Case Study: CranstonIT

An Intuitive and User Friendly VPN

CranstonIT is a professional IT services company that assists businesses in and near Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Cleveland Ohio. CranstonIT provides information technology services for Mac, iOS, and Windows platforms — with a focus on solutions that help businesses integrate Apple and third-party technologies. Their comprehensive management platform and expertise help businesses leverage their full IT potential, and their certified system admins are dedicated to providing comprehensive computer and network support via managed services, ensuring their client’s IT environment is continually maintained to the highest standards in the industry.

The Challenge

One of CranstonIT’s clients used a software application called Solidworks for 3-D modeling. Using the application meant there needed to be a software license that could be checked by a querying Solidworks’ licensing server. The licensing server was located in the client’s office data center, which meant that the client’s employees were restricted to using the software only when they were connected to the corporate network. The client turned to CranstonIT for a solution that would allow remote employees to use Solidworks as well.

CranstonIT had previously used VPNs associated with their client’s firewalls but found that those solutions were often difficult to configure, and challenging to integrate with other directory services that they wanted to use with their clients. CranstonIT started looking for an intuitive and user-friendly VPN solution that was easy to set-up, configure, and integrate — and after testing several different solutions, ended up choosing OpenVPN Access Server.

Our Solution

CranstonIT deployed OpenVPN Access Server as an appliance on the client’s VMWare ESXi virtualized data center. They configured Access Server to just tunnel the traffic to the Licensing Server through the VPN so that the remote employees could have direct internet access for all other purposes. The client used JumpCloud (and OpenVPN partner) IDaaS for authentication, because the solution works well with Access Server over LDAP. Google Authenticator was turned ON to provide MFA.

Remote employees wanting to use SolidWorks on their computers now just need to connect to the corporate network over VPN to get SolidWorks working.

OpenVPN Access Server provided CranstonIT with a solution that was easy to configure. The company launched the full OpenVPN Access Server in just under an hour and was able to configure it in just fifteen minutes. To meet their needs, they were able to configure specific settings, install a valid SSL certificate to get rid of the security warning on the web service, add user accounts, set up granular access control, and more. The flexibility provided by OpenVPN Access Server allowed CranstonIT to integrate with any directory service — providing secure remote access to all of the organizations they serve.

“When we switched to OpenVPN it solved both of our main issues. We were able to quickly and easily configure and integrate the Access Server. OpenVPN is the easiest VPN solution to deploy while maintaining the highest level of security for your users and clients.” -Patrick Cranston, President of Cranston IT

Further Reading