Accessing a printer remotely to access user usage

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brainwave89

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I have two networked printers in different locations that I want to access to view how much users have printed on them. This would be easier than traveling to the locations.

What ways could I access them remotely to accomplish this goal?

Thank you for looking.
 

Fireflycph

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You could RDP to a server/workstation there and then access the Web Management page of the printer (if it has one)

Or even better, as @zx10guy states, use a VPN connection to access the network.

As for the RDP. It's not a good idea if you don't have a static IP on the initiating end. Then you can setup a rule in the firewall to allow and forward that traffic. If you do not and want to use RDP, then at least change the Default IP port used by it from 3389 to something else.
 

brainwave89

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Thank you both. Do you have any recommendations on what VPN method is preferred?
 

Fireflycph

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Do you have any recommendations on what VPN method is preferred?
Not really. It depends on which device you have as a router/firewall. Some have their own VPN clients, Sonicwall is one.
So you'll need to look at the device and then the manual to find out how to set up a VPN connection.
 

zx10guy

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I used to use IPSEC SHA-1 AES256 encryption for my VPN solution for my home network. It required client software to be installed. First was with Netgear's ProSafe line of VPN routers/firewalls. Then I moved to Cisco ASAs. I then migrated on the ASAs to SSL VPNs. I have to say, going the SSL VPN route is the way to go for remote access. So much more flexible than using IPSEC where you can have to modes of operation: full client installation or clientless. The first is similar to the IPSEC solution I mentioned. The second allows you to not worry about having any client software installed. You just launch a web browser. Connect to your public IP which your SSL VPN concentrator should be answering on. Authenticate. And that's it. The SSL VPN concentrator acts as a proxy for any connections to your internal network. You can customize the desktop/home screen you have based on user account. So you can have icons on your workspace which corresponds to specific type of utilities or connections to resources.

I started using Cisco's Anyconnect SSL VPN. I then migrated to Juniper's solution. Now I use SonicWall's SMA solution. The only downside with SSL VPNs is it still requires some pretty in depth technical knowledge to set up and I am not aware of any free solutions. Juniper used to offer their solution for free as a virtual machine. Juniper spun off that solution and I lost track of it. You can get an old ASA 5505 which is licensed to support 2 SSL VPN connections. But the learning curve to set it up on an ASA is pretty steep.

But I've done precisely what you're looking to do on a couple of occasions. I remoted in to my network via my SonicWall SSL VPN solution on my Android smart phone. Connected to the web interface for my Lexmark multifunction color laser. And configured it to answer phone calls to receive faxes.
 

brainwave89

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I used to use IPSEC SHA-1 AES256 encryption for my VPN solution for my home network. It required client software to be installed. First was with Netgear's ProSafe line of VPN routers/firewalls. Then I moved to Cisco ASAs. I then migrated on the ASAs to SSL VPNs. I have to say, going the SSL VPN route is the way to go for remote access. So much more flexible than using IPSEC where you can have to modes of operation: full client installation or clientless. The first is similar to the IPSEC solution I mentioned. The second allows you to not worry about having any client software installed. You just launch a web browser. Connect to your public IP which your SSL VPN concentrator should be answering on. Authenticate. And that's it. The SSL VPN concentrator acts as a proxy for any connections to your internal network. You can customize the desktop/home screen you have based on user account. So you can have icons on your workspace which corresponds to specific type of utilities or connections to resources.

I started using Cisco's Anyconnect SSL VPN. I then migrated to Juniper's solution. Now I use SonicWall's SMA solution. The only downside with SSL VPNs is it still requires some pretty in depth technical knowledge to set up and I am not aware of any free solutions. Juniper used to offer their solution for free as a virtual machine. Juniper spun off that solution and I lost track of it. You can get an old ASA 5505 which is licensed to support 2 SSL VPN connections. But the learning curve to set it up on an ASA is pretty steep.

But I've done precisely what you're looking to do on a couple of occasions. I remoted in to my network via my SonicWall SSL VPN solution on my Android smart phone. Connected to the web interface for my Lexmark multifunction color laser. And configured it to answer phone calls to receive faxes.
Thank you zx10guy. That was great information!
 

zx10guy

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Thank you zx10guy. That was great information!
You're welcome. One thing I forgot to elaborate on. I would not expose any RDP ports for remote access. For that to work, you have to directly expose a Windows box to the raw Internet. That is something I am not comfortable with.
 

Fireflycph

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You're welcome. One thing I forgot to elaborate on. I would not expose any RDP ports for remote access. For that to work, you have to directly expose a Windows box to the raw Internet. That is something I am not comfortable with.
That's why I recommended that it only be done if he had a static IP on the originating end. Thus allowing for a firewall rule to ONLY allow that IP.
 

zx10guy

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That's why I recommended that it only be done if he had a static IP on the originating end. Thus allowing for a firewall rule to ONLY allow that IP.
Still doesn't matter. You're now depending on the built in Windows firewall to keep out any hacking attempts. I'm not comfortable enough with relying on Window's firewall to protect the entirety of my network.
 

Fireflycph

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No, I wanted to emphasize that it MUST be a hardware security device. I never trusted, liked and used the Windows firewalls.
But @zx10guy , I probably should have made that clear.
 

zx10guy

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I still don't understand what you're getting at. If you are proposing to use RDP for remote access, regardless of whether there is a hardware firewall in front passing the traffic or not, you're still exposing that box physically to the Internet. Meaning some box running RDP services has to be listening in. So even if you set up firewall rules on a hardware firewall to only allow specific traffic, that Windows box is still exposed to the Internet. The only way I would see this being some what secure is if that hardware firewall is a DPI firewall. Not many places have made the jump into next gen firewalls because of the costs. Not only is the hardware more expensive due to additional processing loads required to analyze each packet going through the firewall, the size of the firewall has to be increased because the throughput of the firewall drops dramatically from SPI operation to DPI operation.

And if someone does go through the expense of buying a DPI firewall, these firewalls will already have SSL VPN capability so why not do it right the first time?
 
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