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Alternatives to vpn?


Mikebyne
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I'm doing a report about setting up a VPN for a company with 15 employees. They mainly need it for file transfers etc.

Is VPN the best way to go or would someone recommend alternatives such as:

•FTP

•Portal (ie Blackbaoad)

•Leased lines

•P2p connectivity

FTP has no built in encryption, blackboard is a maybe, if you use ssl, leased lines are for point to point connections, p2p is a joke as far as security goes. Go with vpn.

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For windows users who just want to connect to shares and drag and drop files, a VPN is most likely the easiest way to go.

There is FileZilla, which can do Secure FTP transfers, but it basically just uses ssh to to tunnel the traffic. Linux users can use, SCP, which also uses SSH. If secure tranfer of files is what you are after, my suggestion is SSH tunnels with an FTPS/FileZilla client (or even the WinSCP setup) or just a normal windows VPN.

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I have not setup a windows vpn server but have done a dd-wrt vpn access. Setting up the dd-wrt and connecting while at college proved to be the easiest process i tried. The only caveat would be that my internet traffic would transverse my home DSL uplink of 600KBits/s (Not slow but slower than the college internet). So if many employees are connecting to a small uplink, file transfer may be slow. But from the users stand point there will probably be less help desk requests from it, as the setup of a vpn inside windows is fairly straight forward.

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Unless your using Server 2008 R2 and DirectAccess then the only thing you should be using is an IPSEC or L2PT VPN. Look at Cisco products for something easy to use but expensive, for homebrew stuff look at PFSense.

Smoothwall has one of the easiest openvpn setups I've seen from any home firewall software. There is even openvpn client software that works with portable apps, so there's nothing to install on the client machines. Just set up the users, throw the configs on some cheap thumb drives and send them to the users. I've got a couple set up for my wife and her office staff. That way if they are at a client site and need a file off our server they can vpn from the client machine and nothing is left when they log out. Also keeps client info from getting "lost" if a laptop gets stolen out of a car.

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