I always get nervous on open and/or public Wi-Fi networks — especially when it comes to checking sensitive information like email. Some people say that a VPN (a virtual private network) solves that problem, but I don’t seem to have anything other than a way to dial into a VPN server. Since I don’t have a VPN server, I’m stuck with half a solution.
I asked Matt Hartley about the situation, and he responded:
Not an expert, but I do access to a VPN as a client user — it’s a Java-based solution for the enterprise, though. It eliminates the need to forward ports as a client, among other headaches.
VPNs are generally used for connecting two office environments, even if it is allow a single user access to the servers and users of the main office, over a remote network, from a coffee shop as a remote user in his own ‘virtual’ office.
So if you needed access to company files as if you were physically in the office, a VPN server could be practical for allowing secure, seemingly ‘right there’ type access to the needed files and other office resources. Otherwise, just tighten up your browsing and communication security and use a remote desktop.
An example of some great server software would be from these guys. If you are merely looking to secure your browsing and email sessions like a non-corporate type, consider TOR. I tend to agree that it is useful for privacy protection with your communication data.
So, maybe I need to be running TOR on my laptop(s)?