Create your own Virtual Private Network for SSH with Putty


I have multiple Linux machines at my home. Previously, when I needed SSH access to these machines I used to setup port forwarding on my router to each of these machines. It was a tedious process of enabling port forwarding and then disabling it after use. It was also difficult to remember port number forwarded for a particular machine. But now I found a cooler way to get SSH access to all my machines at home without setting up port forwarding or remembering any port numbers and most importantly, I can address my home machines with local subnet IP address, no matter wherever I connect from the internet.


  1. Remote machine with Putty installed in it.
  2. Home router’s internet accessible IP address or dynamic DNS (DDNS) address.
  3. One/more Linux/Windows machine(s) to which direct SSH access is required.
  4. On the router, port forwarding is enabled for SSH service to at least one of these machines.


The basic idea to get this working is that we make one initial SSH connection to our home machine. Then using this connection as a tunnel we can connect to any machines at home by addressing them with local sub-network address (such as 192.168.x.x). So the high level steps are:

  1. Open a putty session and configure it to act as a tunnel.
  2. From this session connect to your default SSH server at home.
  3. Open another putty session and configure it use the previous putty session as proxy.
  4. SSH connect to any machine at home using the local subnet IP address. Since we are using a proxy it will resolve the local subnet’s IP address properly.
  5. You can make any number of connections to all your home machines by just repeating steps (3) and (4).
    Note: If on the remote network’s subnet is same as your home network’s subnet then you might run into IP conflicts.

SSH VPN with Putty


1) On the remote system, open putty enter the IP address or dynamic DNS (DDNS) name in the host name field. Select “SSH” as connection type. Port 22 will be selected which can be left alone unless you run the SSH service on a different port. Note: Though your putty screen might look a little different than the one seen here due to version differences, the basic steps would be still the same

In our example,
Host Name =
Port= 22

Remote home system network details

2) In putty, on the left-hand navigation panel, open SSH option and select “Tunnels”.

In the tunnels screen, set these values
Source Port: 3000 (this is the port at which our proxy service listens to, this port can be changed to any but preferably a number larger than 1024)
Destination Port: (Leave Blank)
Finally, select “Dynamic” from the radio button options.

Tunnelling information for the proxy

3) Important: Click “Add” to add the tunnel settings to the connection.

Tunnel settings added

4) On left-hand navigation panel, move the scrollbar to the top and click session. You will be seeing the settings entered in step(1). Now we can save the whole connection settings. Add a name for this connection in the saved sessions textbox and click save.

Saving the connection settings

5) Click open, to open connection to home machine, and enter login and password information for the remote machine. This user need not be root user, but it needs to be an user with network access on the remote machine. That brings to the end of putty configuration. Now you have a proxy tunnel connection from remote machine to one of the home machine. Now we are ready to connect to any home machine.

6) Open another putty session. Select the options “Proxy” from the navigation panel. On the right-side proxy options, enter only the following information. Don’t change any other settings.
Proxy type               : select “SOCKS 4”
Proxy hostname     : enter “localhost”
Port                            : 3000

Proxy Settings

7) Click on the “Session” option from the navigation panel. Enter a name under “Saved Sessions” text field. Don’t enter any information in the “Host Name” field. Now click “Save”. Now we have a template connection session using our proxy.

Proxy template

8 ) Now enter local subnet IP address of a machine at home and click open. The connection gets routed through the proxy tunnel and you will be connected to the home machine directly. Similarly you can connect to another home machine by opening putty and loading the template we created and just filling in the machine’s local subnet IP address.

Connect to home machine with local IP address

Microsoft Word Productivity Hacks Every IT Manager Needs to Know

A Forrester report suggested that more than 90% businesses offer Office to their employees. This stat alone captures the essence of the kind of stronghold that MS Office has in terms of enterprise document management and productivity software. Among all Office sub-products, MS Word and MS Excel, without a doubt, are applications that most office employees use at least once a day. These applications have become the mainstays of how ‘text’ and ‘table’ formats of data are essentially interacted with, by end users. MS Word, specifically, is a pillar of office productivity.


Here’s Something Interesting about MS Word

So, almost everyone who’s anybody thinks he/she knows MS Word. Maybe you are, but maybe you’re not. That’s because Microsoft keeps on adding more features to its Word application, and not many users realize how much value these lesser known features can add. Microsoft has recently acquired a startup called Intentional Software, to ramp up its abilities around automation and simplifying programming for collaborative Office 365 products. Emails, reports, proposals, and letters – you name it, and there’s MS Word involved. It’s surprising how even the busiest and smartest IT managers don’t do the effort of understanding lesser known Word features to get the most out of the software.

With this guide, there’s no looking back; here are some super cool productivity hacks for MS Word.


Extracting All Images from an MS Word Document

Stuck with a product manual with 100+ screenshots, and tasked with creating a new guide, re-using the old pictures? How do you copy and paste so many images separately without losing a lot of valuable time? Here’s a trick.

  • Use the Save As the option to save the Word document.
  • Select Web Page as the target format.
  • Once you save it, Word creates a .html file, along with a folder that contains all the embedded images.
  • Now, all you need is to go to this folder, and you have your images waiting for you.


Copying Multiple Sections from a Long Document

For IT manager who needs to go through long reports, and is tasked with creating executive summaries, MS Word’s Clipboard feature is a godsend.

Using this feature, you can quickly review the last 24 selections of text and images you copied from the document! All you need to do is to go to the Home tab, look for the Clipboard button, and click on it.

This saves you vital time as you can visit the Clipboard anytime to take a quick look at whatever you selected and copied. This, for obvious reasons, proves invaluable particularly when you are trying to mark important content sections, to review them or collate them later.


Real-Time Co-Authoring

For IT managers hard pressed for deadlines, and those working closely with other managers and executives to prepare proposals and review documents, co-authoring is a tremendous productivity hack. This is the equivalent of co-authors sitting next to each other and working on the same content.

Co-authoring enables users to see everyone’s changes as they happen in the document, facilitating super quick feedback. MS Office support guides explain co-authoring as a 3-step process.

  • Save your document to SharePoint Online, or OneDrive.
  • Send out invites to people to edit the document along with you.
  • When this shared document is opened, each invitee will see the work that was done by others (supported by MS Word 2016, Word Android, and Word Online).


View Documents Side By Side

Pressing ALT + Tab to switch between two simultaneously opened Word documents can be disorienting. It certainly isn’t the best way to compare documents. If you don’t want to use the ‘Compare’ feature in the ‘Review’ tab of MS Word, and only want to go through two documents side by side, there’s an option.

  • Open the two documents you wish to view side by side.
  • Go to the View tab.
  • In the ‘Windows’ section, click on ‘View Side by Side’ option
  • If you also want the two documents to scroll simultaneously, you can click on the ‘Synchronous Scrolling’ button.


Pin Files to ‘Recently Used’

Ask an IT manager who needs to prepare daily, weekly, and monthly reports, as to what a mess it can be to maintain basic templates, which you can edit and repurpose into newer reports. No more ‘search’ hassles, because you can keep your trusted and ready-reckoner files pinned to the ‘recently used’ tab.

Here’s how you can add a document here:

  • Go to the File tab
  • Click on Open to see a list of files that have been only recently used
  • Click on the ‘Pin this item to the list’ button


Make Your Documents Easier to Read

If your supervisor or boss keeps on requesting re-work on documents because of ‘readability’ issues, you know how much time can be lost in attending to the ambiguous feedback. No need to put up with any of it any longer, because MS Word brings you two globally trusted readability tests, built right into the tool. These tests are:

  • Flesch Reading Ease test
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test

Here’s how you can use this feature:

  • Go to File, and click on Options.
  • Go to Mail > Compose Messages > Spelling and AutoCorrect
  • Select Proofing.
  • Look for an option called ‘When correcting spelling in Outlook’; under this, check the ‘Check grammar with spelling’ box.
  • Check the ‘Show readability statistics’ box.


More Productivity Hacks

Apart from all the nifty tricks we covered above, there’s a lot more you can do with MS Word. For instance:

  • Transferring ODT files with Microsoft Word Online and Google Docs (useful while you’re working with startups and vendors that use open source document management software, saving files in ODT format)
  • Keyboard shortcuts, such as Ctrl + Alt + V, to access formatting options while pasting content from one section to another.
  • Press ALT, see how shortcut indications pop up at the top of the menu bar, telling you which key you can press to access the associated action quickly.


Concluding Remarks

Chances are that it will still take time before you get your personalized AI-powered robot assistant to take away your Office applications work. Till then, trust the kind of productivity hacks as presented in this guide to make work quicker, better, and more fun.



Author: Rahul Sharma

Top End User Computing Trends that IT Leaders Need to Sync up within 2018


The world of end computing continues to evolve at breakneck speed. Enterprise employees want the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere, using any device, any web browser, and experience the kind of UX they like. Enterprises have every reason to work towards delivering this experience, because it boosts productivity, enables workplace mobility, and enhances the work experience of employees. In a world where innovations from personal space are seeping into business workplaces, it’s imperative for IT leaders to be on the top of the trends in end-user computing. We’ve covered some of the most important ones in this guide.

Contextualized Security

End-user computing security hardly requires any underscoring as one of the most important trends that IT leaders need to track and stay on the top of. In 2018, however, it’s likely that enterprises will start making the move to implement contextual end user computing security mechanisms.

Contextual security takes several user-specific variables into account to determine the right security-related action. These variables include:

  • The roles and privileges assigned to the user
  • The roles and privileges assigned to the parent group the user is a part of
  • The most commonly used transactions, applications, and processes for a user
  • The average session length
  • The general set of locations from which secured application access is made by the user
  • The browser, IP, and device the user uses to access enterprise data

These technologies are hence able to create unique user profiles, match user behavior to the profile, and based on any deviations, can initiate tasks such as:

  • Blocking access
  • Reporting potentially malicious activity to the IT security team
  • Alter the user profile to allow the deviation, following a proper mechanism of authorizations and approvals.

The Role of AI, ML, and DA in Enhancing End-User Security

Masters of the end user computing market are focusing on enhancing the state of existing security technologies by leveraging the prowess of data analytics (DA), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). Organizations are already spending a lot on AI technologies, and hence many of them already have a strong base to build their futuristic end user computing security towers on. IT now has more sophisticated, data backed, and pattern dependent methods of detecting intrusion. Security technologies in 2018 will start offering inbuilt analytics and machine learning capabilities to transform the end user computing world for the better.

Managing Complexity of Device Diversity

Gone are the days when the average enterprise had merely desktops, laptops, and VoIP phones on employee desks. Today, the range of devices used by employees in a tech-powered enterprise is expansive, to say the least. There are satellite phones, handheld devices to record information, barcode scanners, tablets, smartphones, smart speakers, and whatnot. And, we’re at the edge of the transition to Industrial Revolution 4.0 powered by IoT. To make the ecosystem more complex, there are too many operating systems, web browsers, and communication protocols in play.

Managing this complexity has been a challenge for enterprises for some time now. It’s just that in 2018, they will see the giants in the end user computing market release products that help them out. Today, enterprises want that their employees should have access to their personalized desktops on whichever computer they use for their work, anywhere. These are virtual desktops, and already being used aplenty by enterprises across markets. In 2018, the leading vendors will look to make their VDI services available across device types, and address operating system variations.

Diminishing Lines Between Commercial and Business Apps

Dimension Data’s End User Computing Insights Report in 2016 highlighted how several enterprise rates their state of business apps maturity lowest among six areas. This stat truly captured the need for businesses to start focusing on delivering superior app experience to end users. Because these end users are accustomed to using terrific apps for their routine life management (productivity, transportation, note taking, bookings, communication, data management, etc.), their expectations from equivalent business apps are as expansive. This makes it important for IT leaders to keep a stern eye on the progress of business apps at their workplaces. An important trend in this space is the use of personalized app stores for user groups, as made possible by Microsoft Windows 10 app store.

Increased Adoption of Desktop as a Service

DaaS must be an important component of the virtualization strategy of any enterprises. Now, traditionally it’s been seen that services such as Amazon WorkSpaces have been restricted to only being viable for disaster recovery and business continuity planning. However, it’s going to be exciting to watch for developments in this space throughout 2018.

  • Vendors are likely to release updates that will help address challenges around desktop image management and application delivery.
  • DaaS applications that can act as extensions to your data centre will appear on the surface, driving adoption.
  • Integrated services such as Active Directory, application manager, and Microsoft System Center will also help further the adoption of DaaS.
  • New services, functionalities, and configurations will be kept on adding to DaaS solutions.

A useful option for enterprises will be to seek the services of consultants with experience in VDI strategy.

Video Content Management

Video has become a crucial content format for enterprises. The importance of video content is clear from the kind of estimates tech giants are making; for instance, Cisco estimates that 80% web traffic will be made up of video content access, by the end of 2020.

Enterprise end users require video content for DIY guidance, or to share the same with their end customers. Also, field employees need tech support via video content to be able to quickly manage their technical issues. Video Content Management Systems, hence, will become important for the enterprise from an end user experience point of view.

Concluding Remarks

Throughout 2018, expect to witness pressing changes in the end user computing market. Primarily, vendors will push to increase adoption of advanced, feature rich, and power packed end-user computing solutions.



Author – Rahul Sharma