Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are essential if you need to ensure that your company or organisation is working within a closed, secure network. This is particularly important for employees who are working outside of the the office or if you want to setup an exclusive network within the office.
If you’re new to VPNs, don’t worry – they don’t have to be difficult to setup. There are plenty of programs out there that do much of the hard work for you. One of the best is WallCooler because of its ease of use. WallCooler allows you to access remote LAN and local area networks at the same time without the annoying need to switch. The problem with this program however is that because it’s pretty basic, the security settings aren’t particularly advanced. If you are using the VPN for highly confidential information, then iPIG Secure Access VPN Server is especially designed for ensuring that those using wireless routers and WiFi hotspots can connect securely. Instant Messaging clients used over VPNs are one of the most vulnerable points of attack and Wippien uses the highly secure XMPP protocol to connect to any Jabber client. If you’re looking beyond the Jabber network, then ZIM is a more flexible option as an IM client.
If it’s simplicity and security you’re after than OpenVPN is very straightforward but not very advanced although it does support SSL connections. One word of note – something worth looking for in any VPN client is whether it supports auto connecting when a connection is dropped. This is one of the most annoying aspects of working on a VPN as it often requires manual reconnection and re-entering of your username and password.