Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) virtual private network (VPN) products, also known as SSL VPNs, protect the confidentiality and integrity of communications between systems. SSL VPNs typically include communication between any two endpoints, such as a gateway-to-gateway VPN architecture. However, today’s SSL VPN products most often function as a remote access VPN. This type of VPN means there is a single SSL VPN gateway (server) for one organization and many SSL VPN clients. VPN clients access the corporate network through that gateway using desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets.
Using a VPN for Enterprise
SSL VPNs fulfill a variety of business needs. However, all SSL VPNs fall into one of two categories:
- SSL Portal VPN
- Portal VPNs enable one SSL VPN connection at a time to remote websites. Remote users are then able to access the SSL VPN gateway via their web browsers after some method of authentication usually provided by that gateway.
- SSL Tunnel VPN
- Tunnel VPNs allow clients to access multiple network services via a web browser securely. Many of them also allow access to other applications and protocols that are not web-based as well.
Adding a Layer of Authentication
When it comes to combating hackers and cybercriminals, you need to add enough layers of security that the process of hacking your company becomes too difficult. The truth is that no company is unhackable. However, the more you do to protect yourself, the less likely you are to be targeted. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an excellent example of adding a layer of protection. Most SSL VPNs support the use of enterprise authentication services for exactly this type of access control.
Prevent Manipulation of Communications
If an attacker can intercept company communications, they can potentially execute a man-in-the-middle attack — which involves manipulating the contents of communication before sending it on to the desired recipient. Hackers can also use this technique to capture sensitive data such as login credentials and financial information.
An SSL VPN can prevent these attacks by encrypting data as it flows between client devices and the VPN server. But once the data passes out of the VPN tunnel it is decrypted, so keep this in mind when sending or receiving communications outside of the company’s secure network.
The Employment of Centralized Access Control
Enterprises most often use SSL VPNs to secure remote access connections. A single SSL VPN server acts as a gateway, allowing many SSL VPN clients to access the corporate network.
This function is known as centralized access control, and it allows a client to access company resources from any location while using the same login credentials. By using centralized access control, employees have the option to work remotely, which can be beneficial if there’s inclement weather or other travel issues.
OpenVPN Access Server
OpenVPN’s Access Server offers a variety of virtualization-based and cloud-based options for implementing SSL VPN capabilities. Access Server can easily scale with your business, and supports hundreds of concurrent users on a single subscription. This solution is a great option if you are looking for a product that can grow right alongside your organization.
The software supports all of the major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, and is even compatible with iOS and Android. Its open source software also offers the ability to create custom authentication solutions, making it a product you can tailor to your company’s needs.