In today’s globalized digital landscape, it’s more important than ever for organizations to safeguard data as it moves between different locations. Site-to-site VPNs offer secure interconnectivity, enabling geographically dispersed offices, data centers, and remote sites to communicate over public networks while shielding sensitive information from cybercriminals.
Behind the scenes, VPN protocols empower secure, seamless, and confidential exchange between these network endpoints.
A business VPN can keep employees and remote workers connected to corporate offices, enabling them to share resources and collaborate with team members no matter where they are located.
Specifically, a site-to-site VPN offers a permanent, secure, always-on connection between two or more geographically separate local area networks (LANs) in an organization. A site-to-site VPN essentially creates a corporate intranet, allowing data exchange between sites in different locations while keeping unauthorized users out.
A site-to-site VPN, or router-to-router VPN, creates an encrypted virtual tunnel to protect data as it travels over a public or untrusted network like the internet from one LAN to another. For example, they can connect branch offices to a central corporate network or link multiple data centers.
Site-to-site VPNs often require dedicated hardware, such as routers and firewalls, at each network location to handle the VPN connections and are usually configured and managed by an enterprise IT department.
In contrast, remote access VPNs are designed to connect individual devices, such as laptops and smartphones, to corporate networks from remote, out-of-office locations. Remote access VPNs require software installed on each user’s device, which communicates with a VPN server on the organization’s network.
When a user requires access to corporate resources, they enable a VPN connection, verify their credentials, and disconnect at the end of each session.
VPNs create an encrypted pathway, or a tunnel, for data to pass securely between the internet and the corporate network. A VPN protocol is a set of rules used to encrypt, send, and authenticate data safely through the tunnel, keeping confidential and protecting it from unauthorized interception or manipulation.
The selection of tunneling protocols for corporate VPNs depends on various factors, including security requirements, compatibility with the network infrastructure, and the specific use case.
Here’s an at-a-glance summary of commonly used VPN protocols:
Let’s go into each one.
IPsec is like a high-security vault for your data. It uses strong locks and keys to make sure your corporate network is only accessed by authorized employees. It’s one of the safest choices.
IKEv2/IPsec is a protocol that’s really good at keeping your connection strong and secure. It’s especially handy for mobile devices and ensures your connection stays secure even if you move around a lot.
L2TP is like a protective tunnel for your data. It’s often used with another security method called IPsec to make sure your information stays safe while traveling between your computer and the corporate network.
PPTP is an older and simpler way to create a secure connection between your computer and a corporate network. It provides some security, but it’s not considered the most secure option.
OpenVPN is like a super customizable and secure tunnel for your data. It can work with various types of devices and provides top-notch security. Think of it as a Swiss Army knife for VPNs.
Developed by Microsoft, this protocol creates secure, encrypted connections between a client (usually a Windows computer) and a VPN server. SSTP incorporates SSL/TLS security protocols for encryption to provide secure data transmission between web browsers and web servers. SSTP is often used to provide secure remote access to corporate networks.
WireGuard is like a super-fast and secure highway for your data. It’s known for its simplicity and speed, making it a great choice for high-performance VPNs where speed and security are both important.
SSH creates secure tunnels to protect computer-to-computer access. It’s often used to provide remote access and manage servers or devices over an unsecured network like the Internet. SSH is involved in data encryption and credential authentication methods to ensure security.
MPLS acts like a postal system, routing data efficiently through large networks. It uses labels (like zip codes) to quickly and securely route data between different parts of a network. It’s commonly used by big organizations to connect their offices and data centers while keeping their data private and organized.
Hybrid VPNs combine different types of VPNs and network technologies to create a custom solution that fits your specific needs. It’s like choosing the right tools for different jobs, ensuring you have the right balance of security and performance for your network.
VPN protocols play pivotal roles in safeguarding your data and ensuring secure communication over the internet or private networks. Since VPN protocols can significantly impact the security, performance, and versatility of your connection, it’s important to choose the right ones to meet your organization’s needs.
Confused by Site-to-Site VPN protocols and how they can help you meet your company’s security goals? For more detailed information, book a demo and get a 20-minute consultation from our knowledgeable team today.