Virtual private network. Security encrypted connection.

For any Small to Medium sized Business (SMB) owner, recovering from a Cyber-attack or a security breach involves these procedures:

  1. Immediately securing the lines of defense at your organization;
  2. What to check for in your IT Infrastructure after your business has been impacted;
  3. Whom to notify in the case that a Cyber-attack has actually indeed happened;
  4. The kind of letter that should be written to the impacted parties (primarily those of customers, and any other third parties that you deal with, such as suppliers and distributors).

In this blog, we continue to examine another tool that you can use to help fortify the lines of defense at your business.  This is known as the “Virtual Private Network”, or “VPN” for short.  Essentially, with this kind of technology, you are masking your network lines of communication.  For example, if your remote employee logs in to access resources which are located at your place of business, that particular connection will actually appear to be “invisible” to the outside world.

This will be another series of blogs, with this one being an overview into the Virtual Private Network.

An Overview into the Virtual Private Network

A Virtual Private Network is essentially a dedicated network in of itself.  It is highly specialized, with the main intention of securing the flow of communication between the sending and the receiving parties (with the example above, the former would be the corporate servers and the latter would be the remote employee attempting to login).

In its simplest form, the Virtual Private Network takes the data packet in which the plain text message (for example, the login credentials of the remote employee) resides in. This plain text message cannot just be sent by itself. It needs to have a vehicle in which to travel across the network medium, (which is the data packet), and then further encrypts it on as needed basis.

This encryption tool is actually just another data packet.  Meaning, the data packet which contains the plaintext message (the login credentials of your remote employee) is further wrapped inside by another data packet, in order to provide that extra layer of protection.  This process is technically known as “encapsulation”.

Once this process has been accomplished, the Virtual Private Network then establishes a dedicated network connection, or even a dedicated network channel, in which the encapsulated data packet can be sent in.  Although this specific connection makes use of the public network infrastructure and related systems, this special type of network connection established and used by the Virtual Private Network cannot be seen by others, as this connection cannot be picked up by network sniffers.

Conclusions

Our next blog will examine in detail the mechanics into this special kind of network connection.  This is known specifically as “IP Tunneling”.