We have a set of servers hosted at a tier-1 provider, and they are currently behind a VPN running on a gateway machine and not accessible to the open internet. Due to VPN instability issues we've been having, we're looking at other options. Can someone provide ideas on how we can maintain protection at the network level -- people attacking the OS, the web server, the web framework, etc. Please note that we have users in various physical locations without static IP addresses that need to access this via both office and home internet service. Thank you! -Ron

Get a better VPN. You don't say specifically what you are trying to do, but if a VPN is needed, then a VPN is needed. VPN isn't a particular solution, it is a class of solution. It is designed to make a secure, private network over an open network. You can use any of a number of different types of VPNs to implement that functionality.

If you don't actually need a full VPN functionality, you will have to give more details about what you actually need to be able to do.

Unless you plan to look at linking your remote sites using either Site-to-Site VPN's or a layer 2 technology such MPLS, you really only have two choices:

    IPSec VPN's
    SSL VPN's

The security of the two are not inherently better than one or the other, but from personally opinion, I have better luck with IPSec, but SSL VPN's tend to be easier on both the admins and users.

Out of curiosity is there specific reason these applications cannot be opened up and used a high level of TLS/SSL encryption?

From your LAN, I would be looking at port security, IDS, hardening your OS, and actively monitoring your server logs.

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