A site-to-site VPN is a type of virtual private network that keeps information encrypted between two or more networks without needing credentials or client apps on devices using it. Many small or big organizations use site-to-site virtual private networks to influence an internet connection for private traffic to use private MPLS circuits.
Site-to-site virtual private network services are frequently used by businesses with multiple offices in different geographic regions that need to access and use the corporate network on an ongoing basis. With a site-to-site virtual private network, a business can securely connect its corporate network with its remote offices to communicate and share data and resources with them as a single network.
Site-to-site virtual private networks are helpful for businesses that prioritize private, protected traffic and are particularly helpful for corporations with more than one office spread out over significant geographical locations. These organizations have to access resources housed on a primary network, including servers that facilitate store data or email. In some situations, a server may be the operational hub of an application essential to the company’s business. A site-to-site virtual private network can provide all sites full access to the application.
Site-to-site virtual private networks are important tools for many businesses all over the world. It offers this by creating an encrypted link between virtual private network gateways located at each website. A site-to-site virtual private network tunnel encrypts internet traffic at one end and sends it to the other website over the public internet, where it is decrypted and routed to its destination.
- Understanding Virtual Private Networks and Its Types
- Pros of Site-to-Site VPN
- Cons of Site-to-Site VPN
- Why use a Site-to-Site VPN?
Understanding Virtual Private Networks and Its Types
There are not many different types of virtual private networks, and each comes with its own advantages. Depending on the requirements of your business, one type may better fit your objectives than others.
Remote Access Virtual Private Networks
A remote-access virtual private network refers to a temporary connection set up between two or more users and a central network location. In most situations, a remote access virtual private network is used to private each location access to a data center. In some cases, a connection that uses internet protocol security is sufficient. However, it is common for a business to use a virtual private network, which avails them of the protection positioned at the gateways at each end of the virtual private network.
A remote-access virtual private network is a helpful tool for businesses with remote workers either on the road or in their homes. If these remote workers need to access private data housed in the company’s server, they can connect to a remote access VPN. In this way, each employee can gain access to the resources they want to do their jobs.
This virtual private network type can offer workers in different locations an experience similar to those in the head office who can connect to the server at their work desks using an Ethernet cable.
Intranet-based Site-to-Site Virtual Private Network
An intranet-based site-to-site virtual private network connects more than one LAN to form a wide-area network. A firm may also use this kind of setup to incorporate software-defined WAN. Intranet-based site-to-site virtual private networks are valuable tools for securely combining resources housed in disparate offices as if they were in the same location.
An intranet-based site-to-site virtual private network is beneficial if each website develops its own resources or houses unique processes that the entire firm would benefit from having access to. For example, if each office has design schematics that were constantly updated and adjusted for customers, an intranet-based site-to-site virtual private network would provide decision-makers in a number of offices safe access to everything produced.
Extranet-based Site-to-Site Virtual Private Network
Extranet-based site-to-site virtual private networks are used by two or more different businesses that want to share specific resources but keep others private. With an extranet-based site-to-site virtual private network, each entity connects to the VPN service and selects what they need to make available to the other businesses. In this way, they can collaborate and share without exposing private information.
Pros of Site-to-Site VPN
Site-to-site virtual private networks are in use by various organizations. The reason for this is that they offer several benefits to enterprises and their employees, such as:
- Safe and Secure connectivity: All the internet traffic over a site-to-site virtual private network is encrypted. This means that any important information crossing over the public internet is encrypted, protected against eavesdropping and modification.
- Easy Network Architecture: Businesses use internet IP address ranges for devices within their local area networks. These addresses need to be improved to external IP addresses to be accessible from the public internet. With site-to-site virtual private networks, internet traffic from one LAN to another remains internal, meaning that all websites can use internal IP addresses for each other’s resources.
- Access Control: Some internet network resources are intended to be accessible internally, meaning that employees at other websites should have access but not external users. Since site-to-site virtual private network users are internal users, access control rules are easy to define because any internet traffic not originating from inside the network or entering via VPN tunnels can be blocked from accessing these resources.
Cons of Site-to-Site VPN
Site-to-site virtual private networks are effective at offering safe and secure connectivity between multiple business websites. However, they are not an ideal solution and have their cons, such as:
- Restricted Scalability: A virtual private network provides point-to-point connectivity, meaning a unique connection is needed for each pair of connected websites. As a result, the number of virtual private networks required for a complete-connected network grows exponentially with the number of websites.
- Ineffective Routing: The restricted scalability and lack of built-in security of virtual private network services drive some businesses to implement a hub and spoke network architecture. All connections pass tunnels needed within an organization, creating significant network latency and extra load on the headquarters network.
- Fragmented Visibility: Each site-to-site virtual private network connection is independent of all of the others. It can be tough for a business to maintain complete, integrated visibility into its network traffic. As a result, attacks distributed across the corporate WAN may be more difficult to detect and respond to efficiently.
- Lack of Integrated Security: Site-to-site virtual private networks are designed to offer an encrypted connection between two points. The VPN performs no security inspection of content or access control, offering the virtual private network user unrestricted access to the target network.
- Difficult Management and Configuration: The independence of each site-to-site virtual private network tunnel makes a VPN-based corporate WAN complex to manage and configure. Each virtual private network tunnel must be individually set up, monitored, and managed.
Why use a Site-to-Site VPN?
There are various factors to consider when figuring out whether to use site-to-site virtual private network services. In some situations, typical IPSec is enough for communication between two or more locations. However, few concerns may drive a firm to use a VPN connection instead:
- Business Size
- The distance between each location
- The number of locations
- The data the locations have to share
In most situations, a site-to-site virtual private network is an excellent solution if your business consists of many locations, each with employees that need to share resources offered by the main office. If you use a site-to-site virtual private network in this kind of situation, you can make sure that all employees have safe access to the same resources.
For example, assume you have a firm based in New York, but it has various branch offices in France, one in Shanghai, and another in Switzerland. Each location has between 10 and 20 employees. The firm’s email system is housed on a central server. You have a data server that holds private marketing collateral ad proprietary information. If you use a site-to-site virtual private network, not only can every employee access the same resources, but the information is also encrypted, keeping it secure from hackers who may need to exploit it.