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What is safest remote connection from home to a small business?

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robo_dev

For the PC, use the free application UltraVNC, and for the IOS device use a product like Mocha VNC or Remoter ($10)

On the firewall, open a non-standard port, define a NAT rule to get to the PC and set a strong password for the VNC app.

While VNC by default does not use encryption, as long as you use something other than port 5900 and an easily guessed password, that is reasonably secure. Do not run VNC at the standard port or you will get constant hacking attempts for that device.

While a VPN would, in fact, be more secure, you would either need to:

a) invest in a different router/firewall, such as a Cisco, SonicWall, Barracuda, or similar device AND you will need to either find a suitable VPN client or make 100% sure it works with IOS and the Safari web browser or built-in VPN utility on the device.

For example, Cisco makes some very nice ASA 5000 series security appliances that are firewalls and VPN devices, and then you would use the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client for iPad (or possibly the built-in VPN utility on the IOS device)

OR
Deploy (on a separate PC) an software-based VPN such as the one built into MS SBS 2003 or an open source solution like Adito OpenVPN. OpenVPN uses the web-browser on the client side, but have not tested it on an IOS device.