Before knowing much about VPN, I usually opened up many inbound ports for my computer firewall and the firewall that resided within the router so remote services such as APF (Apple Time Machine) would function correctly. Obviously, these remote services (e.g., APF, FTP, CIFS, etc…) are also accessible within local area network, therefore one does not need to have to be outside a local area network to use these remote services. For an example, one can just sit next to the APF server (i.e., APF which hosts on a network attached storage) and locally backup one’s Mac to the Time Machine service. When using such services locally, one has to use local IP addresses, because one is within a local area network (e.g., home network, office network, etc…).
The idea is to open up less ports to protect everything within a local area network better. So, when one travels abroad, one cannot use local IP addresses to access one’s remote services (e.g., APF, FTP, CIFS, etc…), and one has to open up ports for these remote services so remote access would be possible. Since one has to open up inbound ports for remote connections, one’s local area network might become more vulnerable. The more open ports there are, the more exploits that hackers can use to test or attack against the services that rely on the open ports.
Luckily, we have VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Big companies love to deploy VPN for their employees. If you have ever met one of those employees from one of those big companies, you might see this person logins into a VPN network through a laptop when this person is away from the company. Since big companies are using VPN, VPN must be for the elites only right? Wrong! Just about anyone can use VPN to protect oneself, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do so. If you watch other videos of mine within my YouTube channel, you will see how easy it’s to set up VPN server/service on Windows 8. Anyhow, the whole idea is to open up less ports for a network so everything within a network can be somewhat more secure.
Using VPN, one can access local area network as if one never leaves local area network all along. For an example, one can sit at a Starbucks and yet connect to remote services(e.g., APF, CIFS, FTP, SSH, etc…) with local IP addresses. How is this possible? Like I said, using VPN, one never leaves local area network! This is why VPN is definitely a better option than just opening up whatever inbound ports there are for different remote services. With VPN, all one has to do is to open up one port which VPN relies on. Through the connection of VPN, one then can just access all services within a local area network as if one has never leave a local area network all along. In case you don’t know, VPN encrypts data automatically. This is just another reason why I think VPN is definitely a better solution for remote access.