Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a data network that allows
its users to perform secure and private transmissions over a public network
such as the Internet. Also, it is equipped with encryption, packet tunneling,
and firewalls to ensure secure transmission of data. By replacing leased lines
and remote accesses servers and other less known technologies, VPN reduces the
cost by 50 to 75. It provides businesses with a flexible network enabling them
to quickly respond to the changes in the marketplace (Cisco Systems,
2001). It is called “virtual to indicate that although you could treat
the circuit between two sites as a private line, it was, in fact, not
hard-wired and existed only as a link when traffic was passing over the
circuit” (Kosiur, 1998, p.


Since VPNs provide private and secure connections
across public networks, mainly the Internet, it makes it possible for the
businesses to extend their networks to their remote offices, telecommuters,
external partners, mobile users, and customers. Typically, companies and their
remote offices establish VPN tunnels by setting up connections to local points
of presence through Internet providers. Afterwards, it is the responsibility of
the Internet service providers to handle the transmission of data between the
networks and the Internet infrastructure, which does not require permanent link
between the sites. Generally,
VPNs are used for two applications, remote-access VPN and site-to-site VPN.

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Remote-access VPNs enable employees, customers, and partners connect to the
company network by connecting to local 

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