client on openvpn site that places an icon in tray and you only click on it to connect/disconnect the VPN. – laurent May 24 '12 at 3:13
Thank you very much, I was thinking about VPN, however I hadn't much experience with it. I wasn't sure if it would be a simple interface for them. But now I know. Thank you. – Beniled May 25 '12 at 17:55

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