Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are a way to extend the accessibility of corporate networks to remote users and to other corporate locations in the most secure, flexible and cost-effective possible manner. Nowadays, a VPN service can be applied in several ways to meet the specific needs of the users. Almost every company that has an internal network of computers, servers and data storage systems also has employees or collaborators who work (permanently or temporarily) on the road or at home. A VPN service technology has been around for years to solve these problems. So, in this article we present the main features of this service. Have a look at this!
What is a VPN service and what is it for?
The meaning of VPN is Virtual Private Network. This service allows companies to extend their core private network without virtual geo-restrictions. This happens by creating a “private connection”, which allows users and marginal sites (subsidiaries) to connect to the company from the “main network”.
How does a corporate VPN work?
First, in the company’s data center, or in its private cloud (if you chose this solution), a VPN server (also called Virtual Private Network Hub), must be installed and then all the three levels of a VPN’s security structure are installed. These three levels are:
– A user’s authentication system;
– A layer for managing the encryption methods of the data exchanged between the different nodes of the network; and
– A firewall that controls the access to the various network ports.
The VPN hub must also be connected to a router and one or more switches that allow the assignment of public IP addresses (static or dynamic) to all VPN participants (data that must necessarily be present in the headings of packages that are encapsulated in the tunnel).
What does “tunneling” mean?
The operational base of a Virtual Private Network is the creation of a (virtual, of course) tunnel where two or more participants in a VPN service session can exchange data, away from prying eyes. When participants use this shared infrastructure, a tunnel protocol is required to establish this private channel. Today there are several technologies like this, and they all have some aspects in common.
Authentication and communication
As explained before, the VPN tunneling is a reserved and protected communication channel. It is also important to know what authentication means, to further understand how the VPN works and especially how to work in this network. So, authentication is the process that allows access to the network itself and therefore the procedure necessary to protect the communication. In practice, on one hand, the client contacts the server to be identified, and on the other hand, the server checks whether the client is authorized and then allows the communication.
Finally, the main function of a VPN service is the encryption, as its purpose is to hide users when they are on the internet. Encryption makes the user’s data on the system invisible. A Virtual Private Network uses encryption algorithms to hide the data exchanged between PCs and servers, and it also extends the protection of users on public networks by means of a private network.