VPN Concentrators: IPsec vs SSL

vpn-ipsec-sslThe internet revolutionized the world, offering people across the globe new ways to learn and interact. The technology has evolved through time and its functionality has extended significantly. It is also easy to use and its availability has increased thanks to mobile devices that allow you to get online on the go.

With the growth of internet usage, the need to offer a secure connection became apparent. That’s why VPNs appeared as a solution to protect data transmitted online. Of course, data protection isn’t an issue just for private users, but many businesses as well. Therefore VPN concentrators, which allow a single device to manage a large number of incoming VPN tunnels, have gained popularity.

Find out why VPN concentrators can be the ideal solution for companies and organizations that want to save money while ensuring that their internet connection is secure.

VPN Concentrators

In general, there are two kinds of VPN concentrators: SSL VPNs and IPsec VPNs. Some of them can only support one of these protocols, but companies like Cisco offer concentrators that can use both.

IPsec

The usual tunnel for VPNs is IPsec, which is found at the network layer of the OSI model. This allows a client to be established as a virtual member of the connected network, meaning that they would be able to access the network as if they were connecting locally. IPsec offers a seamless experience for users that connect from outside the network as applications work in the same way as they do for local users. The downside is that additional security controls are required in order to avoid risks.

A user that wants to access the IPsec VPN will need to have their software specially configured. Although this enhances the security of the system, its implementation carries additional costs, such as time and technical support. This explains why many people opt for an SSL solution instead.

SSL

SSL is included in many computers through their web browsers, meaning that there is minimal installation and configuration effort required. Furthermore, instead of being situated at the network layer and enabling access to every part of it, SSL gives administrators the capacity to manage access to applications that are web-enabled with more precision. Admins can also enjoy a greater level of control over SSL VPN connections usage.

The main issue with SSL VPNs is that you can only use them through a Web browser and only applications that are web-based will work. While you can web-enable additional applications to work with SSL, you would need to spend more time configuring this solution. Another thing is that SSL applications don’t have options offered by IPsec such as centralized storage and shared access.

Additionally, another concern for some users is the possibility of Web caching, with private information being exposed. A such, you may want to opt for a VPN concentrator that offers automatic cache clean-up after session termination to ensure data privacy as part of its function.

Conclusion

Both solutions offer advantages and disadvantages, but they can enhance the security of a network while offering flexibility for businesses. In the end, it is up to users to decide which is the solution that better suits their needs.