Every once in a while a magical bit of software comes along that makes life so very good; today that software is WebDAV and its been around so long that some people might have forgotten how good it is.
The premise goes
- You have one or more internal Windows Server(s) which hosts users personal documents and shared drives
- You would like your users to access these files on any device ranging from their home PC (running say Windows 7) to their personal mobile devices (iPad)
- You would like your users to access these files both inside and outside the firewall
- You would like your users to access these files natively (like a mapped drive) so they don’t have to muck around with web based applications
- You would like your users to be able to use this service with as little configuration on their part as possible
- All while maintaining a secure and auditable system
To accomplish this you will need a few things
- A valid paid for SSL certificate (don’t ever think you can get away with a self signed one) – personally I use a GoDaddy wildcard certificate
- A spare Internet Information Services (IIS) Server to host the WebDAV service on
- Depending on how things go 20 minutes
The basic topology is your clients point their WebDAV client at a DNS address which is mapped against a IP address which is port forwarded through your firewall to your IIS server which then serves requests to your file servers (clients don’t get to talk to the file servers direct). Don’t forget to setup your internal DNS to point to the internal network adapter of your IIS server as well.
In the next article I’ll run through the setup of a WebDAV server.