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What is a VPN?

VPN is an acronym for a Virtual Private Network. A Virtual Private Network allows you to connect your device or network via the Internet to another network. A VPN will normally encrypt the data which is transferred across the Internet.

What types of VPN are there?

There are two main types of VPN:

  • Remote Access – This provides a connection to resources on the remote network or to the Internet via the remote network. (For example, if you need to access a country restricted service, using a VPN provider on the allowed list would allow you access to that service.)
  • Site to Site – This allows two networks to connect to each other securely. (For example, if you have two offices which users on one network need to access files on a server on the other network.

What VPN prototcols are there?

Depending upon the type or purpose of the VPN

AcronymProtocol NameDescription/Use
PPTPPoint-to-Point Tunnelling ProtocolPPTP creates a tunnel and encapsulates the data packet. PPTP is available for most version of Windows from Windows 95 to Windows 10 and PPTP is used for remote access. Apple no longer support PPTP due to security concerns.
L2TPLayer 2 Tunnelling ProtocolA more secure VPN protocol as L2TP increases security by encrypting data via IPSec using a shared key. L2TP is used for remote access. L2TP is supported by Windows and Apple but can be more difficult to setup.
IPSECInternet Protocol SecurityIPSec creates a secure encrypted connection between two sites. IPSec can also be used to connect a single device to a network securely. Windows 10 has IPSec connector built in however normally a 3rd party application would be used to establish the connection.
SSL/TLSSecure Sockets Layer (SSL) /
Transport Layer Security (TLS)
SSL is normally associated with web HTTPS addresses and secures the traffic across the internet. Some routers now support SSL VPN for remote access. These would normally require a 3rd party application to establish the connection.

What can you use a VPN for?

Virtual Private Networks have are commonly uses for:

  • Remote working from home or via an Internet cafe or hotel network.
  • Connect two or more office networks together or connect key home users network to the business network using an IPSec VPN.

Recently, more users are using VPN to protect their identity through a VPN by connecting them to another network which hides your networks IP address. The VPN hides your location and can provide access to resources which are restricted by country. Some VPN providers will not track your usage or monitor your traffic.

Should you require assistance with setting up your business network to allow your users to work securely remotely, please contact us.