Many businesses use dedicated leased lines, frame-relay or ATM circuits to connect to corporate and branch offices. However, these solutions are expensive and don't scale well with the addition of branch offices. Moreover, service providers in some parts of the world may not provide these services.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) service is scalable and inexpensive solution that provides secure connectivity between corporate and branch offices. In addition, remote access capability of VPNs can be used to provide secure access to corporate resources for mobile employees and tele-commuters.
VPNs use shared infrastructure such as Internet and provides data security to the traffic flowing between the corporate office and branch offices, partners and employees. VPN addresses security issues by peer authentication, access control, per-packet authentication and data integrity, and by encrypting the traffic. IPSEC protocols are defined by IETF and conforming solutions are interoperable.
The VPN solution is scalable. Addition of a branch office, partner, customer or employee to the VPN does not require any additional hardware or software. It merely needs the addition of new policies in the existing IPSEC hardware or software solution.
The VPN solution is flexible. Multiple VPNs can be created. VPN created for intra-office communication is normally different from the extranet VPN created for partners and customers. IPSEC solutions provide flexibility to create multiple virtual private networks, which are independent of each other.
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