Demand Drives IPsec and Hybrid VPN Development and Progress

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • IPsec is a suitable workaround for giving remote access to VPN users where dedicated access is a very costly proposal.
  • Service providers are adding sophistication to their hybrid VPN products to push non-critical traffic over the public Internet.

There are three main hybrid VPN and IPsec drivers: cost savings, more and more IT moving into the cloud, and globalization that sees workers needing access to the VPN from remote locations.  Putting a dedicated access in place is not always a sensible option economically, and WAN optimization and acceleration techniques are helping raise performance for cloud-based applications over any endpoint access technology (for example, DSL).  There is also growing interest in hybrid VPN solutions at larger corporate sites to save on the costly last-mile access part of a data network.  In this scenario, customers can send non-critical traffic such as file transfers and e-mail over public and shared infrastructure and use a private circuit replete with QoS for more critical and latency or jitter-sensitive applications.  The hybrid approach lets enterprise end users access their main business applications from corporate sites, their homes, and on the move during business travel.

All the major global operators are now offering such hybrid VPNs with various flavours, and this could be an area worth exploring for IT managers looking to control very high access charges across a globally distributed WAN.  To make hybrid VPN services more attractive, developments are underway with, for example, carriers offering support for a variety of access types including fixed DSL and wireless 3G and 4G for rapid turn-up, as well as tools for centrally managing the entire solution in a CIO dashboard.  As an additional example, Orange Business Services is developing Internet access to VPN that uses a cloud-based firewall to allow the clients’ global security policies to be applied across the WAN.  Assuming more of your corporate applications are running on public Internet and can be accessed using browsers, adopting hybrid VPN solutions could very well lower your costs significantly without any real impact on performance and security.

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