Taking a break this week gives me precious time to figure out something useful for my trading in the long run. I was stuck with the problem of Remote access to my main trading computers and home servers for a long time. This week I figured out what to do and am happy that I finally find a satisfactory solution to trading with all my tools anywhere.
Advantage of Having Remote Access on Trading Computer
I mentioned before the advantages of using Remote Desktop. I even wrote an article explaining how to do it like a pro. Personally, even when I trade at my home office, I use remote desktop to access my trading computers that are located in my server room. The benefit of that is to isolate the trading computers so that they can operate at peak performance since they are running my charting and trading platforms only. It also enables me to remote access the same trading computers when I am travelling so that I do not need to duplicate my settings on my laptop.
I also access my emails through an instance of remote desktop to one of my computers where I run my email program. This is to safe guard myself from virus and other bad things that can potentially affect my trading. I receive way too many spam and junk emails everyday that this precaution is actually necessary.
Disadvantage of Common Remote Access Methods
I used to access my trading computer remotely with direct remote desktop offered by Windows. Since then I tried multiple remote access platforms but all of them have their problems. With Windows remote desktop, its protocol is well known and that even if you change the port it is still an easy target once a bot find out that the port is open. Believe it or not, I find out my home network is scanned by bots on daily basis. I have also learned that it is happening to every one who has internet access regularly. Hacking into home network is a big business nowadays.
Another disadvantage with Windows Remote Access or other direct access platforms is that you need to hardwire the rules of routing at the router level for each computer you plan to access to. It is very annoying as I have multiple computers I like to access to anywhere.
Finally, if I have to access my computers remotely from a public location using an insecure connection, my security can be compromised easily if someone patched the internet connection there to monitor the traffic through the public access point.
Better Solution Is Using Virtual Private Network
By setting up Windows VPN on one of my computers, I am now able to access my trading platforms and other computers remotely without very messy setups at the network level. The access is clean and more secure than exposing remote access ports directly. The technical specifications for VPN communication is more secure. Once connected it is as if you are accessing your network as one of the computers within the same network.
Using VNP has its disadvantage – it adds onto the bandwidth cost for whatever you are doing remotely. Hence my bandwidth usage of remote desktop increases when it is done through VPN. This can be compensated with twisting of the RDP settings within Windows which I will document in a Tech Tip article in the future.
The great thing with using VPN though, is that the scanning of my open ports by the bots no longer leads to attack of the open port that frequently. Obviously, hackers prefer easier targets.
The One Time Cost
But why implementing the VPN solution now? Isn’t it something available for a long time?
Well, setting up Windows VPN has a catch – on the computer that has VPN connection, it cannot have Remote Desktop activated at the same time. Hence I need to set up an extra computer for this purpose only. I also need to remove all the extra routing rules I have put on my network to secure it. It is not a straight forward task and doing it slowly over several days helps me making sure everything is done correctly.
Another issue I faced was the lack of desktop space on my laptop. The older versions of Windows before 8.1 do not have all the necessary features in Remote Desktop to make it possible to display all my trading screens within one HD display. And laptops with HD display were not available at reasonable price before Windows 8.1 was released. Thus the technology was not really there until about one and a half year ago.
I am relieved that one more hanging project is now done. It is time well spent because down the road it will be important to me to be able to access my computers anywhere in the world securely. I am very happy that I am one big step towards my dream of carrying my trading business anywhere as I no longer need to put the data and applications for my trading and research onto every laptop I use.
This post first appeared on Stress-Free Trader (The Lawrence Chan Blog) | Dayt, please read the originial post: here