When an encrypted VPN is not available, the next best solution is usually port-forwarding one or more port(s) through an SSH tunnel. The down-side of SSH is that by itself it cannot maintain a persistent connection — network issues may force the tunnel to stop responding, or even drop completely. Autossh is a small front-end for SSH that can monitor the connection, and restart the tunnel if it drops or stops responding. I found that the startup scripts available for autossh on the internet were a little too basic for my needs — I wanted autossh to start multiple connections, and to start/stop each one individually if I needed — so I wrote my own.
There are plenty of SSH autocomplete (or command-line completion) scripts available on the web, but I found most don’t go far enough — they usually just parse the ~/.ssh/known_hosts, ignoring the ~/.ssh/config and /etc/hosts files. Some of these scripts also generate a static autocomplete list at login, and can’t include new hostnames added during the session. The following script uses a function call to autocomplete hostnames dynamically, and fetches hostnames from the ~/.ssh/known_hosts, ~/.ssh/config and system-wide /etc/hosts file.