How VPNs work

A VPN, otherwise known as a virtual private network is as the name suggests a private network which uses a public network to securely connect users or remote users across the globe together. Thanks to technological advancements a quality VPN is able to utilise the public internet system (World Wide Web) to route virtual connections from an individual or business user’s own private network and onto another employee or separate remote site. Using a VPN such as this ensures that data sent remains secure as any person outside the network who did see the data would see only encrypted and undecipherable information.

In the past other ways to make remote connections were more common. Often computers between offices at different locations used a leased line to connect them. An example of a leased line would by ISDN (integrated services digital network) and this would run at a maximum 128 Kbps.

  • The Expensive Leased Line

These leased lines were effectively rented out to a business by their telecommunication company in order for them to use private networks to securely extend their overall network outside of their general location. For example, it would link offices in different cities. While leased lines such as these, whose connections built up a single wide-area network (or WAN), were secure they were also costly and as office bases moved further apart geographically the price increased and soon became prohibitive to many enterprises.

  • The Easier Way to Stay Safe

Fortunately technology has moved on significantly in recent years and the internet is faster than ever and easy for everyone to access. Due to ongoing development internet service providers (ISPs) are able to offer more reliable services considerably cheaper. In order to benefit from the decreased prices and additional functionality many businesses have established their own internal networks, or private intranets which are solely for the use of employees, students etc.

  • Sharing on a Wider Scale

Adding access via a VPN in place of the traditional intranet which connects via the public internet enables those enjoying the benefits of desktop sharing and other such features to do so on a wider scale, including allowing access and information sharing to those working outside of the office base and while away.

  • Taking Back Control

When the intranet is connected via the public internet a business has limited personal control over the security of their connection and when sensitive data is being passed between employees this leaves a company exposed and at risk. Using a public resource to connect does pose a security risk and this is where VPN steps in.

Ideally what is required is a secure pathway which enables employees and business owners to send information in real time without the risk of others intercepting data and without the overwhelming costs associated with leased lines, especially as much business nowadays takes place internationally.

A VPN provides a safe, speedy, dependable and cost-effective method for businesses and individuals to move information around the world without the concern that data could be seen by those outside the company.

This illustrates the difference between a leased line, a WAN and the fast and significantly cheaper and more secure VPN.

When choosing a VPN you choose an option that will grow with the size of your business, your employee numbers and the number of contacts you have without restrictions. Whether your work is predominately locally based or far-reaching, a VPN should be in place to ensure the business remains safe, secure and unhindered by delays.