Want to increase the encryption level of your online connections? Wish to improve your Windows Server’s security? Remote Desktop Gateway (RDP gateway) is a good solution for you. In this article, you’ll learn about Remote Desktop Gateway and its features and advantages. Moreover, you can learn how to configure an RD gateway server.
An Introduction to Remote Desktop Gateway by Routerhosting
RDG stands for Remote Desktop Gateway. RD Gateway, or RDG, is part of Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services or RDS. Using RD Gateway, you can connect securely to a server that can help you connect to resources on a corporate network from any external remote computer. In this method, both SSL and RDP (remote desktop) protocols are leveraged to increase the security and the encryption level of connections between you and the remote network. In fact, RD Gateway is a windows server role that uses the SSL (Server Socket Layer) over the RDP server.
Why is RDGateway more secure than public RDP?
The main benefit of this method is that you don’t need to use a VPN. Using the SSL channel, RD Gateway can tunnel directly to the remote server to increase the security of RDS. This security is achieved via encapsulating the session in the Transport Layer Security (TLS).
You can even combine RDGateway with RD Web Access to let users connect to your Published Remote apps using Internet Explorer (IE) via a Web Proxy. This is also available on iOS and Android systems.
In order to understand the exact function and meaning of an RD Gateway, first we need to understand the RDP.
What is RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) ?
RDP is a protocol developed by Microsoft for connecting two parties, remotely. Since Remote Desktop Protocol has some vulnerabilities to brute force attacks, Microsoft provided a solution for RDP-related security and introduced RD Gateway (RDG) in Windows Home Server and Windows Server 2008 by using an RDP endpoint server behind a firewall.
Moreover, this technology offers other security features such as Multi‑Factor Authentication (MFA) and RDP traffic encryption by using TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. But for cyber security challenges, there is no complete solution. RDG does not mitigate all the security and encryption issues. It just helps with some issues.
8 Advantages of Remote Desktop Gateway
Here is some advantages of RDP Gateway:
- No VPN Required. There is no need to establish and use any Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Proxy connection. RD Gateway will establish secure connections over RDP to a corporate network or computer.
- Enhanced Security. RDGateway uses SSL encryption, which enables remote users to connect to internal network resources hosted behind firewalls in private networks and NATs (Network Address Translators).
- No Third-Party Sites. There are many remote-access solutions available, but most of them require your connection to pass through a third-party website or service. Providing a Point-to-Point RDP connection, RDG allows remote users to connect directly to internal network resources.
- RDG is Part of Windows Server. Remote Desktop Gateway is a native Windows Server service, and part of Remote Desktop Services (RDS). This means it will run natively and smoothly, and is safer to use.
- Versatile, Configurable, Many Options. You can have an RDS that many users can log into at the same time. You can configure it for company employees to connect remotely to their work PCs. In any case, the same connection to Remote Desktop Gateway works as a bridge to the company computer the employee is using. You don’t need to worry about IP addresses or DNS servers.
- Network Access Protection. You can utilize NAP for more security. This option is available in RD Gateway configurations. Though, remember that only computers running Windows 7, Vista, or XP SP3 can use NAP clients, and Windows Server 2008 and R2 are not allowed when RDP gateway enforces NAP.
- You can use RD Gateway with Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) in order to enhance security. In this model, you will host RDP Gateway in a private network and ISA server in a perimeter network.
- You can monitor the status and events of RD Gateway via Remote Desktop Gateway Manager. You can also specify other events such as unsuccessful connection attempts to RDG.
How To Set Up RD Gateway Server Role on Windows Server ?
We suppose you have already joined the Windows machine to a domain name and named them accordingly. Now, click on Start, point to Administrator Tools and open the Server Manager.
- On the domain controller page, add all the servers to the Server Manager console by clicking on Manage > Add Server, or simply right-click on All Servers and select Add Server.
- Then go to “Add roles and components“
- On the “Installation type” page, select “Installing roles and components“.
- In this stage, you have to select the current server.
- Server Role – Remote Desktop Service
- Then, go to the role service and select “Remote Desktop Gateway”.
- After confirmation, click the “Install” button.
RDP Client Configuration
- On the client machine, run mstsc
- Settings page will appear. On this page, select Advanced.
- Select Use these RD Gateway server setting.
- Enter the address of RD Gateway in Server name. For example rdg.test.com.
- Go to the General tab and specify the address of the remote RDP server.
- Click Connect.
- In RD Gateway Server Credentials, specify the domain credential (for example test\administrator as username).
After you authenticate with enrolled authentication method, mstsc prompts to specify credentials for Remote RDP server.
Best Practices for Additional Security on RDP gateway (remote desktop gateway)
We have some suggestions for you in order to increase the security while using RD Gateway server:
- Establishing an RDP with port number 3389 can open your network to many kinds of attacks. Therefore, to improve your security while using the RDP Server, do not allow direct access to servers or clients from off-campus. In fact, once an RDP gateway has been set up, the configuration of hosts should only allow RDP connections via the gateway host.
Changing the listening port for the remote desktop will help your connections to stay hidden from hackers. This will protect you against those who scan the network for listening on the default RD port (TCP 3389), and against the latest RDP worms such as Morto.
- To do so, use the following registry key:
- Tunneling Remote Desktop connections/sessions by SSH or IPsec gives you an extra layer of security, authentication, and encryption.
- Using RDP Gateway in order to find a way for restricting all unwanted access to Remote Desktop Ports. In this option, remote connections will be supported via a single gateway server. Once an RD Gateway server is used, all Remote Desktop Services on your workstation or your computer will be restricted in order to allow access from RD Gateway only. RD Gateway uses port 443 (HTTPS) and connects the client to the Remote Desktop Services for providing more security.
- Use third-party SSL credentials that are authenticated over the internet, instead of self-signed credentials. Although, it’s ok to use self-signed credentials for testing and programming.
RD Gateway is a Remote Desktop Gateway Server that allows users to connect to another network from any external computer. This service uses both SSL and RDP protocols to improve security, encryption, and authentication on remote connections. In this method, a gateway is established over RDP, and communications are made via the RD Gateway.