Tuesday, October 4, 2022

What Is Always On VPN

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What Is An Always On VPN

Always On VPN Deployment Guide

Always On VPN is Microsofts technology for Windows 10 clients that replaces Direct Access and provides secure remote access for clients.

Replacing Microsofts older Direct Access technology, the VPN connection is always on and securely connected to the internet after the connection is established.

Supported clients of Always On VPN versus DirectAccess include domain-joined and non-domain-joined clients, Azure AD-joined devices, and BYOD configurations.

Active VPN profiles connect automatically and remain connected for scenarios such as user sign-in, network state changes, or changes in the state of a device screen.

Always On VPN allows IT administrators to create secure VPN connections to applications hosted on Azure with minimal configuration.

To support Always On VPN, point-to-site VPN connections must be enabled on the Azure VPN gateway.

Through an Always On VPN, enterprises are able to deploy a VPN connection with minimal additional rules or settings, meaning users will experience a smoother, faster and more reliable connection.

Create A Package Containing The Profilexml Configuration Script

  • Host the script VPN_Profile.ps1 on a network share that the site server computer account can access.

  • In the Configuration Manager console, open Software Library\Application Management\Packages.

  • On the Home ribbon, in the Create group, click Create Package to start the Create Package and Program Wizard.

  • On the Package page, complete the following steps:

    a. In Name, type Windows 10 Always On VPN Profile.

    b. Select the This package contains source files check box, and click Browse.

    c. In the Set Source Folder dialog box, click Browse, select the file share containing VPN_Profile.ps1, and click OK.Make sure you select a network path, not a local path. In other words, the path should be something like \fileserver\vpnscript, not c:\vpnscript.

  • Click Next.

  • On the Program Type page, click Next.

  • On the Standard Program page, complete the following steps:

    a. In Name, type VPN Profile Script.

    b. In Command line, type PowerShell.exe -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -File “VPN_Profile.ps1”.

    c. In Run mode, click Run with administrative rights.

    d. Click Next.

  • On the Requirements page, complete the following steps:

    a. Select This program can run only on specified platforms.

    b. Select the All Windows 10 and All Windows 10 check boxes.

    c. In Estimated disk space, type 1.

    d. In Maximum allowed run time , type 15.

    e. Click Next.

  • On the Summary page, click Next.

  • On the Completion page, click Close.

  • With the package and program created, you need to deploy it to the VPN Users group.

    What Perimeter 81 Offers Your Organization

    Security on All Devices: BYOD policies multiply the number and variety of devices connecting to your network. Always On VPNs can offer authorized, secure access for all devices and remote workers no matter the details.

    Cloud Agnostic Integration: The ease with which a VPN alternative integrates into any cloud-based platform or service enables organizations to protect all their resources in a unified fashion.

    Superior Quality Assurance: Connecting to the Business VPN through a diverse global server array helps the QA and marketing teams determine how best to target different markets, and how successful current efforts are.

    Safe Remote Access: Automatic Wi-Fi security lets remote workers connect to sensitive resources from the public internet without fear of exposure, while encrypted tunnels shield data sharing from prying eyes.

    Precise User Segmentation: Beyond the capabilities of traditional Cloud VPNs, the addition of granular policy-based permissioning helps organizations exercise greater control over those entering their network.

    IP Whitelisting: Explicitly define the IP addresses that are allowed to access the network, granting IT teams a stronger grip on security and also the ability to assign static IPs to automatically trusted sources of traffic.

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    Configure The VPN Client By Using Windows Powershell

    To configure the VPNv2 CSP on a Windows 10 client computer, run the VPN_Profile.ps1 Windows PowerShell script that you created in the Create the profile XML section. Open Windows PowerShell as an Administrator otherwise, you’ll receive an error saying, Access denied.

    After running VPN_Profile.ps1 to configure the VPN profile, you can verify at any time that it was successful by running the following command in the Windows PowerShell ISE:

    Get-WmiObject -Namespace root\cimv2\mdm\dmmap -Class MDM_VPNv2_01

    Successful results from the Get-WmiObject cmdlet

    The ProfileXML configuration must be correct in structure, spelling, configuration, and sometimes letter case. If you see something different in structure to Listing 1, the ProfileXML markup likely contains an error.

    If you need to troubleshoot the markup, it is easier to put it in an XML editor than to troubleshoot it in the Windows PowerShell ISE. In either case, start with the simplest version of the profile, and add components back one at a time until the issue occurs again.

    How Does An Always On VPN Work

    Always On VPN: Why you should use this new remote access ...

    Always On VPN connections use two types of tunnels: device tunnels and user tunnels for secure remote access services.

    Device tunnels connect to VPN servers before users sign in to a network approved device. Connectivity use cases needing pre-sign authorization or device management scenarios also can enjoy device tunneling.

    User tunnels, on the other hand, connect only after users sign into their device for accessing organization resources through the Always On VPN service.

    Because device and user tunnels operate separately from their VPN profiles, they can be connected at the same time and use different authentication methods or configuration settings.

    Always On VPNs use the default Windows 10 built-in Extensible Authentication Protocol for secure authentication via username and password or certificate-based login methods. EAP-based authentication can be used only with a built-in VPN type such as IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP or Automatic.

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    Windows 10 Always On VPN Configuration

    As a stated direction, Microsoft is moving away from DirectAccess which we have used for many years in favor of Windows 10 Always on VPN. In the example documentation from Microsoft all of the configurations use Windows RRAS and NPS. I would rather use a Fortigate configuration, but I’m new to the platform and looking for some best practices and sample configurations for both the Fortigate and Windows 10 client side.

    Specifically with DirectAccess there was an infrastructure tunnel established when the laptop booted using a machine certificate for authentication. Windows 10 Always on VPN has a similar concept with Device + User Tunnel with split tunneling and I would like to continue that configuration. Users have gotten used to just booting the laptop logging in via smartcard and they are in.

    Any help or guidance on the Fortigate configuration to make this work would be much appreciated.

    Have you got anybody replied to you? I am looking for the same solution…

    This document from Fortinet explains the process:

    This document from Fortinet explains the process:

    I think the documentation you will need for Fortigate configuration when setting up Microsoft’s Always on VPN is this:

    p1/p2 auto negatiation plus DPD and NAT Keepalive might be helpful.

    “It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.” – Douglas Adams

    Microsoft Always On VPN Advanced Features

    There are many advanced features that are found in the AOVPN technology from Microsoft including:

    • High Availability
    • Additional Security Protection

    High Availability

    To ensure high availability with AOVPN, you can load balance traffic between multiple Network Policy Servers and also use clustering technology with Remote Access. To provide geographic site resilience you can use the Global Traffic Manager with DNS in Windows Server 2016.

    Advanced Authentication

    The AOVPN supports Windows Hello for Business that replaces passwords with strong two-factor authentication including biometric or PIN. Additionally, you can use Azure Multi-Factor Authentication that can integrate with Windows VPN.

    Advanced Traffic Features

    Advanced features such as traffic filtering, app-triggered VPN, and VPN conditional access can all be used with the Microsoft AOVPN to further filter and secure traffic.

    Additional Security Protection

    Microsofts AOVPN is compatible with Trusted Platform Module Key Attestation to provide higher security assurance for access.

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    Configure The VPN Client By Using Configuration Manager

    In Configuration Manager, you can deploy VPN profiles by using the ProfileXML CSP node, just like you did in Windows PowerShell. Here, you use the VPN_Profile.ps1 Windows PowerShell script that you created in the section Create the ProfileXML configuration files.

    To use Configuration Manager to deploy a Remote Access Always On VPN profile to Windows 10 client computers, you must start by creating a group of machines or users to whom you deploy the profile. In this scenario, create a user group to deploy the configuration script.

    Always On VPN Features

    Always On & On Demand VPN – How It Works

    The trend of remote working has been rapidly increasing over the years, making the need for VPNs all the more necessary. However, VPNs are also common vectors for cyberattacks, so security needs to be a priority.

    With Always On VPN, network administrators can maintain standard configurations their devices and machines have the highest level of security. Traffic filtering allows admins to manage and restrict remote user access. Combining Always On VPN with Azure AD grants admins conditional access, meaning they can create custom parameters, attach them to users, and base user access based on those parameters.

    Always On VPN can be integrated with Azure MFA and Windows Hello to further strengthen network security measures.

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    Remote Access As A Ras Gateway VPN Server

    In Windows Server 2016, the Remote Access server role is designed to perform well as both a router and a remote access server therefore, it supports a wide array of features. For this deployment guidance, you require only a small subset of these features: support for IKEv2 VPN connections and LAN routing.

    IKEv2 is a VPN tunneling protocol described in Internet Engineering Task Force Request for Comments 7296. The primary advantage of IKEv2 is that it tolerates interruptions in the underlying network connection. For example, if the connection is temporarily lost or if a user moves a client computer from one network to another, IKEv2 automatically restores the VPN connection when the network connection is reestablishedââ¬âall without user intervention.

    You can manage Remote Access Service Gateways by using Windows PowerShell commands and the Remote Access Microsoft Management Console .

    Create The Always On VPN Configuration Policy

  • If you are creating a custom VPN profileXML, see Apply ProfileXML using Intune for the instructions.

  • Under the Base VPN tab, verify or set the following settings:

  • Connection name: Enter the name of the VPN connection as it appears on the client computer in the VPN tab under Settings, for example, Contoso AutoVPN.

  • Servers: Add one or more VPN servers by clicking Add.

  • Description and IP Address or FQDN: Enter the description and IP Address or FQDN of the VPN server. These values must align with the Subject Name in the VPN server’s authentication certificate.

  • Default server: If this is the default VPN server, set to True. Doing this enables this server as the default server that devices use to establish the connection.

  • Connection type: Set to IKEv2.

  • Always On: Set to Enable to connect to the VPN automatically at the sign-in and stay connected until the user manually disconnects.

  • Remember credentials at each logon: Boolean value for caching credentials. If set to true, credentials are cached whenever possible.

  • Replace the < ServerNames> NPS.contoso.com< /ServerNames> in the sample XML with the FQDN of the domain-joined NPS where authentication takes place.

  • Copy the revised XML string and paste into the EAP Xml box under the Base VPN tab and click OK.An Always On VPN Device Configuration policy using EAP is created in Intune.

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    What Certificates To Use

    In this blog, I am using self-signed certificates but in an actual production-like environment a verified CA would be recommended

    Create self-signed certificates as below

    Create a Root CA and Client self-signed certificates


    Both certificates now available in your Personal Certificate store of current user

    Moving On From Directaccess

    Always On VPN  Microsoft: Jarno Baselier

    When Microsoft released Forefront Unified Access Gateway in 2007, it included a new feature for Microsoft: DirectAccess . DA has lived on in Windows Server as an optional Remote Access role service.

    For several reasons, not the least of which is a complex dependency on Group Policy, DA has not been adopted widely and successfully. The successor solution for easy remote worker client connectivity is called Always On VPN.

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    Configure And Test The Always On VPN Client Connection

    All the magic of the Always On VPN is in the VPN client connection file imported to the Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016 computer.

    The profile is created by a script named VPN_Profile.ps1, and you generate the script from a computer that is already successfully connected via RAS using a manually-configured VPN profile named template.

  • On the computer with the working template VPN connection, download the latest MakeProfile.ps1 script from Microsoft:
  • Edit MakeProfile.ps1 to configure the parameters at the top of the file similar to that shown in Figure 2. The $DnsSuffix, $TrustedNetwork, and $DomainName parameters will usually be the same, except for $DomainName having a leading dot .
  • Figure 2- Modify the sections in the green box at the top of MakeProfile.ps1, name your model VPN connection template

  • Run MakeProfile.ps1 in an elevated PowerShell session on the client computer. The template VPN connection information will be merged with the edited parameters to create the files VPN_Profile.PS1 and VPN_Profile.xml on the Desktop. These are the only two files you need to proceed to deploy Always On VPN.
  • Install the Always On VPN client VPN connection via these methods:
  • Local: Run VPN_Profile.PS1 locally in an elevated PowerShell session
  • SCCM: Distribute VPN_Profile.PS1 via SCCM as a standard PowerShell script
  • How Does Always On VPN Work

    Always On VPN is a solution that allows a client to automatically establish a VPN connection without any user interaction. The technology that makes this possible is the VPNv2 CSP node, which is built into Windows 10. This CSP allows the built-in Windows 10 VPN client to be configured using an MDM solution , or PowerShell.

    The server side of a typical Always On VPN deployment requires at least one VPN server and one authentication server. A common solution is to use Windows Server with the Routing and Remote Access role installed for the VPN server, and Windows Server with the Network Policy Server role installed for the RADIUS server. However, these servers do not need to be Microsoft servers. Third party solutions or appliances can be used. Additionally, a certificate authority is required to issue certificates to the servers and clients. The certificates will be used to authenticate the VPN connection.

    The Windows 10 VPN client can be configured to connect a user authenticated tunnel or a device authenticated tunnel. Both types of tunnels can be connected simultaneously if required.

    User Tunnel

    The User Tunnel is established when a user logs into a computer. This type of tunnel is ideal for granting access to file shares or applications.

    Here is a high-level overview of the connection process for a Always On VPN user tunnel.

  • The VPN client sends a connection request to the external IP address of the VPN server
  • Device Tunnel

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    Active Directory Certificate Services

    The Certification Authority Server is a certification authority that is running Active Directory Certificate Services. The VPN configuration requires an Active Directory-based public key infrastructure .

    Organizations can use AD CS to enhance security by binding the identity of a person, device, or service to a corresponding public key. AD CS also includes features that allow you to manage certificate enrollment and revocation in a variety of scalable environments. For more information, see Active Directory Certificate Services Overview and Public Key Infrastructure Design Guidance.

    During completion of the deployment, you will configure the following certificate templates on the CA.

    • The User Authentication certificate template

    • The VPN Server Authentication certificate template

    • The NPS Server Authentication certificate template

    Always On VPN: Why You Should Use This New Remote Access Technology

    Always On VPN

    Editors note: In response to the coronavirus crisis gripping the world, TechGenix is republishing a selection of recent articles, tutorials, and product reviews with relevant information for IT pros as their jobs change dramatically and their businesses switch to work-from-home technologies. In this article, originally published May 1, 2018, we look at Always On VPN, the remote access solution from Microsoft.

    DirectAccess was once touted by Microsoft as the best solution for enterprises wanting to provide secure, seamless and transparent, always-on remote corporate network connectivity for managed Windows clients. Originally introduced with Windows Server 2008 R2, DirectAccess was designed to streamline and simplify the end users remote work access experience. DirectAccess communication is also bidirectional, which allows IT administrators to better manage and support their field-based assets.

    DirectAccess, however, proved difficult to implement and manage for many enterprises so they tended to look elsewhere for third-party solutions like Cisco AnyConnect or even LogMeIn to plug the gap. Not to be outdone by other parties, Microsoft decided to introduce a new technology in Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 that is designed to do all that DirectAccess promised and more. This new remote access technology is called Always On VPN and to help us understand it I asked eight-time Microsoft MVP Richard Hicks to walk us through its capabilities and benefits for enterprises.

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    Always On VPN Overview


    Windows 10 Always On VPN is the replacement for Microsofts DirectAccess remote access technology. Always On VPN aims to address several shortcomings of DirectAccess, including support for Windows 10 Professional and non-domain joined devices, as well as cloud integration with Intune and Azure Active Directory.

    Types Of Deployment Scenarios For Microsoft Always On VPN

    There are actually two deployment scenarios for the Microsoft Always On VPN technology. These include:

    • Always On VPN only
    • Always On VPN with VPN connectivity using conditional Azure Active Directory access

    What is the conditional Azure Active Directory access?

    Conditional Azure Active Directory access factors in how a resource is accessed into an access control decision. These automated access control decisions help to secure access. The conditional access factors in such things as the sign-in risk level, location of the request, client application, etc.

    This helps to strike the balance needed with protecting resources and allowing end-users to be productive and progress to not be impeded unnecessarily.

    A few examples of the factors that are taken into account for either granting access or denying access are the following:

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