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Virtual Private Network
 
Contents

Executive Brief
What is Virtual Private Network?
How Beneficial is Virtual Private Network?
Virtual Private Network and the Internet Advantage
Virtual Private Network and Security
Summary

Executive Brief
Virtual Private Network is the latest effort to meet the ever-changing demand of the IT industry. To step up high speed, secure and an efficient communication mode is the Virtual Private Network. How is this different from the existing technologies? What edge does it impart to your business? Virtual Private Network is foreseen as a promising breakthrough that would enable the Internet suitable for supporting enterprise networks. Presenting you an insight into this technology.
Software development in future would take place in a distributed environment, where development could be carried out in two different places across the globe simultaneously, without any delays or confusion during the software development life cycle. It is a reliable way to maintain the company's privacy while streamlining operations, reducing costs and allowing for flexible network administration.

What is Virtual Private Network?
A Virtual Private Network enables small and medium sized businesses to extend the geographical reach of their network and connect to the branch offices, remote employees and development centers. It is a reliable way to maintain the company's privacy while streamlining operations, reducing costs and allowing for flexible network administration. Virtual Private Network typically supports secure, private connections within the company the Intranet, off-site employees Remote Access and customer's e-commerce, all using the Internet as the underlying transport facility. Ideally, a Virtual Private Network is a private network; it should be secure, and have a predictable performance.

How Beneficial is Virtual Private Network?
Virtual Private Network enables a company to reduce communication costs, streamline office operations and provide improved services. Geographically dispersed teams share the same needs for distributed source-code control. When it comes to working on the design documents, test cases, specifications, and source code that comprise the project, individual team members need to work on pieces in isolation, then integrate those pieces with the modifications of their coworkers, without clobbering anyone else's changes. Changes need to be tracked so that errors and design changes can be undone easily.

Tracking a group of files that have been changed over a period of time, bug fixes can be made to the appropriate release. Once changes are complete the file is checked back in, accompanied with brief comments describing the changes. Talking about version up gradation, while upgrading software versions a set of new folders would be shared to keep track of the version up gradation, modules would be shared between the two development centers, brief comments describing about the up gradation, and the file is checked back into the repository. Basically developers create, manipulate, and configure the shared repository

Diagram 1.0 depicts a clear picture of Virtual Private Network distributed software
 
 

As you can see in the diagram, the development process is taking place in 2 different locations simultaneously. They share common repositories so that whatever changes are made in either of the 2 development centers could be viewed or modified by the developers in either of the centers simultaneously. A centralized server is being used to share the data. Only those employees who have the authentication can access the repositories and make modifications or changes.

Other Benefits Of VPN
Many people want to work at home for personal reasons such as taking care of their children or eliminating time commuting to and from work. In today's competitive business climate, companies are catering to employee demands and often will let skilled employees telecommute in order to retain their services. Additionally, many companies will now hire the best candidate for a job regardless of where that person is located. To do this, company's let these people telecommute full time rather than move them closer to the office. Additionally, there is a different kind of mobile work force today than in the past. People have always traveled, but today's traveler needs frequent access to the corporate network. For example, access to e-mail is now considered essential by most travelers. On top of that, more employees' work extended hours. It is common for professionals to require access to e-mail and network applications at night and on the weekends. All of this is increasing the demand for connectivity. Further driving the connectivity needs of a corporation are other major business changes. Decentralization of corporations is on the rise. Rather than having a corporate headquarters where the majority of employees are located, most companies today spread their operations across the country or even the world.

Virtual Private Network and the Internet Advantage
As connectivity increases, your exposure also increases and so does your potential security risks. Network managers strive to preserve the characteristics of a dedicated network for their e-business applications, including well-defined performance expectations and higher levels of security.

VPNs are considered to provide the best available solution currently. It assures:

  • Control over Performance: VPNs can provide well-defined performance and quality. Robust VPNs will control performance at both ends of the user level.

  • Application and Service Integration: Users on one network may need to access a variety of applications or services on different VPNs, within and external to the enterprise. So, users on one network with the right access and security capabilities can connect to other networks of business partners and even communicate across different service provider boundaries.

Additional cost savings VPN can result in a network that is less expensive to build operate and administer. Outsourcing the VPN to a service provider can produce even greater savings.

Virtual Private Network and Security

  • Authentication - The ability to verify the parties on both ends of the link

  • Integrity - The ability to verify that all data transmitted and received has not been tampered or changed.

  • Confidentiality- The ability to ensure that all the transmitted data over the link is read or intercepted.

VPN is a combination of software and hardware that allows telecommuters, remote sites and business partners to use the Internet to establish a secure connection with a host network. This connection forms what appears to be a private network.

A secure connection is established by tunneling through the Internet. Tunneling encapsulates message packet within an Internet Protocol packet for transmission across the Internet. There are three protocols for tunneling through the Internet, Internet Protocol Security, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol and Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. All three protocols adhere to the basic Internet security standards.

Summary
VPNs cater to large networks that want to exploit the benefits of the public Internet without compromising on their security, reliability and performance. VPN can be a viable alternative to dedicated, private network links but needs a thorough understanding to help organizations build infrastructures that will support their business needs today as well as tomorrow.

 
 
 
 
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