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Virtual private networks (VPNs) offer very strong protection for data communication. Secure VPNs provide both network authentication and encryption, and are most commonly implemented using IPsec or SSL.

Using IPsec for VPN Security:

  • Using IPsec for VPN Security:
    IPsec has been the traditional choice for implementing VPN security on corporate networks. Enterprise-class network appliances from companies like Cisco and Juniper implement the essential VPN server functions in hardware. Corresponding VPN client software is then used to log on to the network. IPsec operates at the layer 3 (the network layer) of the OSI model.

  • Using SSL for VPN Security:
    SSL VPNs are an alternative to IPsec that rely on a web browser, instead of relying on custom VPN clients to log on to the private network. By utilising the SSL network protocols built into standard web browsers and web servers, SSL VPNs are intended to be cheaper to set up and maintain than IPsec VPNs. Additionally, SSL operates at a higher level than IPsec, giving administrators more options to control access to network resources. However, it can be difficult configuring SSL VPNs to interface with resources not normally accessed from a web browser.

  • Wi-Fi versus VPN Security:
    Some organisations use an IPsec (or sometimes SSL) VPN to protect a Wi-Fi local area network. In fact, Wi-Fi security protocols like WPA2 and WPA-AES are designed to support the necessary authentication and encryption without the need for any VPN support.