The Technical Impacts of a Virtual Private Network
In today’s world, the pace of technological change is happening at a very fast pace. For instance, back in the 1980’s, whoever thought that Smartphones would ever exist? For that matter, in those times, the term was not even conjured up then.
People just assumed that the traditional landline phone would still remain (and in some geographic areas, it still does remain as the most relied upon means of communication), and just evolve in terms technological from within its own right.
However, in the 1990’s the world saw the first commercial uses of the Smartphone coming to life. The primary technology back then was the Blackberry. It was primarily used for the first true uses of the wireless forms of communications, such as sending E-Mail and Text Messages. Even back then, the full power of the Smartphone was not truly harnessed.
This trend did actually to occur until the 21st Century. This was when the Wireless based carriers realized the full potential of the Smartphone, and how they could increase their market capitalization with it. Also, the growth and explosion of Social Media, such as the likes of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook catapulted the technological advances in Smartphone technology.
During this period, the world witnessed other carriers entering into the Wireless scene with their version of the Smartphone, such as that of Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and even Google.
Now, along with sending E-Mail and Text Messages, people could also use their Smartphone to send and share pictures, videos, and other types and kinds of files. However, probably the biggest trend in that time frame was that of using the Smartphone for E-Commerce related applications.
Now, customers could purchase products and services from literally wherever and whenever they were at in the world, all from their Smartphone. During this decade the advent of Smartphone technology also has seen another huge trend using this technology to be able to work remotely. With this, many employees of businesses and corporations are now forgoing even actually working at a physical place of location.
Many of them now have the ability, with their Smartphone technology, to work out of the comforts of their own home, or for that matter, from any part of the world which they may be at that particular point in time.
However, there has been a substantial tradeoff for technological advancements, ease of use, and convenience. That is, the Smartphone now has become the primary focal point for the Cyber attacker.
Without your knowledge, a Cyber attacker can covertly steal any and all of the information and data from your Smartphone. The worst part of this situation is that you many never even realize that you have become a victim until it is too late; the damage has already been, and there is probably very little that you can do about it.
To combat these types and kinds of Cyber-based threats, many of the Wireless vendors have turned to Cybersecurity companies to see how they implement the principles, tools, and technologies Cryptography, and Virtual Private Networks.
The latter has been the main focal point of our recent article series, and if fact, implementing a Virtual Private Network is just like implementing an entire IT Infrastructure.
Just like we have exemplified this with the example of the advent of the technological advances of the Smartphone, there are real impacts that a Virtual Private Network brings with it as it is being deployed and implemented across a business or a corporation.
These impacts need to be ascertained and quantified to the best level possible by the IT Management Team of the organization even before it is procured.
Obviously, the exact impacts which will be felt will vary from business entity to business entity, but there does exist a common core of these impacts. The goal of this article is to take a closer look at this particular common core, and specifically, it will examine the following perspectives:
- The Impacts of Implementing a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure to the Employees of a Business or a Corporation
- The Impacts a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure to the Web Server.
The Impacts of Implementing a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure to the Employees of a Business or a Corporation
With regards to the deployment and implementation of a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure, the impacts which will be felt by the end users (namely those of the employees) should be of prime concern and needs to be addressed. In fact, the following end user requirements need to be taken into serious consideration before the VPN can be fully procured:
- The total number of remote office locations the place of business or the corporation currently has and is considering to make a part of the Virtual Private Network Infrastructure.
- Where the existing corporate based networks and intranets reside. This includes the Local Area Networks (also known as the “LAN’s”), and the Wide Area Networks (also known as the “WAN’s”), and the specific points at which they cross and intersect with one another.
- How many end users (once again, the employees as well as the contractors) will need to be supported by the Virtual Private Network Infrastructure.
- The specific types of end users the Virtual Private Network Infrastructure must support, and these include the following:
- Software developers
- Sales force employees
- Facilities personnel
- Office personnel
- Business partners
It is equally important also to consider the types and kinds of specific applications that the end users will need to access through the Virtual Private Network Infrastructure. These include the following:
- Access to the particular network directories
- Access to all types of corporate and remote servers
- Access to all types of network resources
- Mainframe access
- Database access to the software
- Web-based and HTTP support;
- E-Mail Server support
- Access to Client-Server applications
- Mainframe terminal emulation.
The Impacts a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure to the Web Server
In technical terms, the first impact that the implementation of a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure is upon the Web-based Server(s). Although the term “Web Serve” is bandied around quite a bit, its true purpose a
nd function are often misunderstood.
To clarify this, a Web Server is a simply a computer which responds to the Hyper Text Transport (HTTP) protocol requests that the HyperText Markup Language (HTML) pages deliver into a particular Web Browser (for example, this can include Opera, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.).
A typical example of this would be the various product brochures or even catalogs that you have made available for viewing at an E-Commerce based website. To help improve the response time of the particular Web Server and the level of quality of the Web-based pages that they are delivering, there are three types of processing loads that can be utilized into a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure. These are as follows:
Symmetric Multiprocessing (also known as “SMP”):
This is when a Web-based Server relies upon a single multiprocessor as well as a single memory capability to accomplish the workload which has been assigned to it. The scalability of an SMP is a huge issue in this regard.
Massively Parallel Processing (also known as “MPP”):
This is when the role of the specific Logic Chip has its very own processor, as well as its own memory subsystem to process all of the information and data that it received. These are all threaded to the nodes, and all of the metadata is collected on the other end of the Web-based Server. As one can see, these types of processors are very expensive, but they do offer some scalability (although very limited) to the Virtual Private Network Infrastructure.
In a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure, this specific type of approach bridges the gap between the first two processing techniques as previously described. This kind of system can contain an unlimited amount of sub-processors, which is then connected to a Fiberlink (also known as an “Optical Network”). With PC Clustering, each SMP can run its own version of an Operating System and even help to provide strong backup features as well. However, the main disadvantage of PC Clustering is that it is extremely cost prohibitive to deploy, implement, and use on a long term basis.
In summary, implementing a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure can be a big deal for most businesses and corporations. However, of course, it depends on the size of the organization and their specific Security requirements.
For instance, if it is a much smaller business, say less than ten employees, then the deployment of a VPN probably will not have such a huge impact. Of course, the end users (primarily the employees and the contractors) will need to be trained in how to properly login into the new security mechanisms.
However, on the other hand, if it is a much larger business or corporation which is needing a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure, then, of course, the impacts will be much higher. For instance, the specific IT assets which will accessed under the VPN will need to be specifically categorized and confirmed that they can actually interoperate with the new VPN.
Also in these scenarios, it is quite likely that Active Directory will be used. In this regard, the employee login credentials, and their existing access rights and permissions will have to be modified to reflect the new settings which will be established in the new VPN.
If the business entity is big enough, then perhaps even more than Virtual Private Network Infrastructure could be implemented as well. The impacts which will be felt by this will also increase by the same order of magnitude.
Our next article will continue the theme of the impacts of a Virtual Private Network Infrastructure, and will focus on the following:
- Impacts to the Application Server
- Impacts to the Database Server
- Impacts to the Firewall/Router.