What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

A virtual private network (VPN) can be implemented site to site, and this method is especially beneficial for satellite offices in different locations. Without buying an expensive point to point link, a VPN sends encrypted data over the Internet using symmetric encryption.

Using a pre-shared key, symmetric encryption requires two admins to agree to the parameters of the VPN tunnel, such as the type of encryption and the shared key. After that, they would establish a secure link across the Internet from a branch office back to the headquarters - a very common use case for this type of VPN that allows users to send sensitive data over the Internet that they might not normally send due to security issues.

Another type of VPN is mobile VPN. You can use an SSL via web browser or desktop client in order to access data remotely via your laptop or other workstation. This is useful for companies in industries that need to view financial or healthcare data securely and remotely.


Steven: A Virtual Private Network, there’s a couple of different ways they can be implemented site-to-site in mobile. What site-to-site does is especially beneficial for satellite offices and you don’t want to send data through the internet. Let’s say you have an accounting department in Plymouth and our HQ is here in Ann Arbor and you don’t want to buy an expensive point-to-point link. What a VPN does is it sends encrypted data through the internet. It uses a pre-shared key so you can be thinking of symmetric type encryption. You’re sending a lot of data so symmetric encryption is much faster than the asymmetric encryption.

So an admin on one side and an admin on a second side would get on the phone. They would agree to the parameters of the VPN tunnel, the encryption and that would be used, the shared key. Then they would establish a secure link across the internet; from let’s say a branch office or remote office back to HQ. That’s one very common use case for a VPN tunnel. It allows you to send data over the internet that you wouldn’t normally send.

Another type of VPN is a mobile VPN. A lot of people use this for a mobile work force and things of that nature. So I’m on my laptop, I’m having a nice breakfast somewhere and I get phone call and I need to dial into work. I hop on the Wi-Fi, but we don’t allow certain types of data to be totally accessible on the internet.

If we want to get into our corporate network but we don’t have a settled point like an office was if we’re going to be mobile. We actually could use a technology like SSL; mobile SSL VPN’s are becoming very popular. Where you would remotely get into the office as a single user through something like a small client on your laptop or through a SSL mobile VPN through a webpage, something of that nature and be able to access data anytime, anywhere, just from your workstation on your laptop.

Again, the importance of this is again, if you’re transmitting financial data, or you need to look at healthcare records or something like that and you can’t be sitting in your office. You need to be able to view that data from far, far away, but also in a very secure manner.

 

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