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What is a Virtual Private Network? How it can help your company grow

by: Kenneth Tello | 13 Dec, 2010 12:46:43

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Think about this, is it possible for a private network of a huge corporation to utilize a public network infrastructure such as the Internet for a “secure” telecommunications purposes without compromising the confidentiality and secrecy of communication process? If your answer is no, you are absolutely wrong as the utilization of public or “shared” network infrastructure like the Internet is possible and has been in use by major organizations – thanks to Virtual Private Network.

But what is a Virtual Private Network or VPN? A Virtual Private Network is a computer network utilizing an existing “public” telecommunications infrastructure like the Internet, thus allowing head offices to communicate securely with the regional or remote offices from long distances. Thus VPN is the “virtual” extension of private network that includes links across a public network, allowing you to transmit data between networks across the Internet. The main goal of a Virtual Private Network is to avert the use of expensive leased lines used only by single organization. With VPN, multiple users can securely transmit data simultaneously over the Internet – no need for establishing long distance dedicated lines.

How Virtual Private Network Works?

Virtual Private Network undergoes series of emulation process to transmit data between networks. When sending data between networks (emulating peer to peer link), VPN encapsulates or “wraps” the data to be transmitted together with a header containing the routing information permitting the data to traverse the public network (Internet) to reach its destination. In addition, the transmitted data are encrypted to ensure confidentiality. Without encryption keys, there’s no way for eavesdroppers to decipher the data and steal its content. The part of the connection in which the data is encapsulated in known as “tunnel” while the portion in which the data is encrypted in known as the VPN connection.

Uses of Virtual Private Network

Below are the common uses of Virtual Private Network:

  • Internet Remote Access – with VPN, organizations can now have remote access to corporate resources over the Internet without compromising confidentiality of data.
  • Connecting computers, networks, and intranets between organizations – either by using a dedicated lines or dial-up lines to connect branch office network to organization’s LAN and other branch office’s network, there’s no need now for organizations to use expensive dedicated circuits (for connecting networks to corporate LAN) or router (for making long distance calls). VPN software uses the local Internet Service Providers (ISP) connection to design a Virtual Private Network between the branch office network router and the corporate LAN router.
  • Remote Access to Extranet – Virtual Private Network also allows different organization to join corporate networks, forming an extranet using unique security protocols.

Benefits of Using Virtual Private Network

Organizations utilizing Virtual Public Networks inherit the following benefits:

  • Remote Connectivity for Users – Virtual Private Network allows corporate workers to access on remote corporate servers through the Internet in a secure fashion. Now you can work at the comfort of your homes, thus saving you the burden of traveling especially when problems arise.
  • Reduced Cost – probably the most obvious benefit of using Virtual Private Network is the reduced communication cost. There’s no need for organizations to install expensive leased lines for long-distance calls and transmitting data between networks. This implies reduced cost in long distance telephone charges as well as the offloading support cost. Corporate server maintenance is also lesser compared to other approaches – organizations can outsource the needed technical support for server maintenance.
  • Increased telecommunication coverage and distributed global operations - allowing workers to connect and communicate with each other. 

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