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Virtual Private Networks Essay

4352 words - 18 pages

In this increasingly margin conscious world, businesses are always looking for cost effective, yet reliable and secure methods to connect their resources, employees and business partners across increasingly wider areas, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology offers a viable solution that meets these concerns. Rather than depend on costly, dedicated leased lines to connect computers together, businesses can instead make safe secure connections via the internet in conjunction with VPN software. Within this paper we will provide an overview of the VPN technology, how to install it, and how security concerns are addressed with VPN including: authentication, integrity, and confidentiality ...view middle of the document...

Figure 1: Virtual private network remote access connectionBenefits:VPN technology is designed to address issues with the new business trend toward increased telecommuting and widely distributed global operations. In the current business environment, workers must be able to connect to central resources and must be able to communicate with each other. In addition, corporate branches need to be able to communicate with each other securely, reliably, and quickly. As companies grow, the distant locations need to be integrated together in an expedient manner especially when locations are global.Common Configurations:There are two common configurations of Virtual Private Networks that a can be implemented: 1) Remote Access, which connects individual remote computers to a centralized Local Area Network (LAN) and 2) Site to Site Access, which connects remote location's LAN's together in a safe and secure manner.Remote Access VPN connections allow users to connect to their corporate network via a corporate server using the routing infrastructure provided by a public network, such as the Internet. Companies that have remote salesmen who travel widely to customer sites can benefit greatly when their salesmen have immediate secure access to corporate resources where ever they are located around the world--as long as an internet service provider is available.From a Remote Access VPN administrator's perspective, once the intermediate network is defined as the connection medium, VPN server software needs to be installed on the remote entry point corporate server, and VPN client software needs to be installed on each remote computer. From the user's perspective, the VPN connection is a point-to-point connection between the remote user's computer and a corporate server. The nature of the intermediate network is irrelevant to the user because it appears as if the data is being sent over a dedicated private link.Site to Site VPN technology allows corporations to securely connect to branch offices, or to other companies, over a public network such as the Internet. Site to Site VPN connections across the Internet logically extends Intranet LANs and Extranet WANs by connecting internal corporate sites to internal corporate sites, and internal corporate sites to external business partners. Site to Site VPNs are easier to implement and manage than Remote Access VPNs because with Site to Site, VPN software only needs to be installed on the remote entry servers of each LAN to be connected. With Site to Site, VPN client software is not needed. From the user's perspective, the connection from Site to Site is as seamless as any other internal LAN or WAN connection.The following diagram found in Jeff Tyson's online article "How Virtual Private networks Work" illustrates the three subtypes of Virtual Private Networks: Intranet and Extranet, both part of Site to Site VPN, and Remote Access VPN.Image courtesy Cisco Systems, Inc.With all three examples, VPN offers the safety of a...

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