VPNs have become a popular and affordable solution for linking off-site workers, business partners, and customers using a public network that looks, to the user, like a closed system. Companies don’t have to invest in dedicated physical circuits to run the network, and they have room to grow that would be expensive or impossible with a leased line. With more companies switching to the technology, Gartner Dataquest estimates that money spent in the VPN market grew by 30 percent in 2001.

These CIO Republic articles can help you make the right VPN choice initially and then ensure that your setup is secure.

  • “Securing the remote user population”
    Nearly 32 million people will telecommute either full- or part-time this year, in part because broadband services and VPNs make it easier for home users to connect to enterprise systems. This easy solution brings a security risk, however, due to malicious software that allows hackers to view data on an infected PC, or even eavesdrop on a user’s session. This article explains how to prevent hackers from stealing usernames and passwords to the company’s systems.
  • “Integrated VPNs can help secure remote workstations”
    Some personal firewall vendors are teaming up with companies that fight malicious code to create integrated VPNs. This article looks at integrated offerings from major VPN vendors, such as Check Point and Cisco. Integrated products should give IT departments more effective and easier security management for remote workers.
  • “The VPN Advisor examines software vs. hardware solutions, SSL issues”
    This Q&A explores the pros and cons of using a VPN gateway or server with VPN software installed vs. a VPN appliance hardware product. The article also covers the basics of a relatively new technology, SSL-based VPNs. These networks use the encryption technology embedded in a Web browser to provide a secure connection to corporate data or applications.
  • “The VPN Advisor answers reliability and scalability questions”
    This Q&A article explains several technologies—such as load balancing—that can make VPNs more reliable. The author also explains ways to scale a VPN, including buying devices that can be clustered and using a chassis-based system.
  • “SSL boosters: Not just for e-commerce anymore”
    This article is an interview with an IT consultant who says that SSLs can be the basis of a “poor man’s VPN.” A checklist will help you determine which SSL-based acceleration tool is right for your company.