This is part two in a series of questions related to DirectAccess and VPNs. Last week, we addressed why VPNs are still necessary with Windows 8.
Question: Does DirectAccess have any hardware requirements?
Patrick Oliver Graf: While DirectAccess doesn’t require the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) – based virtual smart card capabilities in Windows Server 2012/Windows 8, it is an optional component. It’s worth noting, as small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, often use Windows consumer PCs that do not feature TPM. However, Microsoft does require TPM to be enabled and configured for its employees who wish to enable DirectAccess connectivity. VPN solutions do not have such requirements.
Question: Does DirectAccess in combination with Windows 8 supersede VPNs?
Patrick Oliver Graf: No, it does not, because Windows 8 systems are only able to use DirectAccess to communicate with servers and clients in pure Windows environments. Users of mixed environments cannot forego a VPN, if their environments include Linux Server, MacOS computers or end devices running on the Android operating system. The BYOD trend will only put further momentum towards environments with a multitude of platforms, which will further diminish the influence of DirectAccess.
Moreover, a lot of companies and public institutions, like educational institutions or authorities, have already implemented a VPN infrastructure. Those customers will unlikely abandon their VPNs in favor of Windows 8, in combination with Windows Server 2012.
Stay tuned as Patrick addresses more questions related to DirectAccess and VPNs. If you have any questions that you would like answered, send them to email@example.com.
Patrick Oliver Graf is General Manager at NCP engineering.