Virtual Private Network ? A Brief Overview

To keep running efficiently a rapidly growing business which is expanding across different locations, the people working in those locations need a fast, secure and reliable way to share information across computer networks. Also, marketing people who are constantly on the move need an equally secure and reliable way to connect to their business’s computer network from remote locations. Setting up secure & reliable network connections for remote employees can be an overwhelming task for a business however small, mid-sized or big it may be.

Several years ago, the most common way to connect computers between multiple offices was by using leased lines or dial-up phone lines. But lease lines are expensive with costs rising as the distance between offices increases. Most businesses started using new technologies that use Internet connections without sacrificing performance and security in place of leased lines. Businesses started by establishing intranets, which are private internal networks designed for use only by company employees. This is where a VPN (virtual private network) comes in picture. By adding a VPN, a business can extend all its intranet’s resources to employees working from remote offices or their homes.

Virtual Private Networks has got reduced network costs as these don’t need physical leased lines that individually connect remote offices to a private Intranet (internal network). A VPN is a private network that uses a public network (usually the Internet) to connect remote sites or users together. It uses virtual connections routed through the Internet from the business’s private network to the remote site or employees. The VPN uses authentication to deny access to unauthorized users, encryption to prevent unauthorized users from reading the private network packets. Any business looking to install VPN services should look for security, reliability & scalability features, as data interaction should be secure with employees & remote offices connecting to the VPN with no trouble.

Types of VPN

Remote-access VPN

A remote-access VPN or virtual private dial-up network (VPDN) allows individual users in a company to establish secure connections with a remote computer network & access the secure resources on the network.

Site-to-site VPN

A remote-access VPN is great for individual employees, but a site-to-site VPN comes to the rescue of a business which has got different branch offices having hundreds of employees by allowing offices in multiple fixed locations to establish secure connections with each other. A site-to-site VPN eliminates the need for each computer to run VPN client software as if it were on a remote-access VPN.

There are two types of site-to-site VPNs Intranet based & Extranet based.