A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows construction of a secure "tunnel" between two networks (LANs) separated by a WAN. Most importantly, this allows connections between computers on the two LANs directly, as if they were actually on one LAN.
For me, this has a lot of applications for administration, as I have machines running at five or more locations. While I do not have VPNs implemented between my main network at home and the remote machines yet, I plan on doing so in order to simplify operations, mainly administration, logging, backups, and firewall administration (which requires local access to use the web-based interfaces, as they are very difficult to navigate in text-mode using a CLI browser such as Lynx).
At this point, my main intended uses include
- Backups over VPN for my remote machines
- Administration of firewalls from any connected site
- Increased efficiency for Nagios monitoring, cutting out the SSH pass-thru on firewalls
- Increased efficiency for system administration scripts