Virtual Private Network – what are they ?
I have been asked to put together a brief overview of what is a VPN and why you should use one…
so here is the story – You have read why you should be careful when using internet cafes in my last post so you now know why you need to have a secure connection which no one can listen to and steal your information.
the basic concept of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is that it is a secure connection which is made to your company’s network even though you are using an unsecure connection such as internet cafe or your internet service provider.
You need to have a very basic understanding of how your network works.
When you are in the office, your computer gets a Private IP address which is how you connect to your gateway and servers. This is typically something like 192.168.0.5. Now you leave the office and you still want to connect to your servers (which might be 192.168.0.2)- but here is the catch – when you are out of the office you get an IP address from your internet service provider or from your internet cafe. However, this address is not part of your private network at the office and therefore your computer can not “talk” to your servers (this could be anythign such as 18.104.22.168). Now from a techie point of view a 22.214.171.124 is a public ip address which can not “see” the private 192.168.0.2 address of your email server. Therefore, you can not get any mail !
So here is what you do :
your network administrator will create a secure “key” or “certificate” that is linked to your account.
When you are off-site and you would make an internet connection
You then open your VPN client (software) which has your certificate built into it
This VPN client makes a secure connection to your office and then assigns you an IP address as if you were on the network !
you can now access your system in a secure way, read your emails, access your file server and even print (all depends on how your system is set up).
just a bit of basic info on VPN usage…