VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. The easiest way of explaining the Secure VPN is by using the example of how it can work for a business, although many of the same principles can be applied to networks within other organisations.
How do Businesses use VPN?
Businesses often use VPN to connect their employees when they are not working in the same office, so cant be connected via a wired network. This could be if they are working across a number of offices or if they need to access the companys network from their personal computer or a laptop when they are on the move. With IT playing such an important role in business today this can be crucial to the running of some businesses. With many not always working in the same location it is no good if people cant access anything from the network when they are not in the office.
A Secure Network
A network must be secure otherwise it can be compromised. For businesses this could include competitors gaining access or confidential information about customers being illegally accessed. A virtual private network helps to make a network secure while allowing access to employees wherever they are.
What is a VPN Client?
A VPN client is the software that users can use to connect to the virtual private network and each user installs it onto their own computer. They can then log onto the network via the VPN client, usually allowing them access to anything they would have access to if connecting to the server from the office.
How does VPN make the Network Secure?
With a virtual private network, data is sent across a wireless network, meaning potential for it being intercepted. It is therefore important this data is not compromised. VPN makes the data transfer secure by using encryption. Data is transferred from the VPN server to an individuals VPN client in data packets.
A data packet is effectively a group of data and contains a header component and a payload. A header component is essentially the title given to this data packet, while the payload is the actual data. The header and payload is encrypted so anyone who does manage to intercept it will be unable to decipher what it actually means. When it is received by the VPN client it will then be decrypted into its original form, making it understandable for the recipient.
The advantage of VPN is that employees are able to access data from a company’s network securely without anyone else being able to intercept and make use of this data. It means that any employees who have access to a computer and the internet will be able to access the company’s network, something that can massively improve efficiency in some businesses. Without a VPN there would be the possibility of security being compromised.
It is, of course, not just businesses who can make use of VPN for a secure network. Organisations of all types, from governments to schools, can use it in similar ways.