As you have learned, VPN allows you to connect to an office or organization, internal network or infrastructure through the Internet. That is, you are sitting in Dubai, you have an office in D.C. You can go through the Internet, VPN creates a tunnel, encrypts the data within the tunnel, and, should any hackers try to penetrate the tunnel, it drops the connection and tries to recreate it somewhere else.
Another important thing to remember, especially if you come from Microsoft world, is to understand how simple VPN technology is. That is, in Microsoft packages there are a lot of things on top of their products.
So, with VPN, they (Microsoft) have active directory, group policies, share permissions and all that kind of stuff. What you need to remember is that a pure VPN is meant to create this tunnel with encryption that connects you to the internal network. It has nothing to do with active directory, group policies, share permissions, etc. You can put servers into active directory that allows group policies and all of that stuff, but VPN itself does not have anything to do with those, so you can set VPN connection without knowing anything about active group policies, intrusion, detection or any of that.
Another thing about VPN is that there are a lot of VPN solutions out there. Probably any VPN solution you are going to come across will work fine for you, but the thing is that you have to stick with that VPN solution. So, take Microsoft: one of the reasons why almost everybody uses Microsoft’s VPN is that it is built into their servers and their clients’ operating systems.
If you buy Microsoft server, it has routing and remote access, their VPN, built into their server for free, you don’t have to pay a dime for it. So, it is built into the server. Then, if you have any version of Windows which is after Windows 95, then you have VPN client built into the OS, so you just configure VPN software on the server, configure the router and then you set up the VPN client on the computer and it will be able to connect to the server. It is easy.
But remember, if you have Cisco VPN client, there is good chance it will not be able to connect to that Microsoft Windows server. This is very vendor specific. If you use Open VPN Client, you need Open VPN Server; if you use Cisco VPN Server, you need Cisco VPN Client.
Like it was said, Microsoft has a built-in VPN, so frankly most of us just follow Microsoft. In the real world, there are two very important things to remember:
– Your Internet upload speed is really going to matter with VPN connection, because remember, since somebody is sitting in Dubai, and they are trying to add documents, they now have to be able to pull those documents out of your server all the way through the Internet over their computer. So, if dealing with 100, 200MB, 1GB files, an entire file has to be pulled from your server installed in your building out of your puny pathetic Internet connection to them. If you have 756kbps connection, that is not going to work pretty well.
– If you are in a city like Baltimore, all wiring is very bad for transmitting data. Data needs new, clean, and newish, less than twenty-year-old wiring to be able to move efficiently. If you have old wirings, a lot of defects in that wiring, the VPN software will think these problems are hackers trying to penetrate the tunnel. It will keep dropping your tunnel because of thinking hackers are trying to penetrate it, but basically you just have a bad wiring, so that is why VPN tries to recreate itself and it goes really bad.
That’s what VPN is: nice, relatively easy-to-use piece of software, client-server solution. There is VPN Server, you connect to it using VPN Client, and, as it is said, all the tunneling and encryption is done behind the curtain, you do not really have to worry about it.
What you have to worry about is what the external IP address, username and password are.