CompTIA Network+ Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) – Part 3

In the previous article we have discussed in detail about different types of protocols viz. PPTP, L2TP and IPSec. The fourth type of VPN protocol is SSL VPN.

SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer VPN)

SSL VPN is another type of a virtual private network which can be easily integrated with a standard browser. As we had discussed earlier that IPSec protocol requires a huge architecture with huge installations to be carried out at the client side as well. SSl VPN, on the other hand does not need any installation of software at the client side.

An SSL VPN is used to give users remote access to different client or server applications, other web applications and network connections. We do already know that a VPN gives us a secure mode of data transmission between two terminals. An SSL VPN is basically a combination of a few VPN devices where the user connects to through the browser. The data transmitted between the browser and the VPN device is encrypted with the SSL protocol or the Transport Layer Security i.e. TLS protocol.

SSL VPNs are versatile in nature. Usage is also pretty easy and it provides a greater control on a huge number of users connected on different terminals all trying to access data from various remote locations.

The Major types of SSL VPNs are as follows:

SSL Portal VPN: Here, there is only a single connection to a particular website. Thus, the user can access several network services simultaneously. The site is termed as portal as this single page opens up to several other resources. Identification of the user is established here by a typical authentication method supported by the gateway itself.

SSL Tunnel VPN: Network access, including protocols and other applications in this type of SSL VPN is accomplished through a tunnel which runs under SSL. These type of VPNs require that the browsers are able to support active content like Flash applications, JavaScript or Active X which provides them some functionality which is not possible in case of SSL portal VPNs.

Overall, SSL VPN does provide both ease of use and protection. We also cannot override the fact that this is a very well tried and tested method in today’s digital world and is being used heavily these days. This protocol is mainly predominant in online banking and online stores.

We have also discussed earlier that SSL VPN is very less complicated as the client side does not need any software to be installed. This helps a lot in lessening the burden as the total client side overhead is not there. Here, the user only has to depend on a secure portal which can be seen in the URL as https:

SSL VPNs can basically support several users that can easily access the main network without requiring any administrator support or even knowledge of how to configure the protocol unlike that of IPSec protocol.

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