How do I...choose a VPN for my small business?

A virtual private network (VPN)is a way to use a public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet,to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organization's network.  A VPN works by using the shared public infrastructure while maintaining privacy through security procedures and tunneling protocols such as the Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP). In effect, the protocols,by encrypting data at the sending end and decrypting it at the receiving end, send the data through a "tunnel" that cannot be "entered" by data that is not properly encrypted. An additional level of security involves encrypting not only the data, but also the originating and receiving network addresses.

A guide to VPNs By setting up a virtual private network (VPN), you can access your corporate network from anywhere that you have access to an Internet connection.

Can you tell me a bit about future perspectives and plans on VPN technologies? Many market analysts expect to see MPLS and SSL eat into the IPSEC market,but we will probably see all three kinds of VPNs being used for many years to come.

VPN for smaller offices In looking at lower-cost VPN alternatives, it's important to look at the entire picture -- much of the cost of VPNs comes from the ongoing management.

Hardware vs. software-based VPNs for small office I am trying to find information on setting up a VPN for small offices (up to 20 users). Specifically, is a Microsoft-based VPN as secure as a hardware-based VPN?

How do I install my own VPN? (free registration required) The plethora of turn-key, appliance-like VPN solutions marketed to the small-and home-office crowd makes knowing what components you need to buy more difficult than installing them.

Expert Webcast - Build-It-Yourself VPNs (free registration required) Learn about the management challenges, ease of use issues and differences in supported applications for traditional IPsec versus Web-based approaches.

What are the top 10 VPN clients in use today? Expert Lisa Phifer provides an answer.

What's all the hype about VPNs? For some organizations, with complex network requirements, the benefits of VPNs far outweigh the costs of configuration and maintenance. Still other organizations, lacking sufficient in-house networking expertise, find that outsourcing provides a good solution.

Is an SSL VPN a better choice for my small business than an IPsec VPN? A study from Infonetics research finds that Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)virtual private networks (VPNs) are poised to fill a market niche not covered by traditional Internet Protocol Secure (IPsec) VPNs.

Should I use a hardware or software VPN? Using an existing Windows NT/2000/2003 box as your VPN gateway is tempting to those who already have a spare PC and Windows software and some experience in administering Windows. So why do so many businesses buy a hardware firewall/VPN appliance instead of using Windows as their VPN gateway?

What is the difference between VPN and VPN pass-through? This is an excellent question because it confuses a lot of folks who don't know much about the inner workings of VPNs.

Risks of logging into VPN via a remote wireless router My company has a Cisco PIX Firewall. We have several users who have wireless routers (Linksys) at home and log in to the VPN over them. What risks are we exposed to at the company?

Tackling VPN security With this latest round of worms it became apparent that our biggest exposure was NOT our front door (the firewall), but rather the back door (laptops brought in from vendors/home, VPN users without fire walls). How are most organizations tackling the issue of protecting those devices?

Related Questions:

What is a good low end cost VPN router?

Are there are any VPN clients for Mac OS X that support L2TP?

Where should the VPN terminate?

What port connections are used by VPNs?

Can I run VPN and company Web site on same server?

How can I help users increase their speed on the VPN?

How can I have two VPN clients on one machine?  

This was last updated in May 2010

Dig Deeper on Network Management Software, Tools and Utilities