VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN can be explained as a method through which a private network is formed over a public network. A VPN allows the connected clients to share the data privately over a public network just as if their computers were directly connected to each other, hence providing the clients with security and flexibility of a private network over a public one. A VPN connection can be considered analogous to a WAN (Wide Area Network) and from client’s point of view, the data is exchanged on VPN networks the same way as it is done on private networks.
When seen from corporate point of view, a VPN can be a very useful networking technique, allowing corporate data to be shared over a public network privately, giving employees the flexibility to access it over a remote distances, while they are away from office’s private network. Also, from another perspective of corporate point of view VPN networks enable geographically remote offices to connect together and form a private network over the internet, enabling them to work together along with flexibility and security they get from a private network, a VPN formed for this purpose creates a network that serves as one single source to connect all the different offices together.
VPN Networks are used by individual users as well. Individuals may make use of VPN networks to evade government imposed limitations over the internet and make their way through the internet censorship to access the sites that are either restricted or not available because of their geographical location. They are also used to make secure transactions where needed as well as they can be used to connect to a proxy servers to secure one’s personal identity and location over the internet.
VPNs, however would not make completely anonymous online connections but they do contribute towards increasing the privacy and security of an online connection. For the purpose of security, VPNs make use of encryption based methods to allow remote access to the authenticated and authorized personnel only. A VPN makes use of tunneling protocols coupled with data encryption to provide secure information exchange over a public network, which provides versatile security.
A VPN Security Model is designed in such a way that it fulfills the following the criteria:
Packet Level encryption, such that even if data is transmitted in packet form, the packets are encrypted, and if an attacker obtains a packet, all they get is an encrypted piece of data.
Strong and versatile user authentication techniques so as to prevent unauthorized access to the VPN.
Message Integrity so as to detect any changes that might have occurred in the transmitted message.
A VPN that is designed on the base of the above mentioned model provides versatile security and flexibility in the online world to the users and clients, whether they are using it for corporate purpose or for individual needs.