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Network Security and Virtual Private Network Technologies

Chapter Description

Network security can be a headache, especially when VPN technology is added to the mix. This chapter from the CCSP Self-Study text will help prepare you to deal with the complex security issues presented by virtual vrivate networks.

The Need for VPNs

The introduction of a VPN into your corporate network infrastructure can provide many benefits:

  • Reduced costs—Businesses vastly reduce their costs by using the Internet to provide the site-to-site and remote-access infrastructure. Before VPNs, businesses connected using expensive leased lines and telephone systems.

  • Improved communications—With a VPN, remote-access and home-based users can connect to the central office network from anywhere at any time.

  • Flexibility and scalability—The introduction of a VPN simplifies and centralizes network administration. The VPN infrastructure can be easily adapted to the company's changing needs, both now and in the future.

  • Security and reliability—Security is inherent within a VPN, provided through tunneling protocols and encryption software. The reduced number of entry points and the inherent resilience of the Internet mean that the solution is considerably more reliable.

  • Wireless networking—VPN technology is increasingly combined with wireless connectivity to ensure complete privacy of the data transmitted in environments where data privacy is mandated, such as financial institutions. This ensures that an organization is not vulnerable to inherently weak standard wireless security features.

It is important to note that VPNs can also bring you increased business benefits. They let you develop trust relationships with your suppliers and partners and give your employees round-the-clock access to vital information. Any intranets and extranets that are developed can promote knowledge sharing among partners and employees, and the ease with which information can be accessed and communicated can boost employee morale. These types of benefits cannot be easily measured but can add real value to how you do business and ultimately have a positive impact on turnover and profit.

Implementing a VPN can bring you the benefits outlined here and are a cost-effective, flexible, secure method of managing your digital communications. However, it is important that you work with a partner who ensures that the technology is implemented effectively and forms part of a competent security infrastructure. Many organizations undermine their technical investments, because a lack of detailed knowledge during implementation can leave gaps in security infrastructures that can be exploited and give open access to business-critical information.