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Understanding Vpn's Essay

3780 words - 16 pages

Understanding Virtual Private Networks

Understanding Virtual Private Networks
In today’s fast paced world, it is not uncommon for people to access sensitive digital data from a network other than the network where the sensitive data is natively stored and maintained. Whether it is employees trying to access corporate data from outside of the office, or customers accessing data from a company’s database, the need to access data from outside of the data’s native network has become a requirement in today’s society. Although there is more than one way to access remote data, the most common technology used is a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A virtual private network is a way to ...view middle of the document...

This is one benefit that leased connections have over VPN’s. The expense of a leased line may also be more expensive than a VPN solution, but for the characteristics mentioned, the service is well worth the expense. It is not uncommon for companies to use a leased line for site-to-site connection. I will explain what site-to-site is a little bit later.
If security and mobile access to a remote private network is a requirement, then VPN is the solution. Although leased lines have their benefit, one thing they do not emphasize is security and quick efficient access to a private network remotely (Source 2). Often times, employees and customer require access to a database located on a private network and they do not have the luxury of accessing that database from a network that has a leased connection to the private network established. Implementation of a VPN connection to/from mobile remote sites is much more inexpensive than establishing individual, dedicated leased connection.
Now that we understand the basis of what a VPN is, let’s discuss some of the network infrastructures that VPN’s are commonly deployed as: site to site, and remote access. Following the explanation of these two infrastructures, we will begin getting into how the VPN between two locations is established.
Site-to-site VPN implementations is a very easy concept to understand, but should still be given its fair amount of attention when planning to be used. As the name entails, a site-to-site VPN is a VPN tunnel established between two separate networks. In many cases this may involve a secure connection between company branches in different cities, states, or regions. In some cases, however, a site-to-site implementation may actually be used to establish secure links within an internal organization (source 3). In site-to-site VPN’s, there must be attention given as to where the VPN tunnel will begin and terminate. Although in most practices it is clear that the tunnel should at least carry across the internet, at what point beyond that should the tunnel cease? Sometimes the determination as to whether or not a tunnel goes to the network border router, or goes beyond that router to a firewall, or even beyond that firewall to a dedicated VPN concentrator, its determined based off the capabilities of the networking devices in place. If a company has a smaller border router, than VPN performance may be much better with a dedicated VPN concentrator (source 3). As is with most cases, the number of resources ($) will often be a factor.
Another common VPN implementation is remote access VPN. Remote access VPN’s allow for users to access extranets in a secure manner. Remote access VPN’s rely on a true ‘client-server’ environment to establish a secure tunnel. A VPN concentrator provides the server role, by authenticating a connection and tunnel establishment by an outside client. To be an outside client requires at minimum, specialized server dependent software on...

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