What is a Virtual Private Network?

“A virtual private network (VPN) is a network that uses a public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet, to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization’s network. It aims to avoid an expensive system of owned or leased lines that can be used by only one organization. The goal of a VPN is to provide the organization with the same secure capabilities but at a much lower cost.” VPNS are ideal if:

By combining our VPN, firewall and clustering solutions large deployments can be robustly supported, allowing many remote users to simultaneously access head-office applications securely.

  • You need to give branches access to the head office network or allow head office to access resources at branches transparently over the Internet,
  • You want to give your mobile workforce access to the office network while on the road or,
  • Your staff want to be able to connect to your offices network from home
  • Pros and cons of using a VPN

The benefit of using a secure VPN is it ensures the appropriate level of security to the connected systems when the underlying network infrastructure alone cannot provide it. The justification for using VPN access instead of a private network usually boils down to cost and feasibility: It is either not feasible to have a private network — e.g., for a traveling sales rep — or it is too costly to do so. VPN performance can be affected by a variety of factors, among them the speed of users, internet connections, the types of protocols an internet service provider may use and the type of encryption the VPN uses. Performance can also be affected by poor quality of service and conditions that are outside the control of IT.

VPN protocols

  • There are several different protocols used to secure and encrypt users and corporate data:
  • IP security (IPsec)
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)
  • Point-To-Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP)
  • Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP)
  • OpenVPN
  • The most common types of VPNs are remote-access VPNs and site-to-site VPNs.

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