Configure Secure RDP using a Windows Bastion Host

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Configure Secure RDP using a Windows Bastion Host

1 hour 5 Credits


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This lab is recommended for students preparing for the Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect certification exam. Are you up for the challenge?


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Challenge scenario

Your company has decided to deploy new application services in the cloud and your assignment is developing a secure framework for managing the Windows services that will be deployed. You will need to create a new VPC network environment for the secure production Windows servers.

Production servers must initially be completely isolated from external networks and cannot be directly accessed from, or be able to connect directly to, the internet. In order to configure and manage your first server in this environment, you will also need to deploy a bastion host, or jump box, that can be accessed from the internet using the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). The bastion host should only be accessible via RDP from the internet, and should only be able to communicate with the other compute instances inside the VPC network using RDP.

Your company also has a monitoring system running from the default VPC network, so all compute instances must have a second network interface with an internal only connection to the default VPC network.

Your challenge

Deploy the secure Windows machine that is not configured for external communication inside a new VPC subnet, then deploy the Microsoft Internet Information Server on that secure machine.


The key tasks are listed below. Good luck!

  • Create a new VPC network with a single subnet.

  • Create a firewall rule that allows external RDP traffic to the bastion host system.

  • Deploy two Windows servers that are connected to both the VPC network and the default network.

  • Create a virtual machine that points to the startup script.

  • Configure a firewall rule to allow HTTP access to the virtual machine.

Task 1. Create the VPC network

  1. Create a new VPC network called securenetwork.

  2. Then create a new VPC subnet inside securenetwork.

  3. Once the network and subnet have been configured, configure a firewall rule that allows inbound RDP traffic (TCP port 3389) from the internet to the bastion host. This rule should be applied to the appropriate host using network tags.

Task 2. Deploy your Windows instances and configure user passwords

  1. Deploy a Windows 2016 server instance called vm-securehost with two network interfaces.

  2. Configure the first network interface with an internal only connection to the new VPC subnet, and the second network interface with an internal only connection to the default VPC network. This is the secure server.

  3. Install a second Windows 2016 server instance called vm-bastionhost with two network interfaces.

  4. Configure the first network interface to connect to the new VPC subnet with an ephemeral public (external NAT) address, and the second network interface with an internal only connection to the default VPC network. This is the jump box or bastion host.

  5. After your Windows instances have been created, create a user account and reset the Windows passwords in order to connect to each instance.

  6. The following gcloud command creates a new user called app-admin and resets the password for a host called vm-bastionhost located in the us-central1-a region:

gcloud compute reset-windows-password vm-bastionhost --user app_admin --zone us-central1-a
  1. Alternatively, you can force a password reset from the Compute Engine console. You will have to repeat this for the second host as the login credentials for that instance will be different.

Task 3. Connect to the secure host and configure Internet Information Server

To connect to the secure host, you have to RDP into the bastion host first, and from there open a second RDP session to connect to the internal private network address of the secure host. A Windows Compute Instance with an external address can be connected to via RDP using the RDP button that appears next to Windows Compute instances in the Compute Instance summary page.

When connected to a Windows server, you can launch the Microsoft RDP client using the command mstsc.exe, or you can search for Remote Desktop Manager from the Start menu. This will allow you to connect from the bastion host to other compute instances on the same VPC even if those instances do not have a direct internet connection themselves.


  • Unable to connect to the Bastion host: Make sure you are attempting to connect to the external address of the bastion host. If the address is correct you may not be able to connect to the bastion host if the firewall rule is not correctly configured to allow TCP port 3389 (RDP) traffic from the internet, or your own system's public IP-address, to the network interface on the bastion host that has an external address. Finally, you might have issues connecting via RDP if your own network does not allow access to internet addresses via RDP. If everything else is definitely OK, you will need to talk to the owner of the network you are connected to the internet with to open up port 3389 or connect using a different network.

  • Unable to connect to the Secure Host from the Bastion host: If you can successfully connect to the bastion host but are unable to make the internal RDP connection using Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection application, check that both instances are connected to the same VPC network.


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Manual Last Updated February 17, 2023

Lab Last Tested February 16, 2023

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