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What's all the hype about VPNs? I find it expensive, confusing and slow!

I have heard so much hype about VPN for the longest time however when I have tried to implement it in an office setting for remote users I found it to be a expensive, confusing and very slow solution for remote access even with DSL service. I have had much better luck just running MSN remote assistant in XP PRO. What am I missing about all the hype?

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VPNs are powerful tools for providing wide-area secure connectivity. When correctly configured and deployed, they provide seamless and safe communication between sites, allowing network resources to be accessed locally or remotely without difficulty. Like most powerful networking tools, there is a substantial burden of knowledge required to realize these benefits. For some organizations, with complex network requirements, the benefits of VPNs far outweigh the costs of configuration and maintenance. Still other organizations, lacking sufficient in-house networking expertise, find that there are network service providers who can supply cost-effective solutions. Those organizations with very simple connectivity and security needs may find that "out of the box" solutions, such as ssh or Microsoft's RDP (Remote Assistant). Caution should be observed in configuring and using such solutions, however, as the possibility exists that these can be insecurely deployed.

This was first published in January 2004

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