Simple but easy way to access office mac mini 'server' from home?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mach1andy, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. mach1andy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    I hope I'm not asking a question that's been anwered a bunch already. My office has a mac mini acting as a server and we'd like to be able to access it from our home mac's. It has its own IP address and it on 24/7.

    How might one connect to this 'server' from home?

    *Also, if we have a external disk hooked up to it, would it show up when accessing it remotely?

    Thank you Macrumors members for always helping out!
     
  2. Sherman Homan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    #2
    Your mileage may vary, but there are four basic issues. You would need to know your office router's IP address. The server preferably should be on a known static IP address on the office local network. The router needs to then allow port forwarding from its public address to the server's address. Then you need to punch a hole in the office firewall to allow traffic from the outside to get in. These issues can be really simple, or depending on who is responsible for running the network, they can be impossible!
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    Open of the firewall and the Mini will be accessible to you AND to me and to everyone else in the world. Making it accessible is easy keeping the reast of the world out is not.

    Ideally you'd use a more sophisticated firewall that had rules that would only allow certain people in or anyone in after authenticating with a password. You are in luck because such a fire wall is built into BSD UNIX and becasue Mac OS X is based on BSD it to ha the firewall. Bad news is that none of the sophisticated features are exposed in the graphical user interface. You will ned to use a test editor and read some books.

    Another idea is to not worry so much and set up just enough access and just enough security. You can have the mac Mini's web server and FTP server and ssh server opened up and nothing else assessable to the Internet and control access via user accounts in the Mini. I'd suggest going this route but slowly, one service at a time.

    Move any bussines critical data off the machine first. If loss or compromise of the data would be harmfull do NOT keep it on a Internet connected server unless YOU are the one who can answer other peoples security questions. It's best to buy a second mini to use for this. A server that points both to the Internet and to the offic network is never the best idea.

    One more idea: Set up a VPN. (Virtual Private Network) Many routers allow this and make it somewhat easy.
     
  4. mach1andy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    A VPN might be the solution. Certainly, it would need pretty heavy encryption and proper authentication. Is setting up a VPN simple/complex? Are there any resources you know of (documents) that you could point me in the direction of? Many thanks!

    The computer is on its own Static IP address btw,,,
     
  5. Sherman Homan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    #5
    Do you mean that your mini has its own public, static IP address?! That it is not behind a router or behind a firewall? :eek:
     
  6. mach1andy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #6
    I should've been more clear. We have an extra static IP address that we're not using. It isn't currently hooked up.-- so no, not a public one. Our printer got a virus last week because it was on its own IP addy and was public and was accessing ports sending virusus. Things haven't been exactly secure, which is why this server needs to be locked up like a fort, allowing only those with a complex key to enter.
     

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