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In essence, a VPN is a private network that uses the Internet to connect different remote sites and users. The connections are routed from the private network to the remote sites. Routing these connections through a private network mean businesses increase their security, and the data that is transferred over the network is encrypted.
To better understand how VPNs work, it’s first important to understand that there are two main types of VPNs, and they differ dramatically. A remote-access VPN, also referred to as a virtual private dial-up network (VPDN), is a connection that is commonly used by companies so employees can connect to the company network from various remote locations. These types of VPNs are common for large companies that have lots of remote sales people, so they can easily connect to the network from wherever they are. Each VPN service provider is different, and offers different types of VPNs, so make sure you have the one for your business that you need.
Site-to-site VPN, on the other hand, uses dedicated equipment to connect multiple remote sites over a public network. These types of VPNs save money for companies, since each remote site only needs a local connection to the Internet, and long private leased-lines are not required.
It actually is relatively simple to understand how a VPN operates. When something is sent through a VPN, the VPN router adds an authentication header for authentication. The data being sent is then encrypted and enclosed with a encapsulating security payload.
The receiving VPN router than receives the data, and decrypts it. It’s then routed to its destination, where it can be easily access since it’s decrypted.
These things make it near impossible for data sent over a VPN to be hacked. If a hacker attempts to hack a VPN, they must not only intercept the data, but they must decrypt it too. VPNs have multiple levels of authentication and encryption, meaning a hacker must know multiple keys to access the data. And since many VPN providers can easily identify when a hacker is trying to intercept the data, the chances of being hacked when using a VPN are very, very small.
In essence, a VPN is a fantastic way to add security and reliability to your network. If you or your business does not use a VPN, it’s definitely worth investing in.