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Enterprise VPN in plain language

Today, many who are interested in computer technology and communications have heard about such a popular technology as VPN. However, most of the articles describe subtle nuances of technology that are often not understood by less experienced network users. This article will help you understand the basics of VPN technology. We tried to state everything in the simplest language and include a minimum of technical terms in the text.

The acronym VPN stands for Virtual Private Network (Virtual Prvate Network). This technology is designed to organize an internal network within another network with reliable protection of the transfer of all data between users. Typically, the core network for a VPN is the Internet.

In order to imagine the meaning of technology, it is enough to take as a basis any company that has a head office and several branches in different parts of the city or even in different regions of the country. Each branch has its own local network for data exchange. At the same time, data transfer between branches is carried out through publicly and insecure channels. Agree that transferring confidential and personal data through a common network is not only inconvenient, but also dangerous. VPN technology allows you to create a virtual network between all offices, which will transmit information in encoded form.

But what about cable combining?
As a rule, such a solution seems possible. It is enough to stretch the cables between all branches of the company, and you will get a real common local network. This method is perfect if all network sections are next to each other, but if your offices are located in different parts of the city or different cities, then you will need not only kilometers of expensive cable, but also many different permissions, which can take them to get more than a year.
Using an Internet Service Provider
This method is quite popular among large companies, but it is completely unsuitable for small and often medium-sized businesses. The thing is that renting such lines is extremely expensive, and at the same time, the necessary security of the transmitted data is not provided.
Benefits of VPN Technology
When combining local networks into a common VPN network, you can get a fully functional shared space at minimal cost and a high degree of protection. To create such a network, you will need to install a special VPN gateway on one computer from each segment, which will be responsible for transferring data between branches. Information is exchanged in each branch in the usual way, but if it is necessary to transfer data to another section of the VPN network, they are sent to the gateway. In turn, the gateway processes the data, encrypts it using a reliable algorithm, and transmits it to the target via the Internet gateway in another branch. At the destination, the data is decrypted and also transmitted to the destination computer in the usual way. All this goes completely unnoticed by the user and is no different from working on a local network.
In addition, VPN is a wonderful way to organize access of a separate computer to the local network of the company. Imagine that you are on a business trip with your laptop and are faced with the need to connect to your network, or download any data from there. Using a special program, you can connect to the VPN gateway of your local network and work just like any other employee of your company in the office. It is not only extremely convenient, but also quite cheap.

Some disadvantages of VPN technology
One of the few disadvantages that VPN technology has is the need to purchase a small amount of hardware and software, as well as an increase in external traffic. However, these costs are quite small and given the huge number of advantages of VPN, it is quite possible to put up with them.
VPN working principle
For the organization of a VPN network, in addition to the purchase of equipment and software, two basic tools are required – a data transfer protocol and means for protecting them.
IPsec
There are several different protocols that are traditionally used in VPN networks. The most popular and effective technologies are IPSec and Socket Secure Layer. Specialists in the field of computer networks give preference to IPSec protocol, as it was developed specifically for this area of ​​use, has great usability and flexibility compared to all other technologies.
For the effective operation of a VPN network, it is best to purchase specialized hardware, which is presented in the form of VPN gateways. The VPN gateway is delivered fully operational and, after a short setup procedure, is ready to work on any network. This significantly reduces the time and financial costs of the company.

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