Recently I stumbled upon sshfs. And this is really the best thing since sliced bread. sshfs allows you to mount a directory over sftp (of course, under Linux). Since it relies on sftp, you can mount remote directories as soon as you have an ssh access, without the need to set up further servers or using vpn or anything.
Being able to access remote files like normal files means that you can use any program to modify these files. For example, I have a small personal webspace which allows access only via sftp. This made updating quite ugly, because I couldn't just rsync everything to the server. But with sshfs you just mount your webspace and do a "local" rsync between two directories - and you're done. Amazing!