Remote Access VPN
What is a Remote Access VPN?
A remote access VPN gives employees access to secure connection with a remote computer network and they can access resources on the network as if they were directly plugged into the network’s servers.
How Remote Access VPN Works?
A remote-access VPN works by creating a virtual tunnel between an offsite employee’s device and the company’s network. This tunnel goes through the Internet or another type of public network, such as a public Wi-Fi network. The tunnel and the data traveling through it are protected by encryption and security protocols, which keeps the data private and secure.
Companies can build and maintain their own remote-access VPNs. The two main components in this type of VPN are a network access server and VPN client software. The client software needs to be installed on the devices that employees will use to connect to the server when they are out of the office. This might include company-issued mobile devices and employees’ personal devices (e.g., smartphones, home computers). As VPN usage grows, companies can add equipment that is designed to optimize VPN services, such as VPN concentrators.
Businesses that do not want to bother with setting up their own remote-access VPNs can use a VPN service provider. In this case, they do not need a network access server, but they will still need to make sure that the VPN client software is installed on the devices employees will be using to connect to the VPN.
Using a remote access VPN provides several advantages for businesses. The most important benefit though is data security. When an offsite employee sends data through a VPN, it is encrypted, so even if a hacker is able to intercept that data, they won’t be able to use it. This is particularly important if an employee accesses their companies’ network using public Wi-Fi while traveling because traffic sent over these networks is usually not encrypted.
Another advantage of remote access VPNs is that they provide companies with an affordable way to secure data sent by offsite employees. The initial investment needed to set up a remote access VPN is minimal and they can easily be scaled as a company grows and this is especially true if a VPN service provider is used.
Since remote access VPNs are affordable and secure, organizations can feel more comfortable with letting their employees work from home or while traveling. Employees who can work where and when they want also tend to be happier as well as more productive.
Like any tool, remote-access VPNs have some disadvantages. They can slow down a device’s web browsing speed. More important, setting up an in-house VPN solution can be challenging if a business is unfamiliar with the technology.
Using a VPN service provider will simplify the setup process. However, businesses need to be wary when choosing one. There are fake VPN service providers (i.e., fake services offered by hackers) as well as providers with questionable practices (i.e., legit companies that sell customers’ data). So, when selecting a VPN service provider, it is important to do research and carefully evaluate candidates, especially those that offer free VPN services.
What is a Site-to-Site VPN?
A site-to-site setup is where two (or more) different networks are connected together using one tunnel. In this connection model, devices in one network can reach devices in the other network, and vice versa. The implementation of this is, for as far as Access Server is involved in this, relatively simple. The more difficult part comes when dealing with firewalls and security filtering options, and altering routing tables in routers and Internet gateways, as there are so many of them of various brands and models, that we cannot possibly document all of them. However, routers should all have one thing in common: the ability to route traffic using static routes. With that capability comes the means to send traffic from one network to another, through a gateway system that provides connectivity to the other network.
A site-to-site VPN therefore extends the company’s network, making computer resources at one location available to employees at other locations. This capability makes a site-to-site VPN an attractive option for a growing corporation with branch offices around the world.
The two main techniques for establishing a site-to-site VPN are:
1) Intranet-based — If a company has one or more remote locations that they wish to join in a single private network, they can create an intranet VPN to connect each separate LAN to a single WAN.
2) Extranet-based — When a company has a close relationship with another company (such as a partner, supplier or customer), it can build an extranet VPN that connects those companies’ LANs. This extranet VPN allows the companies to work together in a secure, shared network environment while preventing access to their separate intranets.
The difference between internet-based and MPLS VPNs lies in the connections they use, and whether the company’s own network or the VPN provider’s network performs the virtual tunneling.
Is a Site-to-Site VPN right for my Business?
No matter which configuration method is used, creating and maintaining a site-to-site VPN requires a significant investment of financial and human resources. Before considering such an investment, you need to first figure out if a site-to-site VPN is right for your business.
Most companies that use site-to-site VPNs have the service set up by a business security solutions company such as Cisco, Palo Alto Networks, or Checkpoint. Typically, the site-to-site VPN is just one part of a larger package of security services.
Some of the key factors to consider when deciding if a site-to-site VPN is right for your company are:
size of the business
number of locations
geographical spread (how far apart locations are from each other)
If your business is spread across multiple locations and employees at every location need to access resources at the main office, you should consider deploying a site-to-site VPN.
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