Let’s look at some real examples of VPNs.
Health Care Company Intranet Deployment
Here we have a health care company that’s deploying an intranet.
Well, why would they care so much about security? Your health records are something that you want to be secure. This is information that you don’t want non-authorized personnel to have access to.
So you can see on the figger, the company has a number of remote centers.
In this case, these are like doc-in-the-box, those little new medical clinics that are springing up. So those are relayed back to a primary network and back to the association where the primary hospital that these different medical centers are associated with resides.
So a lot of more sophisticated databases, etc., can be back at the hospital, and they can share the Internet and, with confidence, share medical data that they don’t want to have published to the outside world.
Branch Office or Telecommuters
Another example would be branch offices or perhaps telecommuters.
So the challenge is getting a cost-effective means to connect those small offices that maybe can’t afford a leased line or a leased line wouldn’t be appropriate for. And so with IPSec, you can encrypt the traffic from the remote sites to the enterprise.
It doesn’t matter what applications the users are using.
This isn’t just encrypting mail or just encrypting the database or something like that. You can encrypt all traffic if you want to. And so that’s something that you can set up right into the router in terms of what traffic you want to encrypt right into your client.
So using this, telecommuters can have full access safely to the corporation.
Traditional Dialup Versus Access VPN
To illustrate the savings an Access VPN can provide, compare the cost of implementing one with that of supporting a dial-up remote access application. Suppose a small manufacturing firm must support 20 mobile users dialing into the corporate network to access the company database and e-mail for approximately 90 minutes per day (per user).
In the traditional dial-up model, the 20 mobile workers use a modem to dial long distance directly into their corporate remote access server. Most of the cost in this scenario comes from the monthly toll chares and the time and effort required to manage modem pools (access server) that accrue on an on-going basis over the life of the application.
By using an access VPN, the manufacturing firm’s monthly toll charges can be significantly reduced. The mobile users will dial into a service provider’s local point of presence (POP) and initiate a tunnel back to the corporate headquarters over the Internet. Instead of paying long distance/800 toll charges, users pay only the cost equivalent to making a local call to the ISP. The initial investment in equipment and installation of an access VPN may be recaptured quickly by the savings in monthly toll charges.
How long will it take the manufacturing firm to realize a payback of the initial capital investment, then realize recurring monthly savings?
This chart shows us the return on investment. You can see that the payback is right about three months.
So you can see that VPNs save money in the long run.
– Summary –
- VPNs reduce costs
- VPNs improve connectivity
- VPNs maintain security
- VPNs offer flexibility
- VPNs are reliable
Lower cost: VPNs save money because they use the Internet, not costly leased lines, to transmit information to and from authorized users. Prior to VPNs, many companies with remote offices communicated through wide area networks (WANs), or by having remote workers make long-distance calls to connect to the main-office server. Both can be expensive propositions. WANs require establishing dedicated and inflexible leased lines between various business locations, which can be costly or impractical for smaller offices.
Improved communications: A VPN provides a robust level of connectivity comparable to a WAN. With increased geographic coverage, remote offices, mobile employees, clients, vendors, telecommuters, and even international business partners can use a VPN to access information on a company’s network. This level of interconnectivity allows for a more effective flow of information between a large number of people. The VPN provides access to both extranets and wide-area intranets, which opens the door for improved client service, vendor support, and company communications.
Security: VPNs maintain privacy through the use of tunneling protocols and standard security procedures. A secure VPN encrypts data before it travels through the public network and decrypts it at the receiving end. The encrypted information travels through a secure “tunnel” that connects to a company’s gateway. The gateway then identifies the remote user and lets the user access only the information he or she is authorized to receive.
Increased flexibility: With a VPN, customers, suppliers and remote users can be added to the network easily and quickly. Some VPN solutions simplify the process of administering the network by allowing the system’s manager to implement changes from any desktop computer. Once the equipment is installed, the company simply signs up with a service provider that activates the network by giving the company a slice of its bandwidth. This is much easier than establishing a WAN, which must be designed, built and managed by the company that creates it. VPNs also easily adapt to a company’s growth. These systems can connect 2,000 people as easily as 25.
Reliability: A secure VPN can be used for the authorization of orders from suppliers, the forwarding of revised legal documents, and many other confidential business processes. Recent improvements in VPN technology have also increased the system’s reliability. Many service providers will guarantee 99% VPN uptime and will offer credits for unanticipated outages.