VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Today, VPN has become a requirement of every growing online business company. As the business proliferates, companies want to establish offices in different locations in a country and different nations across the world. For smooth functioning of business operations spread country wide or worldwide, it is necessary for offices to be inter linked through a strong network. VPN offers a powerful networking environment where company employees can access information from remote offices. VPN offers a reliable and secure way to access company resources and people are free from worries of data theft, spyware invasion and other security threats.
How does VPN works?
To get maximum advantage of VPN service, it is necessary to understand, how VPN works. When you understand how VPN works, you also come to know are VPN safe or not. VPN offers private networking platform. Though, it uses a public network platform, to access information from remote sources. VPN offers two kinds of Connectivity:
1. Site to Site Connectivity
2. Remote access
With a site-to-site VPN, employees of multinational companies can interact with each other, exchange valuable information, and access secure resources of a company through a public network such as Internet. Site-to-Site VPN is useful for growing companies aspiring to establish offices in different parts of the world. Site-to-Site VPN can be of two types,
1. Intranet based
2. Extranet based
Intranet based: Through Intranet VPN, a company can connect resources available at different branch locations. Each separate LAN can be connected to a single WAN through Intranet VPN.
Extra-net based: Extranet VPN helps a company to connect with resources of another company which may be a partner, a supplier or a customer. This helps multiple companies to work together in a secure and shared network environment.
VPN Remote Access
With VPN remote access, individuals can establish a secure connection with a remote computer in the network. Users can access the remote server as if they are directly plugged on to a remote computer or server. Another name of remote access VPN is Virtual Private Dial-up-Network (VPDN). Remote access VPN users can connect to a remote computer through two gateways:
1. Network Access Server (NAS)
2. Client software
Network Access Server (NAS): Network access server is also known as Media Gateway or a Remote Access Server (RAS). The NAS may be a dedicated server or one of the different applications functional on a shared server. A VPN user connects to NAS through Internet for remote access of a computer. The NAS implements an authentication process and ask for valid credentials from a user, to provide secure access to a remote computer or server.
Client Software: The client software creates a tunnel with NAS and exchanges data in encrypted form to offer secure access to the user.
How Does VPN Offers Security?
VPN comes with a number of security features that promise security of network resources data, privacy of exchanged messages, and protection from virus, spyware and unauthorized access. A brief description about VPN security features will clear all your doubts about are VPN safe or not.
Data Encryption: VPN exchanges data in encrypted form to offer security to exchanged data. Data even intercepted by authorities can not be read as the messages are in encrypted form.
Authentic access: VPN provides access to authentic users only. VPN implements Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS). Whenever a user tries to connect with a VPN resource, the NAS layer always asks for valid credentials from the user.
VPN always uses secure protocols to offer encrypted data exchange for privacy. Below are some secure protocols.
IPSec: IPSec stands for IP security. It encrypts and encapsulates data.
SSL/TLS: Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) enables encrypted data exchange between client and server.
PPTP: Point to Point Tunneling protocol (PPTP) offers feeble security to keep the traffic confidential. It supports 40 bit and 128 bit encryption.
L2TP: Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is stronger than PPTP.
SSH: Secure Shell (SSH) enables secure tunnels while establishing remote connections.
Thus, VPN offers a secure networking environment to individuals, small companies and large enterprises for different purposes. VPN is not the first networking model enabling remote connections. In fact, VPN extends the functionality of Intranet with the additional feature of remote networking. With VPN, a user can establish secure remote connections across multiple geographical locations without using a leased line. A VPN service is scalable and flexible and always maintains pace with growing requirements of an online business company. With VPN services, companies get fast performance, enhanced productivity while saving time to do volumes of work, and reducing business operations cost.