What Are the Key VPN Services?

In the past ten years, the VPN market has witnessed some significant growth and changes. These changes are a result of many companies coming to embrace technology and rely heavily on the Internet for communications. Similarly, the landscape of VPN services and products that are offered by most vendors also continue to evolve.

This rising trend has made companies that need protection for their networks to get confused about what is and is not a VPN, what VPNs do and do not do, and what type of VPN services to choose. At the end of this article, we should have helped to reduce the confusion for VPN customers. We also hope to assist VPN vendors in describing their services in a useful fashion.

What’s a VPN?

A VPN, abbreviation for Virtual Private Network is a private data network. It makes use of public telecommunication infrastructure thereby maintaining privacy through the use of a tunneling protocol and security procedures. The principal purpose of a VPN is to offer the company similar capabilities as private leased lines, however, at a cheaper cost by making use of shared public infrastructure. A VPN also makes it possible to have the same protected sharing of public resources for data.

Today, most companies are even using a VPN for both extranets and wide-area intranets. Now, there are three essential types of VPN services: trusted VPNs, secure VPNs, and hybrid VPNs. It’s important to note that there’s no particular relationship between secure VPNs and trusted VPNs. On the contrary, it’s normal to find the two co-existing in one service package.

In the past, a VPN used to consist of a few circuits leased from a communications provider. Here, each leased channel used to act as a single wire in a network that was controlled by the customer. The communications expert would also help manage the customer’s network if need be, but the original idea was for a customer to be able to use these leased circuits in a similar manner they used physical cables in the local network.

Secure VPNs

The primary reason why companies choose to use secure VPNs is to enable them to transmit sensitive data over the Internet without having to worry about eavesdropping from third parties. Whatever data that you will transfer over a secure VPN, that data is encrypted to such a level that even if a third party captured a copy of the traffic, they could not read it. It doesn’t matter the kind of computers they used; they will not be able to read it! Also, using a secure VPN gives the company the confidence that a hacker cannot interfere with the contents of their transmissions by altering the value of financial transactions.

Trusted VPNs

On the other hand, other companies can also choose to use trusted VPNs. These companies do so mainly do so because they want to be sure that their ISP is transferring their data over a set of paths with some specified properties and only one or a trusted confederation of Internet Service Providers control their data. This choice of VPN service allows the customer to use their private IP addressing schemes. They also have a chance of handling their routing.

A trusted VPN subscriber trusts that the service will maintain the paths according to a pre-specified agreement. Besides, hackers and attackers cannot either change the ways of any VPN part or insert traffic on the VPN maliciously. It is important to note that it can be impossible for a customer to exactly knows the paths used by trusted VPNs. Validating that a trusted VPN is in place can also be impossible. The only way to know it would be to believe in their ISP.

Hybrid VPNs

Because of differences in strengths and weaknesses of trusted and secure VPNs, hybrid VPNs have emerged to act as a balance between Secure and Trusted VPNs two. However, the list of scenarios where they can be applied effectively is still a working process. A simple situation where you can apply a hybrid VPN is when a company already has a trusted VPN installed, and the company also needs security on some part of the VPN. Luckily enough, none of the common trusted VPN services prevent the creation of hybrid VPNs. Some manufacturers create systems that only support the creation of hybrid VPN services.

Requirements for VPNs

An essential condition that is common to all the three VPN services is that the VPN administrator should know the extent of the VPN. It doesn’t matter the type of VPN that you are using; a VPN is meant to have capabilities that the “regular” network does not have. It is for this reason that the VPN administrator must know what data will and will not be in the VPN every time. Every VPN service has additional requirements;

Secure VPN requirements

All traffic passing through a secure VPN must be encrypted and authenticated. Many protocols used to create secure VPNs allow for the creation of VPNs that have authentication but no encryption. In as much as such a network is more secure than one with no authentication, it cannot be considered as a VPN because there is no privacy. VPN security properties must be agreed to by all parties involved in the VPN. No third party client can affect the security properties of the VPN. It should not be possible for a hacker to alter the security properties of any part of a VPN.

Trusted VPN requirements

The significant requirement here is that no third party can affect the creation or modification of a path in the VPN. Also, the routing and addressing used in a trusted VPN service must be established by the client before creating the VPN. The client needs to know what he needs to do and what the ISP does. This knowledge helps in maintaining the network that they are purchasing.

Hybrid VPN requirements

In hybrid VPN, the only outstanding condition is that the address boundaries of the secure VPN within the trusted VPN need to be extremely clear.

Emil S.

Emil is a Data & Design Specialist with a degree in BS Information System, specializes in Admin Support & Creative Design.

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