The VPN, or virtual private network, is a popular technology built for problems like these. A virtual private network actually uses a physically public network, most times the Internet, in order to connect users from many remote sites. The connections are routed privately through the Internet from the private network of the business to the remotely located employee. The use of a VPN ensures that anyone who happens to intercept any data encrypted over the data stream can not actually read it.
The VPN is the connection network which connects many local area networks, like a ferry traveling between islands. There may be other people on this ferry, which is the idea of a leased line, which is the idea that the VPN came from. However, the VPN is more like a submarine than a ferry, transporting each individual client along his or her own data stream to get to the island that contains the remote employee.
Physical distance does not actually matter with a VPN, and a VPN is completely scalable, able to add more users much more easily than any other technology which attempts to connect LANs. The security of a VPN is also vastly improved over technologies of the past. Most VPNs now are not restricted by hours, meaning that any person on the business network should be able to access the VPN at any time from any location as well.
There are two main types of VPN.
The remote access VPN is the more common type of VPN. It allows each user to establish connections with other nodes within a business network privately. To have a remote access VPN, two components are necessary. First, a VPN must have a network access server, also called a media gateway. This is the server which the user actually uses to connect to the Internet to access the VPN. The VPN must also have client software. The client software allows the computer that the remote user is using to recognize the VPN that is being accessed and maintain a connection between that computer and the VPN. However, cloud technology is making this client software less and less a requirement as the “client software” can now be held by a third party server to which the remote computer will connect.